The Letter of Marque

Author(s): Patrick O'Brian

Fiction

Captain Jack Aubrey, a brilliant and experienced officer, has been struck off the list of post-captains for a crime he did not commit. His old friend Stephen Maturin, usually cast as a ship's surgeon to mask his discreet activities on behalf of British Intelligence, has bought for Aubrey his former ship the Surprise to command as a privateer, more politely termed a letter of marque. Together they sail on a desperate mission against the French, which, if successful, may redeem Aubrey from the private hell of his disgrace.

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"I devoured Patrick O'Brian's 20-volume masterpiece as if it had been so many tots of Jamaica grog." -- Christopher Hitchens - Slate "Gripping and vivid... a whole, solidly living world for the imagination to inhabit." -- A. S. Byatt "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 "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 "[Patrick O'Brian has] the power of bringing near to the reader...savagery and tenderness, beauty and mystery and boldness and dignity." -- Eudora Welty "Patrick O'Brian is unquestionably the Homer of the Napoleonic wars." -- James Hamilton-Paterson - New Republic "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 "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 "[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 Aubrey-Maturin series... far beyond any episodic chronicle, ebbs and flows with the timeless tide of character and the human heart." -- Ken Ringle - New York Times "There is not a writer alive whose work I value over his." -- Stephen Becker - Chicago Sun-Times "The Letter of Marque is both serious and light-hearted, true and sentimental, as comic opera can be." -- Peter Campbell - London Review of Books "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

Patrick O'Brian's acclaimed Aubrey/Maturin series of historical novels has been described as "a masterpiece" (David Mamet, New York Times), "addictively readable" (Patrick T. Reardon, Chicago Tribune), and "the best historical novels ever written" (Richard Snow, New York Times Book Review), which "should have been on those lists of the greatest novels of the 20th century" (George Will).Set in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars, O'Brian's twenty-volume series centers on the enduring friendship between naval officer Jack Aubrey and physician (and spy) Stephen Maturin. The Far Side of the World, the tenth book in the series, was adapted into a 2003 film directed by Peter Weir and starring Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany. The film was nominated for ten Oscars, including Best Picture. The books are now available in hardcover, paperback, and e-book format.In addition to the Aubrey/Maturin novels, Patrick O'Brian wrote several books including the novels Testimonies, The Golden Ocean, and The Unknown Shore, as well as biographies of Joseph Banks and Picasso. He translated many works from French into English, among them the novels and memoirs of Simone de Beauvoir, the first volume of Jean Lacouture's biography of Charles de Gaulle, and famed fugitive Henri Cherriere's memoir Papillon. O'Brian died in January 2000.

General Fields

  • : 9780393309058
  • : W. W. Norton & Company, Incorporated
  • : W. W. Norton & Company, Incorporated
  • : 0.26
  • : July 1992
  • : 211mm X 140mm X 15mm
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Paperback
  • : 336