‘What is so gripping about O’Brian’s novels is the completeness with which he invents a world which is our own and not our own… O’Brian is a brilliant observer.’
A.S. Byatt, Evening Standard
Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin tales are widely acknowledged to be the greatest series of historical novels ever written. Now, for the first time, they are available in electronic book format, so a whole new generation of readers can be swept away on the adventure of a lifetime. This is the fifteenth book in the series.
All the elements that have made Patrick O’Brian’s astonishing series one of the most highly praised works in contemporary fiction are here in Clarissa Oakes – the narrative grip, the impeccable ear for dialogue, the humour and the unsurpassed capacity to create and recreate a rich and true friendship between two men in the late eighteenth-century.
Captain Jack Aubrey sails away from the hated Australian prison colonies in his favourite vessel the Surprise, pondering on middle age and sexual frustration. He soon becomes aware that he is out of touch with the mood of his ship: to his astonishment he finds that in spite of a lifetime’s experience he does not know what the foremost hands or even his own officers are thinking. They know, as he does not, that the Surprise has a stranger aboard: and what they, for their part, do not know is that the stranger is potentially as dangerous as a light in the powder magazine itself.