"Every [Aubrey-Maturin] book is packed to absolute straining with erudition, wit, history, and thunderous action." —Joe Hill
All Patrick O'Brian's strengths are on parade in this novel of action and intrigue, set partly in Malta, partly in the treacherous, pirate-infested waters of the Red Sea. While Captain Aubrey worries about repairs to his ship, Stephen Maturin assumes the center stage for the dockyards and salons of Malta are alive with Napoleon's agents, and the admiralty's intelligence network is compromised. Maturin's cunning is the sole bulwark against sabotage of Aubrey's daring mission.
About the Author
One of our greatest contemporary novelists, Patrick O’Brian is the author of the twenty volumes of the best-selling Aubrey/Maturin series, as well as many other books, including Testimonies, The Golden Ocean, The Unknown Shore, and biographies of Joseph Banks and Picasso.
I haven’t read novels [in the past ten years] except for all of the Patrick O’Brian series. It was, unfortunately, like tripping on heroin. I started on those books and couldn’t stop. — E. O. Wilson - Boston Globe
I devoured Patrick O’Brian’s
20-volume masterpiece as if it had been so many tots of Jamaica grog. — Christopher Hitchens - Slate
I fell in love with his writing straightaway, at first with Master and Commander. It wasn’t primarily the Nelson and Napoleonic period, more the human relationships. . . . And of course having characters isolated in the middle of the goddamn sea gives more scope. . . . It’s about friendship, camaraderie. Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin always remind me a bit of Mick and me.
— Keith Richards
O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin volumes actually
constitute a single 6,443-page novel, one that should have been on those lists
of the greatest novels of the 20th century. — George Will
O'Brian's narrative...provides endlessly varying shocks and surprises—comic, grim, farcical and tragic. An essential of the truly gripping book for the narrative addict is the creation of a whole, solidly living world for the imagination to inhabit, and O'Brian does this with prodigal specificity and generosity. — A. S. Byatt
[O’Brian’s] Aubrey-Maturin series, 20 novels of
the Royal Navy in the Napoleonic Wars, is a masterpiece. It will outlive most
of today’s putative literary gems as Sherlock Holmes has outlived
Bulwer-Lytton, as Mark Twain has outlived Charles Reade. — David Mamet - New York Times
The best historical novels ever written. . . .
On every page Mr. O’Brian reminds us with subtle artistry of the most important
of all historical lessons: that times change but people don’t, 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. — Richard Snow - New York Times Book Review
The Aubrey-Maturin series . . . far beyond any
episodic chronicle, ebbs and flows with the timeless tide of character and the
human heart. — Ken Ringle - Washington Post
There is not a writer alive whose work I value
over his. — Stephen Becker - Chicago Sun-Times
Patrick O’Brian is unquestionably the Homer of
the Napoleonic wars. — James Hamilton-Paterson - New Republic
It has been something of a shock to find
myself—an inveterate reader of girl books—obsessed with Patrick O’Brian’s
Napoleonic-era historical novels. . . . What keeps me hooked are the evolving
relationships between Jack and Stephen and the women they love. — Tamar Lewin - New York Times