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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.
Patrick O'Brian's twenty-one-volume Aubrey/Maturin series of nautical adventures set during the Napoleonic War has delighted generations of devoted fans, inspired a blockbuster film, and sold millions of copies in twenty-four languages.
A classic Patrick O'Brian novel, back in print after many years with three bonus tales of nautical adventure. Newly orphaned Derrick is entrusted to the care of his gruff uncle Sullivan, Captain of The Wanderer. After surviving a killer typhoon on the South China Sea, and accompanied by their eccentric elderly cousin, they set off across land to discover the treasures of Central Asia. Derrick befriends a fierce Mongol warrior and must help him battle a ruthless Chinese warlord. Given a gift of priceless jade, the group is pursued into the inhospitable mountains of Tibet where they are caught between fierce mountain monks and a terrifying unnamed creature that stalks them through the snow. This special edition includes three bonus tales - Noughts and Crosses, Two's Company & No Pirates Nowadays - that are prequels to the adventure of The Road to Samarcand, and are published together for the very first time.
An anthology of 17th and 18th century travel writing that inspired the hugely popular Aubrey/Maturin series, collected and introduced by Patrick O'Brian, beautifully repackaged to mark the centenary of his birth. Patrick O'Brian has unearthed from obscurity the most dynamic travel writing of the seventeenth and eighteenth century. With his scholarly mind, editor's eye, and traveller's heart he brings together a series of thrilling seaward tales. Expertly chosen by O'Brian and prefaced with details that bring these extracts to vivid life, A Book of Voyages is a broad yet intimate portrait of what life was like at sea during a time of discovery. This rare collection sheds a glorious light onto these accounts of seaward adventure. From why eating rats is necessary and how to powder your hair in France to how to truly face fear and distress during a terrifying sea passage, this collection is rich in travellers' experiences. A Book of Voyages is a unique opportunity to not only accompany an adored nautical author as he digs up one gripping historical treasure after another, but to understand how he was inspired to write the Aubrey Maturin series for which he is so famous.
In Caesar and Hussein, Patrick O'Brian's two debut novels appear in one volume for the first time, providing a revealing insight into the literary genius behind the Master and Commander series he began nearly 40 years later. Caesar was Patrick O'Brian's first novel, written when he was just fourteen, and is the enchanting, bloodthirsty story of a unique Panda Leopard - whose father was a giant panda, his mother a snow leopard. With the dry wit and unsentimental precision that O'Brian would come to be loved for, we see the tragedies of Caesar's childhood, his capture and taming, and finally his rise to fatherhood under the iron rule of human masters. The book was feted on publication and O'Brian described as the 'boy-Thoreau'. Hussein was O'Brian's second novel, a glittering adventure about a young mahout - or elephant handler - and his life among the elephants. An exotic story of love, murder, vengeance, snake-charming, sword-fighting, spying, stealing and triumph set against the evocative bazaars and temples of India at the height of the British Raj, Hussein was compared favourably by the New York Times to Kipling's Kim, calling it 'a gorgeous entertainment'. Patrick O'Brian later wrote of Hussein: 'In the writing of the book I learnt the rudiments of my calling: but more than that, it opened a well of joy that has not yet run dry.' Caesar was first published in October 1930 and Hussein in April 1938 (interspersed by his enchanting book of short stories Beasts Royal in 1934). They were reprinted for the first time in April 1999 by the British Library, shortly before Patrick's untimely death, and this new paperback edition brings these two enchanting novels together in one volume for the first time.
This special hardback edition celebrates the 50th anniversary of first publication with a brand-new foreword by O'Brian's stepson and biographer, Nikolai Tolstoy, and artist's note by Geoff Hunt, and includes the complete text of the previously unavailable Men-of-War, O'Brian's fascinating guide to the world of Aubrey/Maturin. 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 has grown into one of the most remarkable literary novelists now writing, 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'.
The first ever collection of poems by the acclaimed author of the Aubrey/Maturin series of Napoleonic naval adventures. As we have stood with Jack and Stephen on the deck of the Surprise and other ships, readers around the world have been transported to a place and time at once familiar and exotic, routine and dramatic. At all times, Patrick O'Brian's deep knowledge of the period and profound empathy with the landscape of the sea has ensured there is always a firm hand on the tiller. The writer's command of language is combined with the poet's eye for visual detail to remarkable, and unforgettable effect. In The Uncertain Land and Other Poems, those same strengths are vividly displayed as O'Brian leads us on a journey through his own life. Here, we see a writer full of a young man's spirit, challenging life, and here an author reflecting an old man's melancholy at youth gone; in between, as he describes the places that he lived and people that he encountered, are poems of sly observation, wry humour and delicate beauty. Through more than 100 poems, O'Brian reveals insights into the world that captivated him while he was at work on a succession of novels that would reach its apotheosis in the Aubrey/Maturin adventures, which would secure his reputation as 'the Homer of the Napoleonic Wars'. Intensely personal, allusive and unique, this is the work of a lifetime, published now for the very first time.
Beasts Royal is the second book written by Patrick O'Brian - made available, at last, for the first time since the 1930s and elegantly repackaged. On the indigo waters of the South Sea, the crew of a schooner are attacked by a man-eating tiger-shark. In the humid depths of the African jungle, a thirty-foot python plots to rid himself of his rival, a wily old crocodile. Amid the heat and dust of the Punjab, the snake-charmer Hussein escapes into the forest on the elephant that he trained when a mahout in his youth. With the dry wit and unsentimental precision O'Brian would come to be loved for, we see the drama and tragedies of the natural world unfold for these, as well as other birds and beasts, in these twelve tales of animal adventure that would appear together in 1934 as the author's second book. O'Brian's debut, Caesar, had been published in 1930 and became an instant success, seeing him hailed as the `boy-Thoreau'. His second novel, Hussein, would expand upon one of the stories included in this collection and has been praised by Martin Booth of The Daily Telegraph as being `...as fresh today as when it was written....so rich in detail, it is breathtaking.' As with Caesar and Hussein, Beasts Royal sheds fascinating light on the formation of the literary genius behind the Aubrey-Maturin series of historical adventure tales, for which he is deservedly famous.
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