The Unknown Shore by Patrick O'Brian

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An immediate precursor to Patrick O'Brian's acclaimed Aubrey/Maturin series, displaying all the splendid prose and attention to detail that O'Brian's readers expect.

Patrick O'Brian's first novel about the sea, The Golden Ocean, took inspiration from Commodore George Anson's fateful circumnavigation of the globe in 1740. In The Unknown Shore, O'Brian returns to this rich source and mines it brilliantly for another, quite different tale of exploration and adventure.

The Wager was parted from Anson's squadron in the fierce storms off Cape Horn and struggled alone up the coast of Chile until she was driven against the rocks and sank. The survivors were soon involved in trouble of every kind. A surplus of rum, a disappearing stock of food, and a hard, detested captain soon drove them into drunkenness, mutiny, and bloodshed. After many months of privation, a handful of men made their way northward under the guidance of a band of Indians, at last finding safety in Valparaiso.

This saga of survival is the background to the adventures of two young men aboard the Wager: midshipman Jack Byron and his friend Tobias Barrow, an alarmingly naive surgeon's mate. Patrick O'Brian's many devoted readers will take particular interest in this story, as Jack and Toby form a kind of blueprint for Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin, the famed heroes of the great Aubrey/Maturin series to come.


About Patrick O'Brian

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Patrick O'Brian is the author of twenty volumes in the highly respected Aubrey/Maturin series of novels.
Published October 17, 1996 by W. W. Norton & Company. 313 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Unknown Shore

Publishers Weekly

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What will set devotees of O'Brian's better-known books positively aquiver, though, are the two chief characters: Jack Byron, an enthusiastic midshipman with ``gaudy'' family connections, and his best boyhood friend, Tobias Barrow, an unworldly budding doctor and naturalist.

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Entertainment Weekly

During the last few years, Patrick O'Brian, veteran author of historical maritime fiction, has developed such a cult following of rabid readers that now his publisher is reissuing his earliest novels.

Nov 10 1995 | Read Full Review of The Unknown Shore

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