Blue at the Mizzen

Blue at the Mizzen

Paperback

By (author) Patrick O'Brian

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  • Publisher: Harper
  • Format: Paperback | 272 pages
  • Dimensions: 114mm x 196mm x 22mm | 222g
  • Publication date: 2 June 2003
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0006513786
  • ISBN 13: 9780006513780
  • Sales rank: 15,959

Product description

Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin tales are widely acknowledged to be the greatest series of historical novels ever written. To commemorate the 40th anniversary of their beginning, with Master and Commander, these evocative stories are being re-issued in paperback with smart new livery. This is the twentieth book in the series. 'If we had only two or three of Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series, we would count ourselves lucky; with six or seven the author would be safely among the greats of historical fiction...This is great writing by an undiminished talent. Now on to Volume Twenty, and the liberation of Chile.' WILLIAM WALDEGRAVE, Literary Review This is the twentieth book in Patrick O'Brian's highly acclaimed, bestselling series chronicling the adventures of lucky Jack Aubrey and his best friend Stephen Maturin, part ship's doctor, part secret agent. The novel's stirring action follows on from that of The Hundred Days. Napoleon's hundred days of freedom and his renewed threat to Europe have ended at Waterloo and Aubrey has finally, as the title suggests, become a blue level admiral. He and Maturin have - at last - set sail on their much postponed mission to Chile. Vivid with the salty tang of life at sea, O'Brian's writing is as powerful as ever whether he writes of naval hierarchies, night-actions or the most celebrated fictional friendship since that of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson. Blue at the Mizzen also brings alive the sights and sounds of revolutionary South America in a story as exciting as any O'Brian has written.

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Author information

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.

Review quote

'... 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 Meyers, 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 sympathy that the vessels he describes, a rare achievement save in the greatest of writers of this genre. It deserves the widest readership.' Irish Times

Editorial reviews

O'Brian announced long ago that he hoped to write 20 volumes in his series centering on the British Navy during the Napoleonic Wars and featuring Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin. Along the way, he has built up a huge British following, if a lesser one in the States, although American reviewers find the series splendidly literate. And so here is volume 20, which finds Napoleon defeated at Waterloo and Jack and now-widower Stephen at Gibraiter, sent on a mission to release Spain's naval stranglehold on Chile and help Chile gain her independence. Nearly half the duo's crew, however, a ragtag bunch of the stupid and least-skilled, has deserted. And an accident in the roaring darkness as the Surprise sets forth requires that it be put up for repairs. During this period Stephen falls in love with Christine Wood, a naturalist, and asks for her hand in marriage. The journey around Cape Horn to Chile takes the Surprise through the most southerly and icy of horrors. Meanwhile, Jack has the nurturing of Midshipman Horatio Hanson, the engaging bastard son of a future king of England, to think about. The climax comes when the vastly outmanned and outnumbered Surprise attacks the Spanish fleet. Escape at its most intelligent and demanding. Is this the farewell Aubrey/Maturin novel? Not very likely, with the gingery addition of Horatio Hanson to the mix. (Kirkus Reviews)