A few words about book's author
Patrick OBrians 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, OBrians 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 OBrian 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 Lacoutures biography of Charles de Gaulle, and famed fugitive Henri Cherrières memoir Papillon. OBrian died in January 2000.
In addition to the twenty volumes of the highly-respected Aubrey/Maturin series, Patrick OBrians many novels include Testimonies, The Golden Ocean, and The Unknown Shore. OBrian has also written acclaimed biographies of Pablo Picasso and Sir Joseph Banks and has translated many works from the French, among them the novels and memoirs of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Lacoutures biography of Charles de Gaulle. Born in 1914, he passed away in January 2000. Patrick OBrian was one of the great authors of the twentieth century, whose novels were often compared by critics to the work of Jane Austen and even Homer. A writer of breathtaking erudition, Mr. OBrian evoked in complete and dazzling detail an entire world — that of the British Navy during the Napoleonic Wars. In addition to formidable scholarship, Mr. OBrian brought to his work keen psychological insights, a sharp wit, and fast-paced, heart-stopping action. In a cover story in The New York Times Book Review published on January 6, 1991, nine years to the day before Mr. OBrians death, Richard Snow wrote that Patrick OBrians Aubrey/Maturin naval adventure novels are the best historical novels ever written. On every page Mr. OBrian reminds us with subtle artistry of the most important of all historical lessons: that times change but people dont, that the griefs and follies and victories of the men and women who were here before us are in fact the maps of our own lives. In a Washington Post article published August 2, 1992, Ken Ringle wrote, The Aubrey/Maturin series far beyond any episodic chronicle, ebbs and flows with the timeless tide of character and the human heart. W.W. Norton & Company began publishing Patrick OBrians books in 1990. The previous year, Nortons editor-in-chief, Starling Lawrence, had read The Reverse of the Medal on a trans-Atlantic flight, fallen hard for the series, and had become convinced that Norton ought to publish Mr. OBrians works in the U.S. Norton decided to publish each new book in hardcover as it was completed and to bring out the earlier books in the series in paperback until they had caught up. The first season, Norton published The Letter of Marque (# 12) in hardcover and Master and Commander (# 1) and Post Captain (# 2) in paperback. Most recently, Norton published Blue at the Mizzen (# 20) in hardcover in 1999 and in paperback in 2000. At present, Norton has all of the books in the series available in uniform hardcover and paperback editions. In addition to the twenty books in the Aubrey/Maturin series, Norton has published a short story collection (The Rendezvous and Other Stories) and three of Mr. OBrians other novels: Testimonies, The Golden Ocean, and The Unknown Shore. OBrian has also written acclaimed biographies of Pablo Picasso and Sir Joseph Banks and has translated many works from the French, among them the novels and memoirs of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Lacoutures biography of Charles de Gaulle. In April of 2000, Norton published Caesar: The Life Story of a Panda-Leopard, his very first book, begun when he was just twelve, and Hussein: An Entertainment, written when he was about twenty years old. Both of these books had long been out of print. Starting in the early 1990s, Mr. OBrian achieved, at long last, the critical and popular recognition that was his due. All of his new books published since 1993 have appeared on national bestseller charts, and his books have sold well over three million copies in the U.S. alone. Mr. OBrian once said, Obviously, I have lived very much out of the world: I know little of present-day Dublin or London or Paris, even less of post-modernity, post-structuralism, hard rock or rap, and I cannot write with much conviction about the contemporary scene. Patrick OBrian: Critical Essays and a Bibliography, edited by Arthur Cunningham. In fact, Mr. OBrian often seemed to have walked out of another era, and in his interactions with his publisher, he displayed a level of courtesy and civility rarely seen in our times. Author biography courtesy of W.W. Norton & Company.