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The complete Aubrey/Maturin novels (1970)

by Patrick O'Brian

Series: Aubrey-Maturin (Omnibus 1-21)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
488836,088 (4.75)7
A handsomely bound omnibus edition of all 21 Jack Aubrey-Stephen Maturin novels, printed in 5 hardbacks and published in a boxed set. Includes the unfinished novel O'Brian was writing at the time of his death. For the first time ever Patrick O'Brian's famous and much-loved Aubrey-Maturin novels will be available as a boxed set. These five volumes, beautifully produced and boxed, contain over 7,000 pages of what has often been described as a single, continuous narrative following the adventures of Jack Aubrey and his ship's surgeon Stephen Maturin. Theirs is one of the greatest friendships in all literature. These volumes are a perfect tribute to such a literary achievement and a perfect gift for the O'Brian enthusiast. The recent release of the film Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World has focused even more attention on the publishing phenomenon of the late Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin novels, set in the Royal Navy in the age of Nelson. Now, four years after O'Brian's death, his estate has agreed to release the chapters of the novel he was working on when he died. It is both fitting and moving that in these pages we are given a glimpsse of Jack Aubrey raising his adm… (more)
  1. 00
    Harbors and High Seas: An Atlas and Geographical Guide to the Aubrey-Maturin Novels of Patrick O'Brian by Dean King (LMHTWB)
    LMHTWB: While you can read the Aubrey/Maturin novels without this book, if you want to understand the geography involved, this book will help tremendously.
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» See also 7 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
The single best series I have ever heard, read via audible.com by Simon Vance. I began with Desolation Island (where I had stopped years ago) went to the very end then began again. ( )
  flashflood42 | Aug 3, 2014 |
Absolutely wonderful. Jack and Stephen are among the most delighful characters ever written.
In my view,however, DO NOT read the last, unfinished novel...just end the series with #20 on a happy note! ( )
  lxydis | May 11, 2013 |
I have no idea how I got started on this series, as I never had any previous interest in naval stories, or that time period. Patrick's writing is so good however that it didn't matter - somehow he writes in such a way that despite using the vernacular of the time and indecipherable sea terminology - somehow it is all so absorbing that you still understand nearly completely. The sea stories and their roots in real history are phenomenal, but really the soul of this series is about a friendship between two of the most interesting, deepest characters I have ever read about. It was heart-rending for me to reach the unfinished book 21, and to know that Patrick's work and these characters will never be finished. If Tolkien defined the reading of my youth, O'Brian I think defines my adult reading. Minor note - the boxed set is notorious for spelling errors and some poor formatting, for those sensitive to that. It is however an inexpensive way of acquiring all the novels rather than singly -'the lesser of two weevils', as Aubrey might say. ( )
2 vote Arbitrex | Jan 31, 2012 |
Listening to these read as I drove back and forth weekly (3 hrs one way) to San Jose, kept me awake for many years. Beautiful evocative language and robust multi-dimensional characters. ( )
1 vote howardpa | Apr 13, 2010 |
Excellent, 20 volume collection of the Aubrey-Maturin stories of Patrick O'Brian, leather-bound. ( )
  switchman | Mar 18, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
Most historical novels suffer from the fatal twin defects of emphasizing the pastness of the past too much while at the same time seeking to be overfamiliar with it ("Have some more of this Chian," drawled Alcibiades). O'Brian does neither. Indeed "history" as such does not seem greatly to interest him: his originality consists in the unpretentious use he makes of it to invent a new style of fiction. That unpretentiousness has become a rare asset among novelists. The reader today has become conditioned, partly by academic critics, to look in Melville and Conrad for the larger issues and deeper significances, rather than enjoying the play of life, the humor and detail of the performance. Yet surface is what matters in good fiction, and Melville on the whale and on the Pequod's crew is more absorbing to his readers in the long run than is the parabolic significance of Captain Ahab. Patrick O'Brian has contrived to invent a new world that is almost entirely in this sense a world of enchanting fictional surfaces, and all the better for it.
added by SnootyBaronet | editLondon Review of Books, John Bayley
 
O’Brian avoids anything too lurid or graphic, but he takes the facts of life very much as they come, and these narratives are salted, as one might say, with illustrative incidents of every sort of carnality (including the bestial, since animals had to be shipped for milk and protein) and also of the gross reality of attending to bodily functions in a confined and hazardous space. We are spared neither the scent of the bordello, nor the pox-ridden customers of the ship’s surgeon, nor the reek of the head and the privy. As for rum, we come to appreciate how shrewd were the severe British Sea Lords who mandated a stunning daily draft of it as the only indulgence permitted afloat...

It is Maturin who makes all the difference here. For a sidekick, Hornblower had only the dogged Mr Bush, a character of John Bullish stoicism. Jack Aubrey ships out with the Georgian equivalent of a Straussian intellectual, a man of many parts but with a good many of them hidden. To Jack he shows his command of medicine and natural history and the classics, but beneath the waterline he is also an intelligence expert familiar with complex codes, and a closet revolutionary.
added by SnootyBaronet | editThe New York Review of Books, Christopher Hitchens
 
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A handsomely bound omnibus edition of all 21 Jack Aubrey-Stephen Maturin novels, printed in 5 hardbacks and published in a boxed set. Includes the unfinished novel O'Brian was writing at the time of his death. For the first time ever Patrick O'Brian's famous and much-loved Aubrey-Maturin novels will be available as a boxed set. These five volumes, beautifully produced and boxed, contain over 7,000 pages of what has often been described as a single, continuous narrative following the adventures of Jack Aubrey and his ship's surgeon Stephen Maturin. Theirs is one of the greatest friendships in all literature. These volumes are a perfect tribute to such a literary achievement and a perfect gift for the O'Brian enthusiast. The recent release of the film Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World has focused even more attention on the publishing phenomenon of the late Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin novels, set in the Royal Navy in the age of Nelson. Now, four years after O'Brian's death, his estate has agreed to release the chapters of the novel he was working on when he died. It is both fitting and moving that in these pages we are given a glimpsse of Jack Aubrey raising his adm

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I bought this beautifully presented omnibus edition, which is not cheap. I am disappointed by the poor effort in proof reading. Lots and lots of sloppiness here,including incorrect fonts (Italics) for ship's names which was confusing and amazingly irritating.
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