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The Far Side Of The World Paperback – 1 Apr 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 56 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 374 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; New edition (1 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006499252
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006499251
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.6 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 28,087 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Review

'…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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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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By A Customer on 20 Jan. 2004
Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm hopelessly addicted to this series and I would recommend any new readers to start at the first book (which is superb) and work your way through - you are denying yourself a lot of reading pleasure otherwise. I probably looked forward to this book more than any of the others as I enjoyed the film so much, but be warned (or pleasantly Suprise'd - you smoke it? lol) the book is very, very different to the film. To be honest, apart from the locations and the main characters there isn't much overlap.
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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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 stories.

Beware though as these are seriously addictive and I have bought and read each and everyone of the series and have read them in order.

Forget Hornblower, he is good but these are brilliant! Also don't be put off by Russel Crowe and "Master and Comander" the movie, which was an odd mash up of two of the books. Being an addict I enjoyed the film as well!
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Format: Audio CD
I had been unreservedly enjoying this effectively abridged and beautifully read audio version of The Far Side of the World until it struck me that one thing had been abridged out, as it were: which it was Preserved Killick, the captain's steward, that wonderfully ill-tempered emotional barometer of the mood aboard HMS Surprise.
Killick's combination of surliness and devotion to Captain Aubrey have a universal echo and mirror perfectly the lower end of my relationship with my own job: damnably unhappy sometimes about the conditions in which I carry out my duties but unable, unwilling to do anything else.
Without Preserved Killick, the Surprise is missing something important. Without him the far side of the world, to which the ship is heading, seems more remote still.
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