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 thirteenth book in the series.
For all Jack Aubrey’s life he has triumphed, often sensationally, over the dangers of the sea and the violence of the enemy. But his rashness, his guilelessness, his indiscretion have time and time again enabled his rivals to prevent him reaping his just rewards. The nadir was reached in The Reverse of the Medal when, the victim of a skilful frame-up, he was convicted of fraud and struck off the Navy list just as he was coming within sight of flag rank. The subsequent exposure of the conspiracy, coupled with his brilliant success in command of a privateer, had brought him to a position where Their Lordships were more or less bound to reinstate him.
This, as the present book opens, they have done, and he and his old friend Dr Maturin are sailing on a secret mission with a hand-picked crew, most of them shipmates from the adventures and lucrative voyages of earlier years.
'…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.' Mary Renault
'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.' Irish Times
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.
The 18th in O'Brian's Jack Aubrey series will please current fans and likely make new ones. Newly rich Aubrey ( The Letter of Marque ), again a Royal Navy captain and even a ``rotten-borough'' M.P., is given command of the frigate Diane with orders to bring king's envoy Fox to conclude a treaty with the sultan of Borneo before Napoleon does. Aboard is Jack's friend Dr. Maturin, English secret agent and avid naturalist. After a placid trip (via Antarctica) and some stormy local politics (involving two English traitors and the sultan's catamite) the treaty is made. Fox's growing arrogance breeds ill will and when homeward-bound Diane hits a reef Jack gladly sends the envoy ahead in a cutter. O'Brian's style has been compared with Jane Austen's: even the dinners (in country house, London, ship's mess, sultan's palace, Buddhist monastery) are distinguished wittily. Perhaps the most charming segment is Maturin's idyllic stay in a remote valley, where he blissfully encounters and studies a variety of tame exotic beasts.