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Book Title: Post Captain|
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 4.51 MB
v The author of the book: Patrick O'Brian
Edition: W. W. Norton Company
Date of issue: November 17th 1994
ISBN 13: 9780393037029
City - Country: No data
Read full description of the books Post Captain:Post Captain makes me wonder if Patrick O'Brian originally intended Master and Commander as a one off (and if you know the answer please don't tell me. I like not knowing).
Master and Commander is a great book, and our introduction to Captain Jack Aubrey and Doctor Stephen Maturin is a great hook, but it can stand alone as a simple Naval adventure without any need for additional information about the men and women confined by its pages. This could, of course, simply be a result of its place as the first book in the series -- a series which stretches just over twenty books -- but there is little if any building for the future in Master and Commander, making it more in conception like O'Brian's The Catalans than his Aubrey-Maturin series.
But all of that "future building," all of that stuff needed to sustain a tale over twenty books, is present in Post Captain.
Many, though not all, of the characters that will become important to Jack and Stephen make their first appearance here: Mrs. Williams and her daughter, Sophia (Sophie (view spoiler)[when she becomes Jack's wife (hide spoiler)]), their cousin Diana Villiers and Sir Joseph Blaine. The relationships with these people will continue to define Aubrey and Maturin until the end of their adventures, and it will define their friendship with one another. We see the return of such stalwarts as Preserved Killick, William Babbington, Heneage Dundas, Barret Bonden, Joe Plaice, and Thomas Pullings -- and their stories are lovingly broadened and deepened, as though O'Brian is now committed to them for a long voyage.
There is also the solidification of Aubrey's friendship with Maturin; they suffer the first and most dangerous test of their love for one another -- a test that brings them even closer to a fatal duel than their first meeting at the Governor's mansion in Port Mahon. We are introduced to Jack's ill luck with money, his penchant for saving drowning shipmates, his inveterate randiness, his father's big mouth (which causes no end of trouble for Jack) and his skill as a Captain and seaman; we are introduced to Stephen's work as an intelligence agent, his deadliness with a sword and pistol, his ideals, his hand in Jack's success, and his tendency to obsess over the unattainable. And all of these deliver plenty of foreshadowing of the challenges our heroes will face during their further adventures at sea and on land.
Moreover, O'Brian delivers his first statement that the remaining Aubrey-Maturin books will be more than they first appeared; they will also be testosterone driven Regency romances -- Boy's Own Austen, if you will.
Much has been made of O'Brian's debt to Jane Austen, and that debt is obvious in Post Captain. At least half of this book takes place on land(view spoiler)[, and most of that time is spent with Aubrey and Maturin chasing the women who will be their wives (hide spoiler)]. While not all of the Aubrey-Maturin novels spend so much time on land, the concerns of their private lives, whether through epistles or genuine time spent in England, will never lose their importance.
All of this suggests to me that Post Captain was the moment when O'Brian really knew this series was special. This was the moment it became his life's work. And it may very well be the best book in the series (although I've no doubt I'll say that again about another chapter).
How amazing must it have been to be O'Brian the day he wrote the last page of Post Captain, scribbling that toast to Sophia? I wish that had been me.
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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