The second book Patrick O'Brian wrote about the sea and a brilliant sequel to The Golden Ocean.As in The Golden Ocean, The Unknown Shore tells the tale of another ill-fated ship on Anson's expedition round the world - the Wager. Parted from her squadron in the fearful storms off Cape Horn, the Wager struggles on alone up the ironbound coast of Chile, before she is driven onto rocks and sinks. The survivors include Jack Byron, a midshipman, and his eccentric protege Toby, an alarmingly naive surgeon's mate with a single-minded devotion to zoology.Faced with a surplus of rum, a disappearing stock of food, and a hard, detested captain, the survivors soon descend into trouble of every kind, including drunkeness, mutiny and bloodshed. As they make their way northwards under the guidance of a band of stony and depraved Indians, they at last find safety and good treatment in Valparaiso.Admirers of O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin novels will see in Jack Byron a matter-of-fact, bluff precursor to the great Jack Aubrey. Whilst Toby, raging in Greek against a corrupt Member of Parliament, stripped by thieves in the Farthing Pie House, asking the Commodore to carry his snake, arousing the darkest suspicions in the Chilean Inquisition, is an amiable companion whose vagaries afford endless diversion on a hard and dramatic journey.
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The Unknown Shore, a sort-of sequel to The Golden Ocean, is a fascinating blue-print for the Aubrey-Maturin series. We follow Jack Byron and Tobias Barrow, two unlikely neighbors and fast friends in whom we catch glimpses of the heroes of the epic series to come. They set off to sea in 1740 as part of Commodore Anson's fleet to circumnavigate the globe. Byron, a romantic, forceful lad, signs on as a midshipman; Barrow, a strangely educated, scientifically brilliant boy, is running away from his father and wins a commission as a surgeon's mate. Set up in the Wager, which is parted from Anson's squadron and sinks somewhere along the desolate coast of Chile, Byron and Barrow are left to struggle for survival by wits alone, facing mutiny, famine, indifferent natives and lingering infighting. A fully realized hint of the fictional magic to come.From the Back Cover:
Patrick O'Brian's first novel about the sea, The Golden Ocean, took inspiration from Commodore 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 it 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. An immediate precursor to Patrick O'Brian's acclaimed Aubrey/Maturin series of historical novels, The Unknown Shore displays all the splendid prose and attention to detail that O'Brian's readers have come to expect. Yet perhaps this novel's most fascinating aspect is the characterization of Jack and Toby, for in them we catch tantalizing glimpses of Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin, famed heroes of the great series to come.
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, 1998. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 6497950