Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian
Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian
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Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian

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Set sail for the read of your life ...

If you liked Hornblower then you will love ‘Lucky Jack Aubrey’.

Now, it's not the easiest of books to get into, it took me two goes, but once you are in you have another 19 books to look forward to.

If you read one nautical book this year, make it this one.

I cannot recommend Patrick O’Brian’s Jack Aubrey series high enough.

The film of the book 'Master and Commander; The far Side of the World' is the best most accurate naval historical film you will ever see.

To quotes from ‘The Times’ ‘The greatest historical novelist of all time.’

Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin tales are widely acknowledged to be the greatest series of historical novels ever written.

Master and Commander is the first of Patrick O'Brian's now famous Aubrey/Maturin novels, regarded by many as the greatest series of historical novels ever written.

It establishes the friendship between Captain Jack Aubrey RN and Stephen Maturin, who becomes his secretive ship's surgeon and an intelligence agent.

It contains all the action and excitement which could possibly be hoped for in a historical novel, but it also displays the qualities which have put O'Brian far ahead of any of his competitors: his depiction of the detail of life aboard a Nelsonic man-of-war, of weapons, food, conversation and ambience, of the landscape and of the sea.

O'Brian's portrayal of each of these is faultless and the sense of period throughout is acute.

His power of characterisation is above all masterly. This brilliant historical novel marked the debut of a writer who grew into one of our greatest novelists ever, the author of what Alan Judd, writing in the Sunday Times, has described as 'the most significant extended story since Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time'.

There are nautical and naval words that may not be understood at first but they do not obstruct the story or make it difficult to understand.

But if you do get stuck, I’ll quite happily explain what a ‘well-swifted catharpin’ is or any other phrase as long as you promise to ‘splice the mainbrace’ with me one day!

Adam Purser August 2020