Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin tales are widely acknowledged to be the greatest series of historical novels ever written. Now, for the first time, they are available in electronic book format, so a whole new generation of readers can be swept away on the adventure of a lifetime. This is the fourteenth book in the series.
Patrick O’Brian is regarded by many as the greatest living historical novelist writing in English. In The Nutmeg of Consolation, Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin begin stranded on an uninhabited island in the Dutch East Indies, attacked by ferocious Malay pirates. They contrive their escape, but after a stay in Batavia and a change of ship, they are caught up in a night chase in the fiercely tidal waters and then embroiled in the much more insidious conflicts of the terrifying penal settlements of New South Wales. It is one of O’Brian’s most accomplished and gripping books.
‘…full of the energy that comes from a writer having struck a vein… Patrick O’Brian is unquestionably the Homer of the Napoleonic wars.’
James Hamilton- Paterson
‘You are in for the treat of your lives. Thank God for Patrick O’Brian: his genius illuminates the literature of the English language, and lightens the lives of those who read him.’
Kevin Myers, Irish Times
‘In a highly competitive field it goes straight to the top. A real first-rater.’
‘I never enjoyed a novel about the sea more. It is not only that the author describes the handling of a ship of 1800 with an accuracy that is as comprehensible as it is detailed, a remarkable feat in itself. Mr O’Brian’s three chief characters are drawn with no less depth of sympathy than the vessels he describes, a rare achievement save in the greatest writers of this genre. It deserves the widest readership.’
About the author
Patrick O’Brian, until his death in 2000, was one of our greatest contemporary novelists. He is the author of the acclaimed Aubrey–Maturin tales and the biographer of Joseph Banks and Picasso. He is the author of many other books including Testimonies, and his Collected Short Stories. In 1995 he was the first recipient of the Heywood Hill Prize for a lifetime’s contribution to literature. In the same year he was awarded the CBE. In 1997 he received an honorary doctorate of letters from Trinity College, Dublin. He lived for many years in South West France and he died in Dublin in January 2000.
Readers will welcome the reappearance here of elegant Stephen Maturin, one hero of O'Brian's excellent 19th-century seafarer series. Maturin is a ship's doctor, naturalist, spy, musician, ex-opium eater and, we're reminded here, terrific swordsman. His ``brother'' is Capt. Jack Aubrey, RN, MP, popular hero for his success against Napoleon, less introspective but as subtly drawn as Maturin and as avid a musician. Last seen in The Thirteen-Gun Salute the two were shipwrecked on a barren isle in the South China Sea. After a bitter fight with Dyaks and Malays they reach Batavia, where Governor Raffles gives Aubrey the eponymic Dutch sloop (``a tight, sweet, newly-coppered, broad-buttocked litle ship, a solace to any man's heart'') to continue his circumnavigation of the globe. As usual the chief joys are in the details of the food, drink and clothes of the era, with those of the rain forests, kangaroos and platypuses added here. On the other hand, early Sydney's squalor is matched by its brutality.