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About the Author

Patrick O'Brian, one of our greatest contemporary novelists, is the author of the acclaimed Aubrey/Maturin tales and the biographer of Joseph Banks and Picasso. His first novel, Testimonies, and his Collected Short Stories were recently republished by HarperCollins. 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 was awarded an honorary doctorate of letters by Trinity College, Dublin. He died in January 2000 at the age of 85.

Reviews

The backdrop of this novel is the temporary cessation of British-French hostilities in 1803 and the consequent stalling of British naval officer Jack Aubrey's promotion from commander to post captain. As he wonders if he will ever be promoted or get another ship, Jack learns that his business manager has absconded with his investments and that collection agents are now after him. Jack still manages to pursue a woman who is a member of a very proper English family, and this affair in turn fuels a potentially lethal breach between him and his closest friend, Dr. Maturin, who is involved in high-level espionage. To avoid debtor's prison, Jack eventually goes to France, only to be trapped there when Napoleon resumes hostilities. This rich blend of adventure, romance, and intrigue will satisfy listeners of many different tastes. John Lee's strong narration is flawed only by his tendency to pronounce "forecastle" so it sounds like "foxhole." Recommended for most collections.-Kent Rasmussen, Thousand Oaks, CA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

'...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 Myers, Irish Times 'Written with most engaging enthusiasm that can't fail to give pleasure to anybody who enjoys historical adventure flavoured with more than a dash of realism.' Sunday Times 'Liveliness and expertise... the hero is vigorous flesh and blood.' Observer 'This book sets him at the very top of his genre' Mary Renault

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