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The Far Side of the World (1984)

by Patrick O'Brian

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Aubrey-Maturin (10)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,181373,391 (4.2)61
The War of 1812 continues, and Jack Aubrey sets course for Cape Horn on a mission after his own heart: intercepting a powerful American frigate outward bound to play havoc with the British whaling trade. Stephen Maturin has orders of his own in the world of secret intelligence. Disaster in various guises awaits them in the Great South Sea and in the far reaches of the Pacific: typhoons, castaways, shipwrecks, murder, and criminal insanity.… (more)
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» See also 61 mentions

English (30)  Spanish (3)  Swedish (2)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (37)
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
Typically excellent @Brian/Aubrey excellent characterisation, vivid prose, compelling page-turning plot. What more could you want? ( )
  malcrf | Jul 22, 2021 |
This is book 10 in Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series. It's also the basis for the 2003 movie Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (hence the picture of Russell Crowe on the cover of my copy). I did see the movie when it came out, but I can't say how faithful an adaptation it was, as I remember almost nothing of the plot, although I do remember liking it well enough.

I have slightly more mixed feelings about the novel, but I'm starting to think that my reactions to the books in this series may say a lot more about my mood while reading them than about the books themselves. I think I remarked on the previous book, Treason's Harbour, that it seemed like a shining example of O'Brian's complete inability (or perhaps unconcern) with any kind of reasonable pacing, but I found it a very pleasant read, anyway. But, then, I read it on some nice, pleasant days. With this one, I spent the first 200 pages or so just feeling incredibly impatient and annoyed with the lack of anything interesting happening, but I enjoyed the second half much, much better. Is that because there were more interesting incidents in the back half, and a few amusing instances of Stephen Manurin being entertainingly Stephen Maturin-ish to keep me engaged? Maybe. Or maybe it's just because I was less sleep-deprived and stressed while reading that than I was in the beginning. It's hard to say, really, but I am nevertheless making a note to myself not to pick one of these up again while I'm in the middle of working extra night shifts.

Mind you, I'm still not quite sure how I feel about the very ending, which was interesting, but rather startlingly abrupt. Eh, well. Let's just say that, overall, this one gave me a better reading experience than I initially thought it was going to, but not quite as good a one as I might hope for. ( )
  bragan | Jul 14, 2021 |
The tenth Aubrey/Maturin novel sees O'Brian on top form, probably because the action never gets further from the sea than the top of Gibralter Rock and also because The Surprise is sailed into waters new to her, allowing novelty of description and incident.
O'Brian's unique style and depth of characterisation, along with convincing dialogue and wealth of detail are all present and mixed with a story that never gets be-calmed make this a book that easily transcends genre.

Only ten more volumes of the series to go.... ( )
  Arbieroo | Jul 17, 2020 |
Excellent social commentary well-couched, with very well distinguished voices. ( )
  FourFreedoms | May 17, 2019 |
Excellent social commentary well-couched, with very well distinguished voices. ( )
  ShiraDest | Mar 6, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Patrick O'Brianprimary authorall editionscalculated
Hunt, GeoffCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Merla, PaolaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Oca, Aleida Lama Montes deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tull, PatrickNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wiberg, CarlaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Wolcott Gibbs Jr., who first encouraged these tales.
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'Pass the word for Captain Aubrey, pass the word for Captain Aubrey,' cried a sequence of voices, at first dim and muffled far aft on the flagship's maindeck, then growing louder and more distinct as the call wafted up to the quarterdeck and so along the gangway to the forecastle, where Captain Aubrey stood by the starboard thirty-two-pounder carronade contemplating the Emperor of Morocco's purple galley as it lay off Jumper's Bastion with the vast grey and tawny Rock of Gibraltar soaring behind it, while Mr Blake, once a puny member of his midshipman's berth but now a tall, stout lieutenant almost as massive as his former captain, explained the new carriage he had invented, a carriage that should enable carronades to fire twice as fast, with no fear of oversetting, twice as far, and with perfect accuracy, thus virtually putting an end to war.
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The War of 1812 continues, and Jack Aubrey sets course for Cape Horn on a mission after his own heart: intercepting a powerful American frigate outward bound to play havoc with the British whaling trade. Stephen Maturin has orders of his own in the world of secret intelligence. Disaster in various guises awaits them in the Great South Sea and in the far reaches of the Pacific: typhoons, castaways, shipwrecks, murder, and criminal insanity.

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W.W. Norton

2 editions of this book were published by W.W. Norton.

Editions: 0393308626, 039303710X

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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