21: The Final Unfinished Voyage of Jack Aubrey (Aubrey-Maturin Series #21)

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Overview

To the delight of millions of Patrick O'Brian fans, here is the final, partial installment of the Aubrey/Maturin series, for the first time in paperback.Blue at the Mizzen (novel #20) ended with Jack Aubrey getting 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. The next novel, unfinished and untitled at the time of the author's death, would have been the chronicle of that mission, and much else besides. The three chapters left...

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21: The Final Unfinished Voyage of Jack Aubrey (Aubrey-Maturin Series #21)

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Overview

To the delight of millions of Patrick O'Brian fans, here is the final, partial installment of the Aubrey/Maturin series, for the first time in paperback.Blue at the Mizzen (novel #20) ended with Jack Aubrey getting 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. The next novel, unfinished and untitled at the time of the author's death, would have been the chronicle of that mission, and much else besides. The three chapters left on O'Brian's desk are presented here both in printed version-including his corrections to the typescript-and a facsimile of his manuscript, which goes several pages beyond the end of the typescript to include a duel between Stephen Maturin and an impertinent officer who is courting his fiancée.
Of course we would rather have had the whole story; instead we have this proof that O'Brian's powers of observation, his humor, and his understanding of his characters were undiminished to the end.

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Editorial Reviews

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. (Oct.) FYI: Norton is simultaneously publishing a five-volume boxed set of all the Aubrey/Maturin novels, which together have sold more than six million copies. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
O'Brian swore that Blue at the Mizzen would be his last book, but after his death in 2000, three chapters of what would have been the 21st novel in his great Aubrey/ Maturin maritime series were found on his desk. The text, which chronicles the voyage of a newly promoted Aubrey from Chile to South Africa, is now published for the first time. On the left-hand page is the typescript, and on the right-hand page is the handwritten portion of the corresponding text, complete with added notes, comments, and corrections. This results in blank pages and fractions of pages of typescript where the handwritten part catches up to the printed part. As such, it provides an interesting look into the workings of one writer's mind. There is also a sweet, elegiac afterword by Richard Snow, the American Heritage magazine editor who was an early champion of O'Brian's work. While useful for literary scholars and O'Brian fans who wish to complete their sets, this volume is meaningless to new readers of the series and therefore of limited value to libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/04; Norton is publishing the complete Aubrey/Maturin series in a five-volume set.-Ed.]-Fred M. Gervat, formerly with Concordia Coll. Lib., Bronxville, NY Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A lovely and welcome oddity: the much-loved author's final fragment, titled simply by its position in the canon. Correctly deciding that it would be impossible if not sacrilegious to hire a writer to complete successfully a work no more than a quarter finished, thereby placing one of the 20th-century's finest prose stylists among the ranks of the undead that populate the thriller and crime shelves in the bookstores, Norton has instead taken the high road and released this tantalizing beginning as O'Brian left it. What his devoted readers will find is a lightly edited printing of the typescript, each page faced by a photocopy of the manuscript page from which it had been transcribed, and then, when the typed pages stopped, the handwritten pages alone. The effect is tantalizing, touching, and powerful. The story takes up with newly minted Admiral Jack Aubrey and his bosom friend and colleague, scholar-spy Dr. Stephen Maturin, rounding Cape Horn on Surprise, headed for the mouth of the River Plate, where Aubrey is to transfer his flag to a new squadron headed for new assignments off the Cape of Good Hope. Days of superbly calm sailing take them to the Argentine republic where, thanks to murderous local political storms, their welcome is cool if not hostile, a situation eased splendidly by the arrival of the Papal Nuncio, a supremely charming African polyglot who is also Aubrey's illegitimate son, the happy result of an ancient liaison. When the squadron at last arrives under the command of the windbaggy peer Lord Leyton, it brings trouble in the form of Maturin's old Trinity classmate Randolph Miller, a scoundrel who is also Lord Leyton's cousin. There is a Confrontation and a duel, and thenall sail for Africa by way of St. Helena. And there the story stops, ending in a superb afterword by Richard Snow. It's all there. The wonderful language. The leisurely pace. The rich detail. There's just no end. Readers will be left to their dreams.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393339338
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/20/2010
  • Series: Aubrey-Maturin Series, #21
  • Pages: 140
  • Sales rank: 135,350
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Patrick O'Brian

Patrick O'Brian's acclaimed Aubrey/Maturin series of historical novels has been described as "a masterpiece" (David Mamet, New York Times), "addictively readable" (Patrick T. Reardon, Chicago Tribune), and "the best historical novels ever written" (Richard Snow, New York Times Book Review), which "should have been on those lists of the greatest novels of the 20th century" (George Will).Set in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars, O'Brian's twenty-volume series centers on the enduring friendship between naval officer Jack Aubrey and physician (and spy) Stephen Maturin. The Far Side of the World, the tenth book in the series, was adapted into a 2003 film directed by Peter Weir and starring Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany. The film was nominated for ten Oscars, including Best Picture. The books are now available in hardcover, paperback, and e-book format.In addition to the Aubrey/Maturin novels, Patrick O'Brian wrote several books including the novels Testimonies, The Golden Ocean, and The Unknown Shore, as well as biographies of Joseph Banks and Picasso. He translated many works from French into English, among them the novels and memoirs of Simone de Beauvoir, the first volume of Jean Lacouture's biography of Charles de Gaulle, and famed fugitive Henri Cherrière's memoir Papillon. O'Brian died in January 2000.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Richard Patrick Russ
    1. Date of Birth:
      December 12, 1914
    2. Place of Birth:
      Chalfont St. Peter, Buckinghamshire
    1. Date of Death:
      January 2, 2000
    2. Place of Death:
      Dublin, Ireland

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