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Blue at the Mizzen (Aubrey/Maturin Series): Book 20

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Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin tales are widely acknowledged to be the greatest series of historical novels ever written. To commemorate the 40th anniversary of their beginning, with Master and Commander, these evocative stories are being re-issued in paperback with smart new livery. This is the twentieth book in the series.

’If we had only two or three of Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin series, we would count ourselves lucky; with six or seven the author would be safely among the greats of historical fiction... This is great writing by an undiminished talent. Now on to Volume Twenty, and the liberation of Chile.’ WILLIAM WALDEGRAVE, Literary Review

This is the twentieth book in Patrick O’Brian’s highly acclaimed, bestselling series chronicling the adventures of lucky Jack Aubrey and his best friend Stephen Maturin, part ship’s doctor, part secret agent. The novel’s stirring action follows on from that of The Hundred Days. Napoleon’s hundred days of freedom and his renewed threat to Europe have ended at Waterloo and Aubrey has finally, as the title suggests, become a blue level admiral. He and Maturin have – at last – set sail on their much postponed mission to Chile. Vivid with the salty tang of life at sea, O’Brian’s writing is as powerful as ever whether he writes of naval hierarchies, night-actions or the most celebrated fictional friendship since that of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson. Blue at the Mizzen also brings alive the sights and sounds of revolutionary South America in a story as exciting as any O’Brian has written.

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Why do the sea-faring adventure novels of Patrick O'Brian enjoy such a phenomenally devoted readership? Actually, O'Brian enthusiasts can take their pick from a variety of qualities of excellence: the sheer command of writing technique; the adroit characterisation of his heroes, every bit as rich and well-rounded as anything in serious fiction; and, of course, the bracingly-realised atmosphere of the sea on which the author sets his tales of derring-do. The latest volume, Blue at the Mizzen, represents an even greater refinement of O'Brian's art.

His long-time protagonist Jack Aubrey is about to achieve his ambition. Unusually, his finances are in good order and his professional life is ship-shape. But as he reaches the upper echelons of the Captain's list, his prospects of gaining that final promotion are in the balance. In the powder-keg revolutionary atmosphere of South America, his shipmate Stephen Maturin is coming to terms with the loss of his wife by throwing himself into the intelligence work he so enjoys. Both men become involved in a series of labyrinthine intrigues, splendidly punctuated by the action that O'Brian delivers so well. And the writing is as non-pareil as ever:

"Then came the repeated broadsides: this was not the dumb show of usual practice at divisions, but the shattering din of battle, the flashing stabs of fire, the shriek of each gun's very dangerous recoil, the heady scent of powder-smoke along the decks."
Blue at the Mizzen is a treat for lovers of O'Brian and a perfect introduction for those who have not yet read him. --Barry Forshaw

Review:

'... 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 Meyers, 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 sympathy that the vessels he describes, a rare achievement save in the greatest of writers of this genre. It deserves the widest readership.' Irish Times

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9780393321074: Blue at the Mizzen (Aubrey/Maturin Series)

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ISBN 10: 039332107X ISBN 13: 9780393321074
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company, 2000
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9780393048445: Blue at the Mizzen: 20 (Aubrey/Maturin Novels)

W. W. ..., 1999
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9780007275632: Blue at the Mizzen

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9780002259590: Blue at the Mizzen

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9780007899845: Xblue at the Mizzen

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Book Description Paperback. Condition: New. ePub edition. Language: English. Brand new Book. For a man of war, peacetime is the ultimate challenge. Leaving behind them a Europe still taking stock after the definitive battle of Waterloo, Jack Aubrey and his friend Stephen Maturin set sail for Chile. But even with the newly minted peace, life at sea remains beset with danger and imminent disaster, and the political turmoil of the South American continent is equal to any threat they have yet faced. Out of loss - of purpose, of love - can the two friends rescue what they most desire? 'Beyond his superbly elegant writing, wit and originality, [O'Brian] showed an understanding of the nature of a floating world at the mercy of the wind and sea which has never been surpassed.'MAX HASTINGS, Evening Standard 'From the opening page I was addicted to what I judge to be one of the greatest cycles of storytelling in the English language.'WILLIAM WALDEGRAVE, Daily Telegraph. Seller Inventory # AAZ9780006513780

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