Master and Commander

Patrick O’Brian

‘Master and Commander’ is the first of Patrick O’Brian’s now famous Aubrey/Maturin novels, regarded by many as the greatest series of historical novels ever written.

Establishing the friendship between Captain Jack Aubrey RN and Stephen Maturin, who becomes his secretive ship’s surgeon and an intelligence agent, ‘Master and Commander’ contains all the action and excitement of a historical novel whilst displaying the qualities which have put O’Brian far ahead of any of his competitors: his evocative depiction of life aboard a Nelsonic man-of-war, of weaponry, food, conversation and ambience, and of the landscape and life on the high seas.

This brilliant historical novel marked the début of a writer who grew into one of our greatest novelists, the author of what Alan Judd, writing in the Sunday Times, has described as ‘the most significant extended story since Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time’.

Reviews of Master and Commander

  • ‘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