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83 of 83 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting fragment for fans
There are two versions of this book at large - I am informed by friends who have both that the other (Harper-Collins) is to be preferred. However this is the one I have.
The book includes the handwritten manuscript and typescript of 3 chapters of a new Aubrey/Maturin novel Patrick O'Brian left unfinished at his death, plus some pages in reproduced handwriting which...
Published on 22 Oct 2004 by alexandria1121

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109 of 111 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pointers for your own little Jack Aubrey story
I know that in strict page-to-pound terms this book is a waste of money. I know that there are only about 35 pages of type and the rest is Patrick O'Brian's almost illegible handwriting, but I also know that I missed Jack and Stephen terribly, and to even have the slightest prompting as to what might have happened to them after Blue at the Mizzen finished is worth a lot...
Published on 22 Jan 2005 by Accentmonkey


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83 of 83 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting fragment for fans, 22 Oct 2004
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This review is from: 21: The Final Unfinished Voyage of Jack Aubrey (Aubrey/Maturin Series) (Hardcover)
There are two versions of this book at large - I am informed by friends who have both that the other (Harper-Collins) is to be preferred. However this is the one I have.
The book includes the handwritten manuscript and typescript of 3 chapters of a new Aubrey/Maturin novel Patrick O'Brian left unfinished at his death, plus some pages in reproduced handwriting which were never typed up, which continue the story a little.
The story is sketchy and the chapters shorter than O'Brian usually went in for, strengthening the impression that had he lived he would have added a lot of material and refined a lot of detail. The chief interest perhaps is in seeing the changes that occurred during writing. Also the little marginal notes and bits at the foot of pages "I must speak to the girl about my missing shoes" for example is scrawled at the foot of one page, bringing the living O'Brian close.
Really only for serious O'Brian fans, to whom it holds out a glimpse of what we have lost. For anyone else, I would advise going to Master and Commander and starting at the beginning. And, please, let no one complete it, as has happened to the fragments left by Jane Austen and Charles Dickes for example, to say nothing of the James Bond novels!
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109 of 111 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pointers for your own little Jack Aubrey story, 22 Jan 2005
I know that in strict page-to-pound terms this book is a waste of money. I know that there are only about 35 pages of type and the rest is Patrick O'Brian's almost illegible handwriting, but I also know that I missed Jack and Stephen terribly, and to even have the slightest prompting as to what might have happened to them after Blue at the Mizzen finished is worth a lot to me.
There they are, making their jokes as old friends do and trying to sort out land problems while at sea. And there's a promise that something exciting might have happened if only O'Brian had finished the book. But it wasn't to be, and the few personal notes from O'Brian's real life that bleed onto the last few pages make for a poignant end to a great set of adventures. I'm glad I read this. Its lack of completion gives you leave to make up your own fate for the characters.
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57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A poignant fairwell, 7 Sep 2008
By 
D. Benyon "Dave Benyon" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This final, unfinished voyage of Jack and Stephen is a poignant farewell to the two protagonists and the late Patrick O'Brian himself.

The style of this book is spot on - as it is for the previous twenty novels of the 'Aubreyad'. O'Brian's grasp of 1800-era spoken language is straight out of Jane Austen; surpassed only by his vivid illustration of the "wooden world" of the Nelsonic Royal Navy.

O'Brian's dedicated description of the minutae of naval life, routine and the tools of the sailor's trade separate him from his peers in historical fiction and elevate his craft to the level of the literary classics.

That there is no naval battle within this fragment of a novel is a perfect illustration of the man's genius. The vivid portrayal of sea battle in previous novels (Sophie-Cacafuego, Surprise-Torgud and Leopard-Waakzamheid to name a few) provides evidence enough that the master of historical fiction was expert at describing the business of combat at sea. But unlike the Hornblower series, for example, O'Brian wrote with such humour and style, that the bits "in between" battles, become rather the point.

I think my favourite section of this title though, was the passage at which Jack's flag is raised aboard his flagship. That moment was one which, were it transmitted to film, would likely be accompanied by an intense flashback, with a fast-paced montage of poignant events - good and bad - from Jack's career and life.

It put a lump in my throat to say goodbye to Jack and Stephen. After twenty one wonderful voyages they seem more like my good friends than merely characters on a page. They are O'Brian's monument, perhaps two of literature's greatest creations, and just like the man himself, they will be missed. We must take solace then, that after so many joyful reads, we leave them sailing off, under white canvas, and bright blue skies, toward their next adventure.
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88 of 93 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A memento. for fans only, 31 Dec 2004
By 
Budge Burgess (Troon, Scotland) - See all my reviews
It is, perhaps, a tribute to Patrick O'Brien ... or at least to his market value ... that this edition of his last novel should be released. 'Novel' is a bit of an exaggeration. This is an unfinished, incomplete piece of work, the last manuscript on which O'Brien was working at the time of his death. O'Brien's untitled novel was intended to carry forward the story of Jack Aubrey, now elevated to the rank of Rear Admiral.
What you get is a series of incomplete story notes. Fascinating reading, maybe, for the genuine fan. Or an interesting read for anyone concerned to understand how the mind of a novelist works. You get, literally, a pen picture of a work-in-hand - facsimile images of his writing and crossing outs, his experiments with plot and character, scribbled images, notes, and an insight into how a novel is put together. Buy it if this is the sort of thing which fascinates you ... but don't imagine it's a complete story.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I had to know..., 24 Jun 2012
By 
Mr Neil M Hewitt (Ashtead, Surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I knew that this book was probably at face value to be considered 'bad value' in comparison with the price of a full book. However, the way I looked at it was that the other 20 books were of such impossible greatness (and therefore brilliant value!) that it was worth at twice or even three times the price to know where the Aubrey/Maturin story might have gone. Personally I'm glad I did. And when the three chapters ended I was genuinely upset, bereft. Firstly because there will probably never be a better writer of the factual/fictional blend of the naval world of this era, but also because there is evidence that there were a number of new themes and adventures starting to be explored, and therefore a number of further books. If only he was younger when he started the series. I for one feel richer for reading these final unfinished chapters as well as the commentary.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not so good, 19 Jan 2010
This review is from: 21: The Final Unfinished Voyage of Jack Aubrey (Aubrey/Maturin Series) (Hardcover)
Ordered this and sent it back. The Harper Collins version whilst very similar was much better and I paid a lot less (still via Amazon).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sad, 18 Aug 2011
By 
Mr. J. M. Haines (Merseyside) - See all my reviews
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Well, here we are, the end, (although really beyond the end) of the Aubrey / Maturin series. Although Mr O'Brian should really have quit while he was ahead as the entire series dropped off / faded away (becalmed in the doldrums even) after 'Far Side of the World', the second half of this mega series was still a reasonable read (on top of a fantastic and unequalled 10 book run) and so it is very sad to read this, the unfinished voyage of Jack Aubrey.

Although we will never know for sure the essence of the meat which would have padded out these precious few bones, in general, Jack, now a Blue Admiral, is given the task of heading a squadron to guard British shipping on the far eastern trade route, using the Cape as their base. But really, this book is all about letting us in on the initial construction of this work, sadly unfinished due to the passing of Patrick O'Brian; beyond this is down to the literary experts as well as keen readers, who can only guess at what the mini episodes / chapters / full plot would have been. But it is much believed by many that Old Bony would have featured, by way of a meeting with Jack and / or Stephen.

But, and you also get this feeling after Blue at the Mizzen, it is like Mr O'Brian has become Jack (Waldegrave believes this very strongly), and I got and still get an image of a Mr Chips type character, a very tired Mr O'Brian drifting away in his chair at home, while all the characters he created, wrote about and loved appear in front of him, (with Stephen standing to one side, smiling) take off their hats and smile and give their name. . .

"James Dillon, sir, first lieutenant." - "Tom Pullings, Sir, first lieutenant." - "William Babbington, sir, first lieutenant." - "William Mowett, master's mate, sir, oh, and struggling poet." -"Barret Bonden, sir, coxswain." - "Joe Plaice, sir, able." - "Preserved Killick, sir, steward; coffee you say? In which it is getting cold on the table, sir." - "Awkward Davies, sir, able seaman, bloodthirsty axeman, sir, pardon the froth at the side of my mouth." - ...."Sorry I'm late sir, William Reade, skipper of the Ringle, with a message from Captain Dundage."

Of course there are many more to the above, not forgetting the women at home (and in port), and the occasional characters popping up for a few of the tales or even just 1. I know to do this or even the above is not strictly in review format, but what the heck - (and I wish I could have said this to him when he passed on, 7 years ago now), thank you, Mr O'Brian, you were a good'un.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic, 3 May 2011
This review is from: 21: The Final Unfinished Voyage of Jack Aubrey (Aubrey/Maturin Series) (Hardcover)
my husband has been a great fan of patrick o'brian for the last 15 or so yrs,re reading the novels again and again. he was absolutly delighted when i gave him the final unfinished voyage.Although there are just 3 chapters,it was well worth the money as he is reading 1 page a day and absorbing every word of this gem. an absolute must for any Aubrey/Maturin fan.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great prose - shame about the ending, 13 Dec 2012
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I bought this because I am a huge O'Brian fan. Of course I knew it wasn't finished, but I didn't realise how little of the book had reached a readable state. A couple of opening chapters and that's it, a tantalising glimpse of what might have been. I know you can skim his notes for his ideas of some of the rest of the book, but his handwriting is very difficult. William Waldegrave's foreword seems longer than the completed part of the novel. A better title would be "The Final, Barely Started Voyage of Jack Aubrey".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Tribute, 11 April 2010
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Alas the end of a great series of stories. O'Brian was the modern Dickens but with fewer characters.
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21: The Final Unfinished Voyage of Jack Aubrey (Aubrey/Maturin Series)
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