Synopses & Reviews
Patrick O'Brian's 20-volume epic of naval tales echoing the work of such master writers as Joseph Conrad, Herman Melville, and Jane Austen brings to life the exploits of the British navy during the Napoleonic Wars. From the excitement of the chases, storms, and battles to the authenticity of language, humor, and the wealth of detail down to the last button and turn of phrase old and new readers will share the exciting adventure of O'Brian's early-nineteenth-century world.
Master and Commander, the book that started it all, establishes the enduring friendship between Captain Jack Aubrey determined man of action and Stephen Maturin ship's surgeon and intelligence agent. Here begins the faultless rendering of life aboard a man-of-war that is the hallmark of this engaging and celebrated series. Every subsequent book is "funny, exciting, and informative" (The New Yorker) and discloses a new and sometimes surprising dimension of Aubrey and Maturin's unique friendship.
"Even for a reader not especially interested in matters nautical, the author's easy command of the philosophical, political, sensual and social temper of the times flavors a rich entertainment." Martin Levin, New York Times Book Review
"Some of you...have never read a Patrick O'Brian novel. I beseech you to start now. Start with Master and Commander, which should be available in paperback from your nearest bookseller. And if he or she does not have a copy, then beat the wretched fellow." Kevin Myers, Irish Times
"They're funny, they're exciting, they're informative. There are legions of us who gladly ship out time and time again under Captain Aubrey." The New Yorker
"It has been said that this series is some of the finest historical fiction of our time....Aubrey and Maturin have been described as better than Holmes and Watson, the equal of Quixote and Panza....And the marvel is, it hardly says enough." Los Angeles Times
"The best sea story I have ever read." Sir Francis Chichester
"Patrick O'Brian can put a spark of character into the sawdust of time." Observer
"To compare Patrick O'Brian with 'writers of sea stories' is to compare Proust and the Orchid Fancier's Quarterly. O'Brian is literature....I read him and reread him with awe and gratitude. His Aubrey-Maturin volumes are in effect one great book, and if I could keep only half a dozen contemporary writers, O'Brian would be one of them." Stephen Becker
Now a major motion picture starring Russell Crowe, directed by Peter Weir (Witness
, The Truman Show
It is the dawn of the nineteenth century; Britain is at war with Napoleon's France. When Jack Aubrey, a young lieutenant in Nelson's navy, is promoted to captain, he inherits command of HMS 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.
This, the first in the splendid series of Jack Aubrey novels, establishes the friendship between Captain Aubrey, R.N., and Stephen Maturin, ship's surgeon and intelligence agent, against a thrilling backdrop of the Napoleonic wars. Details of a life aboard a man-of-war are faultlessly rendered: the conversational idiom of the officers in the ward room and the men on the lower deck, the food, the floggings, the mysteries of the wind and the rigging, and the roar of broadsides as the great ships close in battle.
The beginning to the sweeping Aubrey/Maturin series. "The best sea story I have ever read."—Sir Francis Chichester
About the Author
In addition to twenty volumes in the highly respected Aubrey/Maturin series, Patrick O'Brian's many books include Testimonies, The Golden Ocean, and The Unknown Shore. O'Brian also wrote acclaimed biographies of Pablo Picasso and Sir Joseph Banks and translated many works from the French, among them the novels and memoirs of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Lacouture's biographies of Charles de Gaulle. He passed away in January 2000 at the age of 85.