Author(s): Patrick O'Brian
Captain Jack Aubrey is ashore on half pay without a command-until Stephen Maturin arrives with secret orders for Aubrey to take a frigate to the Cape of Good Hope under a commodore's pennant, there to mount an expedition against the French-held islands of Mauritius and La Reunion. But the difficulties of carrying out his orders are compounded by two of his own captains-Lord Clonfert, a pleasure-seeking dilettante, and Captain Corbett, whose severity pushes his crew to the verge of mutiny.
"I haven't read novels [in the past ten years] except for all of the Patrick O'Brian series. It was, unfortunately, like tripping on heroin. I started on those books and couldn't stop." -- E. O. Wilson - Boston Globe "Patrick O'Brian presents the lost arcana of that hard-pressed, cruel, courageous world with an immediacy that makes its workings both comprehensible and fascinating. But in the end it is the serious exploration of human character that gives the books their greatest power: the fretful play of mood that can irrationally darken the edges of the brightest triumph, and that can feed a trickle of merriment into the midst of terror and tragedy." -- Richard Snow - New York Times Book Review "I devoured Patrick O'Brian's 20-volume masterpiece as if it had been so many tots of Jamaica grog." -- Christopher Hitchens - Slate "It has been something of a shock to find myself-an inveterate reader of girl books-obsessed with Patrick O'Brian's Napoleonic-era historical novels... What keeps me hooked are the evolving relationships between Jack and Stephen and the women they love." -- Tamar Lewin - New York Times "I fell in love with his writing straightaway, at first with Master and Commander. It wasn't primarily the Nelson and Napoleonic period, more the human relationships. ...And of course having characters isolated in the middle of the goddamn sea gives more scope. ...It's about friendship, camaraderie. Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin always remind me a bit of Mick and me." -- Keith Richards "O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin volumes actually constitute a single 6,443-page novel, one that should have been on those lists of the greatest novels of the 20th century." -- George Will "O'Brian's sheer brilliance as a writer constantly dazzles, and his power over the reader is unique. No writer alive can move one as O'Brian can; no one can make you laugh so loud with hilarity, whiten your knuckles with unbearable tension or choke with emotion. He is the master." -- Kevin Myers - Irish Times
Patrick O'Brian's acclaimed Aubrey/Maturin series of historical novels has been described as "a masterpiece" (David Mamet, New York Times), "addictively readable" (Patrick T. Reardon, Chicago Tribune), and "the best historical novels ever written" (Richard Snow, New York Times Book Review), which "should have been on those lists of the greatest novels of the 20th century" (George Will).Set in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars, O'Brian's twenty-volume series centers on the enduring friendship between naval officer Jack Aubrey and physician (and spy) Stephen Maturin. The Far Side of the World, the tenth book in the series, was adapted into a 2003 film directed by Peter Weir and starring Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany. The film was nominated for ten Oscars, including Best Picture. The books are now available in hardcover, paperback, and e-book format.In addition to the Aubrey/Maturin novels, Patrick O'Brian wrote several books including the novels Testimonies, The Golden Ocean, and The Unknown Shore, as well as biographies of Joseph Banks and Picasso. He translated many works from French into English, among them the novels and memoirs of Simone de Beauvoir, the first volume of Jean Lacouture's biography of Charles de Gaulle, and famed fugitive Henri Cherriere's memoir Papillon. O'Brian died in January 2000.