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The Far Side of the World [Paperback]

Patrick O'Brian
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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The Far Side Of The World The Far Side Of The World 4.5 out of 5 stars (27)
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Book Description

20 Oct 2003

Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin tales are widely acknowledged to be the greatest series of historical novels ever written. All eighteen books are being re-issued in hardback by HarperCollins with stunning new jackets to coincide with a new film based on the adventures and to introduce these modern classics to a new generation.

It is still the War of 1812. Patrick O’Brian takes his hero Jack Aubrey and his tetchy, sardonic friend Stephen Maturin on a voyage as fascinating as anything he has ever written. They set course across the South Atlantic to intercept a powerful American frigate outward bound to play havoc with the British whaling trade.

If they do not come up with her before she rounds the Horn, they must follow her into the Great South Sea and as far across the Pacific as she may lead them. It is a commission after Jack’s own heart. Maturin has fish of his own to fry in the world of secret intelligence.

Aubrey has to cope with a succession of disasters – men overboard, castaways, encounters with savages, storms, typhoons, groundings, shipwrecks, to say nothing of murder and criminal insanity. That the enemy is in fact faithfully dealt with, no one who has the honour of Captain Aubrey’s acquaintance can take leave to doubt.

Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Film tie-in edition edition (20 Oct 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007157878
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007157877
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 11.1 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,275,470 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Captain Jack Aubrey sets sail for Cape Horn, determined to intercept an American frigate before it can wreak havoc on the British whaling trade. As always, he is accompanied by intelligence operative Stephen Maturin, and as always, Aubrey has no idea of what his companion is up to. Another impeccably written adventure, by the end of which you should be able to identify a mizzen topsail in your sleep. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


'…full of the energy that comes from a writer having struck a vein… Patrick O'Brian is unquestionably the Homer of the Napoleonic wars.' James Hamilton- Paterson

'You are in for the treat of your lives. Thank God for Patrick O'Brian: his genius illuminates the literature of the English language, and lightens the lives of those who read him.' Kevin Myers, Irish Times

'In a highly competitive field it goes straight to the top. A real first-rater.' Mary Renault

'I never enjoyed a novel about the sea more. It is not only that the author describes the handling of a ship of 1800 with an accuracy that is as comprehensible as it is detailed, a remarkable feat in itself. Mr O'Brian's three chief characters are drawn with no less depth of sympathy than the vessels he describes, a rare achievement save in the greatest writers of this genre. It deserves the widest readership.' Irish Times

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First Sentence
'PASS THE WORD for Captain Aubrey, pass the word for Captain Aubrey,' cried a sequence of voices, at first dim and muffled far aft on the flagship's maindeck, then growing louder and more distinct as the call wafted up to the quarterdeck and so along the gangway to the forecastle, where Captain Aubrey stood by the starboard thirty-two-pounder carronade contemplating the Emperor of Morocco's purple galley as it lay off Jumper's Bastion with the vast grey and tawny Rock of Gibraltar soaring behind it, while Mr Blake, once a puny member of his midshipman's berth but now a tall, stout lieutenant almost as massive as his former captain, explained the new carriage he had invented, a carriage that should enable carronades to fire twice as fast, with no fear of oversetting, twice as far, and with perfect accuracy, thus virtually putting an end to war. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
48 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Gripping 21 Feb 2000
A truly stunning work from Patrick O'Brian. From reading this work, the central thrust of which follows the two main characters (Dr Steven Maturin, ships surgeon, naturalist and intelligence agent) and Captain Jack Aubrey RN (a genius at sea, a loser on land) onto the frigate HMS Surprise during the war of 1812, as they persue a powerful American frigate into the Pacific to prtect British whalers. O'Brian describes the characters so vividly, the surroundings and action so well that you could swear he'd lived it all. To cap it all off, there's a great supporting cast of characters that add more depth than other writers in this field ever seem capable of concocting, and at times the interractions of the men on board the ship had me laughing outloud.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The pity of the world! 12 Oct 2006
What's actually very interesting is the disparity of opinion here on O'Brien's writing and, of course, of the "Master and Commander" series especially. "Verbose" says one critic "Meaningless waffle" says another, as he recommends "Hornblower" as the real stuff. Of course it's easy for people like me who adore O'Brien's work to dismiss these critics as being insensitive to nuance or even plain ignorant, but, no, I don't believe that. Some people just don't take to O'Brien and, sure, I could see how some could think they see verbosity and waffle when they open these pages. But verbosity is a superfluity of words: words expended without any purpose and contributing nothing - mere waffle indeed. In reality there's nowhere that I can think of in O'Brien where such an accusation is deserved. Sure you need to read (and often to re-read) most carefully what he is saying, but if you have the time, the purpose of each and every single word is very clear and, in fact, O'Brien is extremely economical with his verbage, and he always, always sets out to convey exactly what he means to say! How refreshing that is when so often today a writer uses grand-sounding sentences and leaves you and me open mouthed in misunderstanding (and certain critics with the chance to say that the meaning is different according to the reader - but evidently deeply profound)! That's not O'Brien's style - the meaning is always unambiguously there for those with the perseverance to retrieve it. And that's the point: to put across complex (and often very novel) ideas about human nature,humanity, historical events, philosophy and classical learning and much more, you NEED quite a lot of words. The wisdom of O'Brien is extraordinarily deep. That he did not receive the Nobel prize is the pity of the world!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not too many sea battles 19 Feb 2008
This, the tenth book of the Aubrey/Maturin series, is one of my favourites because there are far fewer sea battles than in some of the books; these tend to confuse me. Though the recent film was called "Master and Commander" its plot is closest, but not identical to this book. It does, however, describe what it was like to travel around Cape Horn in a sailing ship in the foulest and most frightening conditions. One of the reasons why many people read these books so avidly is the way O'Brian includes the results of his meticulous historical research without ever making the story less interesting or formulaic. Here he includes a detailed account of whaling the days of sail and anyone interested in the history of medicine would be fascinated by the various treatments meted out to the sick and injured. But the characters never become subservient to the facts; they have all the contradictory traits of real people cooped up in the small space of the ship with a lot of others for months on end. O'Brian's enthusiasm for his subject is tremendous but he never becomes mushy or sentimental; the reader is spared nothing as O'Brian describes the hard, repetive work, the privations and the dangers of life at sea but somehow he makes us understand why, for men like Jack Aubrey, it was the situation in which they were most happy.
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it! 20 Jan 2004
By A Customer
If you like subtle multi-layered well researched stories with a naval background then these are amongst the best. They are not crash bang wallop stories in the Hornblower mould - and all the better for it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much more than swashbuckling. 24 Dec 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
After enjoying the Peter Weir film Master and commander, I started to read the entire opus.
They are very satisfying adventures with the added pleasures of social, medical and natural history .
O'Brian writes in the style of the period with lashings of quaint and obscure language which I enjoy. The average standard dictionary is not up to the task so I need online resources. The main characters are well drawn with many quirky characteristics. Dialogue is brilliantly rendered and often very amusing. Before reading these books, I had categorised them as ripping yarns , but they are also works of prodigious research and scholarship and despite the numerous digressions from the main action I've been eager to keep reading on to the end of the series. I'm writing as a land lubber. The pleasure of these books must be even greater for those who know the sea well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The far side of the World 10 May 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Brilliant as ever. Love the whole series. Never been interested much in historical novels before but Patrick O'briens Jack Aubrey and Steven Maturin are fascinating characters with a relationship only true friendship brings. The whole has a wonderful atmosphere of the times and life aboard ship and on shore for the royal naval crews.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Another gripping story in this wonderful series of books.
Another stunning description of the life and times of the period in this series of books - a fascinating read. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Michael Peter Landon
5.0 out of 5 stars Patrick O,Brian books about the sea and seagoing.
The usually high standard of Patrick O,Brian his knowledge of the sea is outstanding. All ways a good read about the sea and seagoing.
Published 1 month ago by Thomas Holmes
5.0 out of 5 stars Hopelessly Addictive
Although these books are a series all involving the sea born adventures of Captain Jack Aubrey and his pal Stephen Maturin the ship's surgeon, they can also be read as stand alone... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Oxford Buyer
4.0 out of 5 stars I do not like to give reviews
I liked this book and all previous books I have purchased from Amazon but I do not give reviews or any kind of comment
Published 7 months ago by MR JACK GILFILLAN
5.0 out of 5 stars Patrick O'Brien has written a wonderful series of books.
This book is as good as all the others. All his books have exciting passages, but they also give an interesting understanding of how live was lived at the beginning of the 19th... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Chris Amos
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic Naval Novel
I'm a big fan of all of the Aubrey series by Patrick O'Brian, and this is one of the my favourite books of the series. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Sprootie
5.0 out of 5 stars cracking
The far side of the world is a book that is in no way connected to gary larson's far side cartoons and doesn't have a single cartoon in it.
Published 14 months ago by far told
5.0 out of 5 stars napolionic wars
as usual a very good story involving all asdpects of the old sailing warships. will be ordering the next in the
series shortly.
Published 17 months ago by brian tudor
4.0 out of 5 stars Sea Saga
I liked the book, got a bit slow at times, and a few geographical errors, however that said a good light hearted read
Published 18 months ago by Kenneth McLeod
5.0 out of 5 stars O'Brian
I've loved all of the Aubrey/Maturin books so far and this is no exception. The detail isn't too heavy but still manages to put the images and situations into my mind almost as... Read more
Published 19 months ago by John Evans
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