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 tenth book in the series.
It is still the War of 1812. Patrick O'Brian takes his hero Jack Aubrey and his tetchy, sardonic friend Stephen Maturin on a voyage as fascinating as anything he has ever written. They set course across the South Atlantic to intercept a powerful American frigate outward bound to play havoc with the British whaling trade.
If they do not come up with her before she rounds the Horn, they must follow her into the Great South Sea and as far across the Pacific as she may lead them. It is a commission after Jack's own heart. Maturin has fish of his own to fry in the world of secret intelligence.
Aubrey has to cope with a succession of disasters - men overboard, castaways, encounters with savages, storms, typhoons, groundings, shipwrecks, to say nothing of murder and criminal insanity. That the enemy is in fact faithfully dealt with, no one who has the honour of Captain Aubrey's acquaintance can take leave to doubt.
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.