Clarissa Oakes

Patrick O’Brian

All the elements that have made Patrick O’Brian’s astonishing series one of the most highly praised works in contemporary fiction are here in ‘Clarissa Oakes’ – the narrative grip, the impeccable ear for dialogue, the humour and the unsurpassed capacity to create and recreate a rich and true friendship between two men in the late eighteenth-century.

Captain Jack Aubrey sails away from the hated Australian prison colonies in his favourite vessel the Surprise, pondering on middle age and sexual frustration. He soon becomes aware that he is out of touch with the mood of his ship: to his astonishment he finds that in spite of a lifetime’s experience he does not know what the foremost hands or even his own officers are thinking. They know, as he does not, that the Surprise has a stranger aboard: and what they, for their part, do not know is that the stranger is potentially as dangerous as a light in the powder magazine itself.

Reviews of Clarissa Oakes

  • ‘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

    ‘In a highly competitive field it goes straight to the top. A real first-rater.’ Mary Renault

    ‘I never enjoyed a novel about the sea more. It is not only that the author describes the handling of a ship of 1800 with an accuracy that is as comprehensible as it is detailed, a remarkable feat in itself. Mr O’Brian’s three chief characters are drawn with no less depth of sympathy than the vessels he describes, a rare achievement save in the greatest writers of this genre. It deserves the widest readership.’ Irish Times