Open Road Media
The World of Patrick O'Brian by Dean King Summary
Four volumes of history and biography for fans of the Aubrey-Maturin novels, with lore on the Royal Navy and much more. What is a sandgrouse, and where does it live? What are the medical properties of lignum vitae, and how did Stephen Maturin use it to repair his viola? Who is Adm. Lord Keith, and why is his wife so friendly with Capt. Jack Aubrey? More than any other contemporary author, Patrick O’Brian knew the past. His twenty Aubrey–Maturin novels, beginning with Master and Commander (1969), are distinguished by deep characterization, heart-stopping naval combat, and an attention to detail that enriches and enlivens his stories. In the revised edition of A Sea of Words, Dean King and his collaborators dive into Jack Aubrey’s world. In the revised edition of Harbors and High Seas, King details not just where Aubrey and Maturin went, but how they got there. Packed with maps and illustrations from the greatest age of sail, it is an incomparable reference for devotees of O’Brian’s novels and anyone who has dreamed of climbing aboard a warship, as well as a captivating portrait of life on the sea during a time when nothing stood between man and ocean but grit, daring, and a few creaking planks of wood. At the dawn of the nineteenth century, the British navy was the mightiest instrument of war the world had ever known. The Royal Navy patrolled the seas from India to the Caribbean, connecting an empire with footholds in every corner of the earth. Such a massive navy required the service of more than 100,000 men—from officers to deckhands to surgeons. Their stories are collected in Every Man Will Do His Duty. The inspiration for the bestselling novels of Patrick O’Brian and C. S. Forester, these twenty-two memoirs and diaries, edited by Dean King, provide a true portrait of life aboard British warships during one of the most significant eras of world history. Patrick O’Brian was well into his seventies when the world fell in love with his greatest creation: the maritime adventures of Royal Navy Capt. Jack Aubrey and ship’s surgeon Stephen Maturin. But despite his fame, little detail was available about the life of the reclusive author, whose mysterious past King uncovers in this groundbreaking biography. King traces O’Brian’s personal history from his beginnings as a London-born Protestant named Richard Patrick Russ to his tortured relationship with his first wife and child to his emergence from World War II with the entirely new identity under which he would publish twenty volumes in the Aubrey–Maturin series. What King unearths is a life no less thrilling than the seafaring world of O’Brian’s imagination. Patrick O’Brian: A Life Revealed is a penetrating and insightful examination of one of the modern world’s most acclaimed historical novelists.