Read H.M.S. Surprise by Patrick O'Brian Free Online
Book Title: H.M.S. Surprise|
The author of the book: Patrick O'Brian
ISBN 13: 9780393307610
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 891 KB
Edition: W.W. Norton
Date of issue: May 17th 1991
Read full description of the books H.M.S. Surprise:My favorite of the first three novels and perhaps of the entire series! HMS Surprise deftly combines the best aspects of the first two books. Love, friendship and war. Frankly, there's so much going on it's hard to believe O'Brian fits it all in comfortably!
The amazing thing about this book is how it takes you on a ride around the world, touching base in England, the Mediterranean, Africa, South America, India and the South Pacific islands. All of this lush scenery is a joy to behold in O'Brian's capable hands. So much of it describes the natural world that reading HMS Surprise is often like watching an episode of Plant Earth.
This epic series set during the Napoleonic Wars, ostensibly written with Captain Jack Aubrey as the solo heroic figure, can no longer pretend to be anything but a duet. Aubrey's friend, sometimes surgeon and sometimes (view spoiler)[spy (hide spoiler)], Stephen Maturin really comes into his own in HMS Surprise, which includes one of the saddest, most touching scenes, not to mention others both harrowing and heroic. Torture and duels, written with a touch of Impressionism that needs your attention, thrust and parry through out the book in a way that makes you wonder if O'Brian wrote it just to see how much one man can plausibly endure.
O'Brian is knocked on for providing too much information about naval matters, but here he puts it to poignant use. Around page 50 Aubrey is writing to his beloved Sophie back home. Much of what we know today about life at sea and warfare during this period (early 1800s) is what's made available to us through just such letters. They are often vague, elusive or downright bland when it comes to the description of battles. Certainly they could've described the gore and extreme peril the sailors put themselves in, but why worry and expose loved ones to the horrors they might otherwise remain blissfully unaware of? Aubrey pauses in the midst of his chatty letter and reflects upon one of his recent and particularly violent battles - oddly inhuman in it's unusually calm, calculated butchery. Forcing our eyes open Clockwork Orange-style , O'Brian shows a scene few have or should see, and then has Aubrey continue on with his letter, dashing off a colorless, dispassionate summary line about the fight that his loved one might readied swallow none the wiser. So you get the scene and the subterfuge all in one brilliant bit of real life in a fiction full of truths.
My review of book two, Post Captain:
My review of book four, The Mauritius Command:
Read information about the authorPatrick O'Brian's acclaimed Aubrey/Maturin series of historical novels has been described as "a masterpiece" (David Mamet, New York Times), "addictively readable" (Patrick T. Reardon, Chicago Tribune), and "the best historical novels ever written" (Richard Snow, New York Times Book Review), which "should have been on those lists of the greatest novels of the 20th century" (George Will).
Set in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars, O'Brian's twenty-volume series centers on the enduring friendship between naval officer Jack Aubrey and physician (and spy) Stephen Maturin. The Far Side of the World, the tenth book in the series, was adapted into a 2003 film directed by Peter Weir and starring Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany. The film was nominated for ten Oscars, including Best Picture. The books are now available in hardcover, paperback, and e-book format.
In addition to the Aubrey/Maturin novels, Patrick O'Brian wrote several books including the novels Testimonies, The Golden Ocean, and The Unknown Shore, as well as biographies of Joseph Banks and Picasso. He translated many works from French into English, among them the novels and memoirs of Simone de Beauvoir, the first volume of Jean Lacouture's biography of Charles de Gaulle, and famed fugitive Henri Cherriere's memoir Papillon. O'Brian died in January 2000.
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