Stephen Maturin
Character from Aubrey-Maturin Novels
titles, Ranks
Ships crewed or commanded Majority of Aubrey's commands, as Surgeon
Afictation England, Royal Navy, United Irishmen, Naval Intelligence
First Appearance Master and Commander

Stephen Maturin is a main character in the Aubrey–Maturin series, which portrays his career as a physician, naturalist and spy in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars, and the long pursuit of his beloved Diana Villiers. As well as his activities as a physician and agent, Maturin is a celebrated naturalist (a member of the Royal Society) with a particular interest in birds, and the discoverer of the then unknown species of tortoise Testudo aubreii, which he named for Jack Aubrey.

He also experiments with drugs, being a frequent user (sometimes an addict) of laudanum, as well as coca, khat, and tobacco. He also plays the cello and the flute.

He is described as a short, slight, dark-skinned man (a result of his Hiberno-Spanish heritage and predilection for naked sun-bathing), although he has "curious" pale blue eyes. He weighs "barely 9 stone" (125 pounds, 56 kg). Untidy or even disreputable in appearance he spends as little as possible on clothes, and when encouraged by his particular friend Jack Aubrey wears a periwig over his sparse close-cropped hair, despite a considerable share of prize money earned over the years, and a fortune inherited from his Catalan godfather in 1812.

Maturin is fluent in English, Spanish, Catalan, French and Latin, can also speak Irish, read Portuguese, and has a working knowledge of Greek, Malay, Arabic and Urdu. Sadly, he rarely seems to understand naval jargon.

Maturin was played by Paul Bettany in the 2003 film adaptation Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.

Biography Edit

Stephen Maturin (Esteban Maturin y Domanova) is the illegitimate son of an Irish officer serving in the Spanish Army and a Catalan lady. He is related to the FitzGerald family. As a boy he lived in Ireland, and spent his teenage years in Spain. He studied at Trinity College, Dublin, and later qualified as a Physician from the Sorbonne.

He was in Paris during the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789, of which he was at first an ardent supporter. Returning to Ireland he was a member of the "United Irishmen", and was apparently engaged to a woman called Mona, who died in unspecified circumstances. He was against the 1798 rebellion and refused to take part.

In 1800 he travelled to Minorca with a patient who died there, leaving him penniless and stranded. A fortuitous meeting with Jack Aubrey gained him the position of ship's surgeon aboard HMS Sophie. After several months of being on the Sophie, they are taken by a French fleet, which leads to him witnessing the Battle of Algeciras from the Rock of Gibraltar. He helps Jack when he is court martialed for losing the Sophie.

As an advocate of Catalan independence from Spain, and a resolute opponent of Bonaparte's tyranny, Maturin became involved in intelligence gathering, and eventually a renowned (to those in a position to know) secret agent, though he never accepts payment for his services. During the peace, he and Jack travel to his small castle in Spain, but are forced to escape when war is declared. They escape to a merchant ship, and are taken by french privateers.

In 1802 he meets and falls in love with Diana Villiers, whom he eventually (after many vicissitudes) marries in 1813 or 1814. They have a daughter, Brigid, before Diana's death in 1815 in a coach accident. He then strikes up a relationship with fellow naturalist Christine Hatherleigh Wood, and proposes marriage.

Career Edit

Stephen was both a surgeon in the Royal Navy after meeting Jack Aubrey, and a spy for the Naval Intelligence, and works closely with Sir Joseph Blaine.