Books by Patrick O'Brian

W. W. Norton & Company mourns the loss of Patrick O'Brian, one of the great authors of the twentieth century, whose novels were often compared by critics to the work of Jane Austen and even Homer. A writer of breathtaking erudition, Mr. O'Brian evoked in


A BOOK OF VOYAGES by Patrick O'Brian
ESSAYS & ANTHOLOGIES
Released: May 20, 2013

"O'Brian's fans and armchair travelers will naturally gravitate to this eclectic work."
A curiously engrossing collection of travel writings from the 17th and 18th centuries, collected by the deceased author of the Aubrey/Maturin series. Read full book review >
THE ROAD TO SAMARCAND by Patrick O'Brian
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 1, 2007

"A likable if far-fetched jaunt; O'Brian lacks the mastery of his material which he will show in the Aubrey/Maturin series."
This adventure story, set in the Far East, was originally published in 1954; it predates the naval warfare novels that made O'Brian (1914–2000) famous. Read full book review >
21 by Patrick O'Brian
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 18, 2004

"It's all there. The wonderful language. The leisurely pace. The rich detail. There's just no end. Readers will be left to their dreams."
A lovely and welcome oddity: the much-loved author's final fragment, titled simply by its position in the canon. Read full book review >
CAESAR by Patrick O'Brian
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 1, 2000

"Though clearly the writing of an adolescent, sure to be a hit for anyone who can't believe there are no more novels from a modern master."
Juvenilia by the now-deceased O'Brian (Blue at the Mizzen, 1999, etc.), a fantasy of a panda-leopard's coming of age first published in 1930. Read full book review >
HUSSEIN by Patrick O'Brian
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 1, 2000

"O'Brian's faithful fans will be better served sticking to his seafaring adventures."
This early work from the nowdeceased O'Brian (Blue at the Mizzen, 1999, etc.) has nothing at all to do with the Iraqi leader. Read full book review >
BLUE AT THE MIZZEN by Patrick O'Brian
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 1, 1999

"Not very likely, with the gingery addition of Horatio Hanson to the mix."
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. Read full book review >
THE HUNDRED DAYS by Patrick O'Brian
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 1, 1998

"More swift, vivid, engrossing work from the dean of historical novelists."
The 19th volume (The Yellow Admiral, 1996, etc.) in the most successful modern series of historical fiction indicates no diminishment of power or inventiveness on the part of its author. Read full book review >
THE YELLOW ADMIRAL by Patrick O'Brian
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 21, 1996

"Another excellent adventure, complete with period-piece arcana, for oceanic literature's oddest and arguably most appealing couple."
The 18th voyage for Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin, stormy-petrel protagonists of O'Brian's utterly addictive series on life in the service of His Britannic Majesty's navy during the Napoleonic Wars (The Commodore, 1995, etc.). Read full book review >
THE UNKNOWN SHORE by Patrick O'Brian
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 1, 1995

"Nobody does the 18th-century British Navy any better."
Mining the same material that he used for his first sea-tale (The Golden Ocean, 1956), O'Brian returned three years later to Commodore Anson's 1740 globe-circling voyage in The Unknown Shore, originally published in Britain in 1959. Read full book review >
THE COMMODORE by Patrick O'Brian
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 10, 1995

"In doing so, O'Brian bids to be considered the rightful heir not just of C.S. Forester, but of Jane Austen herself."
O'Brian enjoys a sparkling success while playing with distinctly modern themes — in this 17th installment of the lives of Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin, best friends and seafaring warriors of the Napoleonic Wars. Read full book review >
THE RENDEZVOUS by Patrick O'Brian
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 1, 1994

"Eloquent and elegant as expected, these often intriguing tales are never quite as enthralling as one might hope."
His reputation as a novelist secure, O'Brian (The Wine-Dark Sea, 1993, etc.) here seeks to cement his reputation as a short-story writer. Read full book review >
THE GOLDEN OCEAN by Patrick O'Brian
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 1, 1994

"Not a mature piece of work, but appealing enough to satisfy fans of O'Brian's naval sagas."
An early novel by the author of the popular seafaring series starring Capt. Read full book review >
THE WINE-DARK SEA by Patrick O'Brian
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 1, 1993

"The illustrated guide to sails and masts is worth the price by itself."
Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin—the amiable, music-loving heroes of O'Brian's wonderful sail-powered series (The Truelove, The Letter of Marque, The Far Side of the World, et al.)—follow orders into the midst of revolutionary South American politics. Read full book review >
TESTIMONIES by Patrick O'Brian
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 24, 1993

"A chaste and disciplined prose lend purity to a quiet, tragic idyll for the discriminating reader.""
A welcome reissue of O'Brian's moving and very fine first novel—a novel of "unassuming proportion and immaculate design" (Kirkus, August 1, 1952). Read full book review >
JOSEPH BANKS by Patrick O'Brian
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 1, 1992

"An impressive achievement, destined to swell the ranks of O'Brian's already sizable readership."
A finely wrought and fascinating biography from O'Brian, acclaimed author of historical naval adventures (The Truelove, 1992, etc.), who now turns his considerable storytelling talents to the life of Joseph Banks (1743-1820)—explorer, botanist, natural philosopher. Read full book review >
THE TRUELOVE by Patrick O'Brian
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 1, 1992

"Not for the rushed."
The musings and adventures of 18th-century sailors Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin (The Ionian Missionary, The Surgeon's Mate, et. many al.) follow the winds to the South Pacific. Read full book review >
THE IONIAN MISSION by Patrick O'Brian
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 27, 1992

"Splendid adventures at a stately pace."
Aubrey and Maturin (The Thirteen Gun Salute, p. 496; The Surgeon's Mate—see below) sail again. Read full book review >
THE SURGEON'S MATE by Patrick O'Brian
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 27, 1992

"Literate and amusing."
This time out, Captain Jack Aubrey and ship's surgeon Stephen Maturin limp home from America for a brief rest before sailing to the Baltic to subvert the occupying Catalan troops—and then to the Bay of Biscay to run aground. Read full book review >
THE NUTMEG OF CONSOLATION by Patrick O'Brian
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 1, 1991

"Witty, literate, and engaging—as Aubrey himself might say, "capital work indeed.""
Another in O'Brian's stylish epic series devoted to the exploits of Captain Jack Aubrey, his close friend and traveling companion Dr. Steven Maturin, and the men who share their ships—and their adventures—on the high seas of a world nearly two centuries gone. Read full book review >
THE THIRTEEN GUN SALUTE by Patrick O'Brian
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 27, 1991

"Maturin adventures lies in O'Brian's delicious old- fashioned prose, the wonderfully complex sentences that capture the feel of the sea and the culture of the great warships, all the while sketching with apparent accuracy and truth the early- 19th-century world."
Norton's admirable attempt to achieve for O'Brian in this country at least some semblance of the success he has enjoyed in England continues apace with the release of this 13th adventure of Captain Jack Aubrey and his crew of British seamen during the Napoleonic Wars, in conjunction with trade paperback reprintings of two earlier books in the series (H.M.S. Surprise, The Mauritius Command). Read full book review >
THE LETTER OF MARQUE by Patrick O'Brian
Released: Sept. 10, 1990

"Authentic and engaging."
O'Brian (Desolation Island, 1979, etc.) brings back Captain Jack Aubrey, who is no longer in the Royal Navy but nonetheless still sails against Napoleon. Read full book review >
ADIEUX by Simone de Beauvoir
HISTORY
Released: April 30, 1984

"Sartre-watchers."
Two documentary additions—prosaic, unformed, but substantial—to the Jean-Paul Sartre biography, to the understanding of his oeuvre, to the history of the Beauvoir/Sartre relationship. Read full book review >
DESOLATION ISLAND by Patrick O'Brian
Released: March 19, 1979

"The usual action ensues—but O'Brian's literate, clear-eyed realism should draw a slightly broader audience than most nautical fare."
A sequel to The Mauritius Command (1970), which was the opening salvo in the Capt. Read full book review >
THE MAURITIUS COMMAND by Patrick O'Brian
Released: July 21, 1978

"They have real nerve to them, a crazy inner skip to their hearts, and O'Brian captures it all in language deep with detail and the poetry of fact on blue-water currents under the trades."
During the Napoleonic wars, Captain Jack Aubrey reaches middle age and is beached with domesticity: wife, daughters, mother-in-law, several servants, all packed into a little cottage like the Black Hole—and on half-pay. Read full book review >
PICASSO  by Patrick O'Brian
Released: May 28, 1976

"To the extent that it can be trusted, the book is informative; but as reading matter it almost makes one long for the heroic days of Irving Stone."
They came, they saw, they commemorated. Read full book review >
WOMAN DESTROYED by Simone de Beauvoir
PSYCHOLOGY
Released: Jan. 16, 1968

"They're not important but they're as intimate as a tete-a-tete and read with glistening case."
In caliber, if not in content, this is comparable to Mme, de Beauvoir's last book, Les Belles Images—three first person, feminine, silky, shrewish, and on occasion shrill confessionals of unhappy women of a certain age. Read full book review >
A VERY EASY DEATH by Simone de Beauvoir
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 18, 1966

"Beauvoir's dusty answer is depressingly effective."
She was "of an age to die," seventy-seven, and she had a "very easy death" or so the nurse said— well cared for and well attended by her daughters. Read full book review >
THE WALKER by Patrick O'Brian
Released: June 15, 1955

"These however will be appreciative."
A collection of short stories ranges from the rocky Welsh landscape of Testimonies to the softer Mediterranean coastline of The Catalans, confines a talent which is perhaps better suited to this medium, and includes some brief moments of experience where fate often adds the finishing touches to failure and futility. Read full book review >
THE CATALANS by Patrick O'Brian
Released: Oct. 9, 1953

"There's a fastidious detail here, of place and character and convention, a reserved scrutiny and an often subtle sense of moral abstraction- which direct this only towards the more discerning reader."
A successor to Testimonies is again a chaste, scrupulous and precise performance-discreet- and to a certain extent, inanimate. Read full book review >