Desolation Island

Patrick O’Brian

Commissioned to rescue Governor Bligh of Bounty fame, Captain Jack Aubrey and his friend and surgeon, Stephen Maturin, sail the Leopard to Australia with a hold full of convicts. Among them is a beautiful and dangerous spy — and a treacherous disease which decimates the crew.

The ingredients of a wonderfully powerful and dramatic O’Brian novel are heightened by descriptive writing of rare quality. Nowhere in contemporary prose have the majesty and terror of the sea been more effectively rendered than in the thrilling chase through an Antarctic storm in which Jack’s ship, under-manned and out-gunned, is the quarry not the hunter.

Reviews of Desolation Island

  • ‘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