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Master and Commander
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About the Author

Patrick O'Brian's acclaimed Aubrey/Maturin series of historical novels has been described as "a masterpiece" (David Mamet, New York Times), "addictively readable" (Patrick T. Reardon, Chicago Tribune), and "the best historical novels ever written" (Richard Snow, New York Times Book Review), which "should have been on those lists of the greatest novels of the 20th century" (George Will).Set in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars, O'Brian's twenty-volume series centers on the enduring friendship between naval officer Jack Aubrey and physician (and spy) Stephen Maturin. The Far Side of the World, the tenth book in the series, was adapted into a 2003 film directed by Peter Weir and starring Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany. The film was nominated for ten Oscars, including Best Picture. The books are now available in hardcover, paperback, and e-book format.In addition to the Aubrey/Maturin novels, Patrick O'Brian wrote several books including the novels Testimonies, The Golden Ocean, and The Unknown Shore, as well as biographies of Joseph Banks and Picasso. He translated many works from French into English, among them the novels and memoirs of Simone de Beauvoir, the first volume of Jean Lacouture's biography of Charles de Gaulle, and famed fugitive Henri Cherriere's memoir Papillon. O'Brian died in January 2000.

Reviews

These two selections represent a series of abridged audiobook versions of O'Brian's works narrated by Robert Hardy, that most blustery and unstudied of British actors. Hardy reads the stories cold, but here it works. He uses his voice to evoke everything from brutality to mannered drawing-room excesses to the physical threat of a storm at sea. The stories are superb depictions of life on a British man-of-war and incorporate O'Brian's exquisitely accurate historical detail (Testimonies, Audio Reviews, LJ 7/96). The friendship of protagonists Capt. Jack Aubrey and ship's surgeon Stephen Maturin plays out against an expanse of ocean, from India to the Atlantic, with a full complement of battles and adventures at sea for devotees of naval fiction. Highly recommended.‘Mark Pumphrey, Polk Cty. P.L., Columbus, NC

"The best historical novels ever written." -- Richard Snow - New York Times Book Review "Taken as a whole, the Aubrey-Maturin novels are by a long shot the best things of their kind...they are uniquely excellent." -- Terry Teachout - New York Times Book Review "If there were seventeen more novels, I'd start today." -- Donald Graham - Wall Street Journal "Patrick O'Brian can put a spark of character into the sawdust of time." -- Observer "One does not get many pages into the Aubrey-Maturin sequence before falling under the spell of O'Brian's prose, which is...elegantly paced, quietly witty." -- Katherine A. Powers - Atlantic Monthly "[The series shows] a joy in language that jumps from every page...you're in for a wonderful voyage." -- Cutler Durkee - People "If Jane Austen had written rousing sea yarns, she would have produced something very close to the prose of Patrick O'Brian." -- Time "O'Brian is a novelist, pure and simple, one of the best we have." -- Los Angeles Times Book Review "A world of enchanting fictional surfaces." -- John Bayley - New York Review of Books "Certain authors we read because they enlarge us, because they offer experience, wisdom, beauty of language, a sense of fate and the only defense, a sense of humor...To compare Patrick O'Brian with 'writers of sea stories' is to compare Proust to the ?Orchard Fancier's Quarterly?. O'Brian is literature. I am one of your surly pragmatical polyglot landlubbers, and 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 a half a dozen contemporary writers, O'Brian would be one of them." -- Stephen Becker

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