The Final, Unfinished Voyage of Jack Aubrey (Aubrey/Maturin Series)

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9780007194698: The Final, Unfinished Voyage of Jack Aubrey (Aubrey/Maturin Series)

At the time of his death, Patrick O'Brian had begun to write a novel to follow on from Blue at the Mizzen. These are the chapters he had completed of the final voyage of Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin -- the greatest friendship of modern literature The story picks up from the end of Blue at the Mizzen when Jack Aubrey receives the news, in Chile, of his elevation to flag rank: Rear Admiral of the Blue Squadron, with orders to sail to the South Africa station. This new novel, unfinished and untitled at the time of O'Brian's death, would have been a chronicle of that mission, and much else besides. As the novel opens, we are able to visit these friends we have followed so very far in a rare state of almost perfect felicity. Jack has seen his illegitimate son ably discharging important duties. Sophie and his daughters are with him; Brigid is with her father, she's thriving, and Stephen is with a woman who is very dear to him. Jack, at last, is flying a rear-admiral's flag aboard a ship of the line. The chapters left on O'Brian's death are presented here both in printed version -- including his corrections to the typescript -- and a facsimilie of his manuscript, which goes several pages beyond the end of the typescript and includes marginal notes by O'Brian. And so this great 'roman fleuve' comes to an end with Jack, with his 'sacred blue flag', sailing through fair, sweet days -- Stephen with his dissections and new love, Killick muttering darkly over the toasted cheese! Of course, we would rather have had the whole story; instead we have this proof that O'Brian's powers of observation, his humour and his understanding of his characters were undiminished to the end. 'There is nothing in this century that rivals Patrick O'Brian's achievement in his chosen genre. His novels embrace with loving clarity the full richness of the 18th-century world. They embody the cruelty of battle, the comedy of men's lives, the uncertain fears that plague their hearts; and yet, not far away, is the vision of an ideal existence.' Amanda Foreman, New York Times

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About the Author:

Patrick O'Brian, was until his death in 2000, one of our greatest contemporary novelists and widely regarded as one of the greatest storytellers of the English language. He is the author of the acclaimed Aubrey--Maturin novels and the biographer of Joseph Banks and Picasso. He has also written other novels including Testimonies, and many 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. In 2003, his Aubrey novels were taken to the big screen by the film director Peter Weir with the blockbuster and critically acclaimed Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. He died in Dublin in January 2000.

From Publishers Weekly:

For Aubrey/Maturin addicts, there could be no better gift: a new, albeit incomplete, story with freshly piquant details, wry humor and salty nautical action. Although the official word was that O'Brian had finished the series with 1999's Blue at the Mizzen, he was in fact working on a new installment at the time of his death in 2000. This short volume juxtaposes a facsimile of O'Brian's handwritten manuscript of the untitled novel with a printed version of the text, which corresponds to O'Brian's loosely edited, typed pages. As the tale opens, our heroes are off the coast of South America, trying to find a friendly place to put the Surprise in for victuals and water. Jack Aubrey has received the happy news that he has been given the rank of rear admiral of the Blue, and all is well for the time being. But the Catholic locals are surly at best to the mostly Protestant crew. To fix things, Stephen Maturin does some judicious buttering up and Aubrey reunites with Samuel Mputa, the region's Papal Nuncio and, incidentally, one of his "indiscretions" from his days as "a long-legged youth" serving on the South African station. The typescript of the third chapter ends mid-sentence, but the handwritten manuscript continues on to include a duel between Maturin and a romantic rival, leaving readers begging for more. Alas, this fragmentary but worthy addition to the series is truly the end of a literary era, leaving only readers' imaginations to fill in the rest of the story.
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O'Brian, Patrick
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