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I am currently working on the plot summary. It would be interesting to add in any more historical references if anyone has this information. Ivankinsman (talk) 08:31, 7 February 2008 (UTC)
Let's start with the title, likely itself a reference to John Woodall's The Surgions Mate, the reference I was looking for here at Wikipedia and finding this page instead. (Disambituation page not needed, but perhaps a link is in order?) 220.127.116.11 (talk) 14:03, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
Plot summary is reasonably complete, but sections on allusions to history and to literature with citations to sources will improve the article. There are a few in place now, but more would be good. --Prairieplant (talk) 19:25, 9 August 2014 (UTC)
I'm curious as to the relevance of the title; just who is the "Surgeon's Mate"? The surgeon (Maturin) has no assistant that I recall in this particular book. I considered that it perhaps refers to Diana Villiers, but at this stage of the series it is hardly apt, and she does not feature heavily in the book in any case. Any ideas? — Preceding unsigned comment added by El Badboy! (talk • contribs) 17:38, 1 October 2014 (UTC)
There is a brief section called Title in the article. It suggests three reasons for the title, one of which is Maturin getting married at the close of the story. Take a look! The formal title in the Royal Navy was changing to surgeon's assistant in this time, but man people still used the term mate from habit, as gets mentioned in a later novel. And no, he had no mate in the surgery in this novel due to the high focus on intelligence work. But Maturin had mates or assistants in other voyages. --Prairieplant (talk) 12:12, 2 October 2014 (UTC)
Re-reading this dialogue on the title, do you really think Diana Villiers did not figure in this novel? In the previous novel, she sees that Maturin has slain two men in her hotel suite, and then she walks boldly in to take back her diamonds. She joins the HMS Shannon in the harbor at Boston, and is aboard when that ship takes the USS Chesapeake. At the start of this novel, she, Aubrey and Maturin arrive in Halifax, part of Canada and a British colony, where Maturin is thinking of her all the time, saying he did not feel as he had before, so deeply in love, but he will marry her because she needs her citizenship set back to English and marriage will do that. They dance together at a a ball, he thinks she is by far the most beautiful woman there. They have so many conversations; she reveals she is pregnant by another man, and will not marry anyone while she is. Maturin had suspected she was pregnant but said nothing until she did. He arranges for her to stay in Paris with good friends while the pregnancy proceeds. They have a lovely private walk about Paris, sharing the places in that city each lived earlier in their lives. She miscarries but her own health is okay, which he hears from the interrogators while he is a French prisoner of war. Then she pays her favorite diamond on the necklace, very valuable, to rescue him once she learns he is a prisoner of war. The release actually comes from Frenchmen who think it is time to prepare for Napoleon losing his battles on land, and want Maturin to carry their message to England. He stipulates both that her diamond is to be returned to her, which does not happen in this novel, and that she is not to be told of any other reason why he and his friends are released, any other reason than her action with her diamond. She is picked up in one of the carriages, taken to the port where a packet ship will carry them across the English Channel. She gets Maturin to understand that his proposal of marriage needs something romantic in it, not simply the citizenship issue, which he finally grasps and we see that they have progressed to being at the same emotional place at the same time. Aboard that packer is Commander Babbington, who officiates in their marriage. To me, that is figuring heavily in the novel. More so than any of the usual surgeon's mates with medical training might figure in a novel with much battle activity and consequent wounded men to treat. Nonetheless, the title has multiple meanings, is a good pun, better than calling the novel 'from victory to prisoner of war' or anything else that might come to mind. The novel is more about Maturin, his spy activities, his success as a natural scientist, and his close friendship with Aubrey. Well, got that off my chest! --Prairieplant (talk) 04:15, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
I tried finding more reviews of this novel specifically, either from when it was originally published or at the time of re-issue or later. All I can find are the two from the re-issue. I cannot find any from newspapers. I think the publishers blurbs are from articles on the whole series, but I cannot prove that as I almost never find anything written by T J Binyon. Maybe if I looked in a public library the search would be more fruitful? The Chicago Tribune produced a page with nearly all the article they had published on this series of novels, which was handy, but no review specifically on this novel. Status update. --Prairieplant (talk) 03:51, 15 July 2017 (UTC)