Patrick O'Brian avec HMS Surprise
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
From the Back Cover
'H.M.S. Surprise',the third in O’Brian’s acclaimed Aubrey-Maturin series, follows the variable fortunes of Captain Jack Aubrey’s career in Nelson’s navy as he attempts to hold his ground against admirals, colleagues and the enemy, and accepts a commission to convey a British ambassador to the East Indies. The voyage takes him and his friend Stephen Maturin to the strange sights and smells of the Indian subcontinent, and through the archipelago of spice islands where the French have a near-overwhelming local superiority.
Rarely has a novel managed to convey more vividly the fragility of a sailing ship in a wild sea. Rarely has a historical novelist combined action and lyricism of style in the way that O’Brian does. His superb sense of place, brilliant characterisation and a vigour and joy of writing lifts O’Brian above any but the most exalted of companions.
“ I don’t see that anyone could wish for anything better than Mr O’Brian’s sea stories… 'H.M.S. Surprise' is the third in the series, and one can hardly give it higher praise than to say that it maintains the level of the other two. The language is just right, with a full weightiness that is still free from any trace strain or affection.”
JULIAN SYMONDS,'Sunday Times'
“Few, very few, books have made my heart thump with excitement. 'H.M.S. Surprise'managed it. [O’Brian’s] erudition is phenomenal, as is his capacity for creating another completely believable world . I might have given a better idea of this book if I had simply written six hundred times the word “superb”.
HELEN LUCY BURKE, 'Irish Times'
“As sinewy, and virile as its predecessors. This is a copper-bottomed investment for the numerous admirers of Jack Aubrey and his amazing shipmate, Dr Maturin, with whom we sail breathlessly through perilous seas to the Far East. Vivid and authentic as is Mr O’Brian’s mastery of period and life at sea, it is in his creation of characters that he excels.”
SARAH LAKE, 'Daily Telegraph'
Patrick O’Brian, until his death in 2000, was one of our greatest contemporary novelists. He is the author of the acclaimed Aubrey–Maturin tales and the biographer of Joseph Banks and Picasso. He is the author of many other books including Testimonies, and his Collected Short Stories. In 1995 he was the first recipient of the Heywood Hill Prize for a lifetime’s contribution to literature. In the same year he was awarded the CBE. In 1997 he received an honorary doctorate of letters from Trinity College, Dublin. He lived for many years in South West France and he died in Dublin in January 2000.