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Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin tales are widely acknowledged to be the greatest series of historical novels ever written. Commissioned to rescue Governor Bligh of Bounty fame, Captain Jack Aubrey and his friend and surgeon, Stephen Maturin, sail the Leopard to Australia with a hold full of convicts. Among them is a beautiful and dangerous spy - and a treacherous disease which decimates the crew. The ingredients of a wonderfully powerful and dramatic O'Brian novel are heightened by descriptive writing of rare quality. Nowhere in contemporary prose have the majesty and terror of the sea been more effectively rendered than in the thrilling chase through an Antarctic storm in which Jack's ship, under-manned and out-gunned, is the quarry not the hunter.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780006499244
ISBN-10: 0006499244
Format: Paperback
(197mm x 130mm x 25mm)
Pages: 348
Imprint: Harper
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publish Date: 6-May-1997
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Reviews

US Kirkus Review » A sequel to The Mauritius Command (1970), which was the opening salvo in the Capt. Jack Aubrey series about the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars. Once again Jack's dear friend Dr. Stephen Maturin is also aboard, so they have the opportunity to indulge themselves in their cello and violin duets. And the romantic intrigue this time is supplied by French agent Mrs. Wogan, who's been captured by the British and is being shipped as a prisoner to Botany Bay aboard Aubrey's new command, the Leopard. Aubrey has been having a hard time ashore, losing a fortune gambling and buying horses while his wife frets silently with the children, and it's much against his will that he accepts the commission to haul convicts to Australia. On the other hand, Dr. Maturin is fighting an addiction to tincture of laudanum, and needs the time at sea. (He is soon masterfully fighting shipboard plague, tooth decay, and scurvy.) A battle with a Dutch ship in Antarctic waters ruins the Leopard's rudder, and the ship lays over at Desolation Island until a passing American vessel can be induced to give them a forge. The usual action ensues - but O'Brian's literate, clear-eyed realism should draw a slightly broader audience than most nautical fare. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Patrick O'Brian

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.

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