This, my dear, is the first book in the great immortal adventure story of the world. The finest, funniest, most thrilling & fulfilling epic narrative in English, peopled by the best-drawn and most memorable characters we know of. O'Brian will sweep you away. Be you sea-dog or lubberly literary cove, read it, for all love! There is not a moment to be lost!— Reva
"The best sea story I have ever read."—Sir Francis Chichester
It is the dawn of the nineteenth century; Britain is at war with Napoleon's France. Jack Aubrey, a young lieutenant in Nelson's navy, is promoted to command of H.M.S. Sophie?, an old, slow brig unlikely to make his fortune. But Captain Aubrey is a brave and gifted seaman, his thirst for adventure and victory immense. With the aid of his friend Stephen Maturin, ship's surgeon and secret intelligence agent, Aubrey and his crew engage in one thrilling battle after another, their journey culminating in a stunning clash with a mighty Spanish frigate against whose guns and manpower the tiny ?Sophie? is hopelessly outmatched.
About the Author
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.
You're in for a wonderful voyage.
O'Brian is a novelist, pure and simple, one of the best that we have.
If there were seventeen more novels, I'd start today.
— Donald Graham
Patrick O'Brian can put a spark of character into the sawdust of time.
Taken as a whole, the Aubrey-Maturin novels are by a long shot the best things of their kind... they are uniquely excellent.
— Terry Teachout
The best historical novels ever written.
— Richard Snow
One does not get many pages into the Aubrey-Maturin sequence before falling under the spell of O'Brian's prose, which is... elegantly paced, quietly witty.
— Katherine A. Powers
If Jane Austen had written rousing sea yarns, she would have produced something very close to the prose of Patrick O'Brian.
A world of enchanting fictional surfaces.
— John Bayley