Desolation Island (Aubrey-Maturin Series #5)

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Overview

"The relationship [between Aubrey and Maturin]...is about the best thing afloat....For Conradian power of description and sheer excitement there is nothing in naval fiction to beat the stern chase as the outgunned Leopard staggers through mountain waves in icy latitudes to escape the Dutch seventy-four."—Stephen Vaughan, Observer
Commissioned to rescue Governor Bligh of Bounty fame, Captain Jack Aubrey and his friend and surgeon Stephen Maturin sail the Leopard to Australia with a hold full of convicts. Among ...

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Desolation Island (Aubrey-Maturin Series #5)

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Overview

"The relationship [between Aubrey and Maturin]...is about the best thing afloat....For Conradian power of description and sheer excitement there is nothing in naval fiction to beat the stern chase as the outgunned Leopard staggers through mountain waves in icy latitudes to escape the Dutch seventy-four."—Stephen Vaughan, Observer
Commissioned to rescue Governor Bligh of Bounty fame, Captain Jack Aubrey and his friend and surgeon Stephen Maturin sail the Leopard to Australia with a hold full of convicts. Among them is a beautiful and dangerous spy—and a treacherous disease that decimates the crew. With a Dutch man-of-war to windward, the undermanned, outgunned Leopard sails for her life into the freezing waters of the Antarctic, where, in mountain seas, the Dutchman closes...

Commissioned to rescue Governor Bligh of Bounty fame, Captain Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin sail the Leopard to Australia with a hold full of convicts.

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Editorial Reviews

A. S. Byatt
“Gripping and vivid… a whole, solidly living world for the imagination to inhabit.”
New York Times
[O’Brian’s] Aubrey-Maturin series, 20 novels of the Royal Navy in the Napoleonic Wars, is a masterpiece. It will outlive most of today’s putative literary gems as Sherlock Holmes has outlived Bulwer-Lytton, as Mark Twain has outlived Charles Reade.— David Mamet
Washington Post
The Aubrey-Maturin series… far beyond any episodic chronicle, ebbs and flows with the timeless tide of character and the human heart.— Ken Ringle
Chicago Sun-Times
There is not a writer alive whose work I value over his.— Stephen Becker
New Republic
Patrick O’Brian is unquestionably the Homer of the Napoleonic wars.
The Guardian
Good history, fascinating erudition, espionage, romance, fever in the hold, a wreck in lost latitudes, and an action at sea that for sheer descriptive power can match anything in sea fiction.— Christopher Wordsworth
Boston Globe
I haven’t read novels [in the past ten years] except for all of the Patrick O’Brian series. It was, unfortunately, like tripping on heroin. I started on those books and couldn’t stop.— E. O. Wilson
New York Times Book Review
The best historical novels ever written... On every page Mr. O’Brian reminds us with subtle artistry of the most important of all historical lessons: that times change but people don’t, that the griefs and follies and victories of the men and women who were here before us are in fact the maps of our own lives.— Richard Snow
Slate
I devoured Patrick O’Brian’s 20-volume masterpiece as if it had been so many tots of Jamaica grog.— Christopher Hitchens
George Will
“O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin volumes actually constitute a single 6,443-page novel, one that should have been on those lists of the greatest novels of the 20th century.”
Christopher Wordsworth - The Guardian
“Good history, fascinating erudition, espionage, romance, fever in the hold, a wreck in lost latitudes, and an action at sea that for sheer descriptive power can match anything in sea fiction.”
Robert Massie
“I have been enthralled since reading Master and Commander. Now, having just finished Desolation Island, I find myself curiously anxious to slow down. True, nine volumes await me, but what I have read is so rich and splendid that I need to ponder and digest.”
Richard Snow - New York Times Book Review
“The best historical novels ever written... On every page Mr. O’Brian reminds us with subtle artistry of the most important of all historical lessons: that times change but people don’t, that the griefs and follies and victories of the men and women who were here before us are in fact the maps of our own lives.”
Christopher Hitchens - Slate
“I devoured Patrick O’Brian’s 20-volume masterpiece as if it had been so many tots of Jamaica grog.”
James Hamilton-Paterson - New Republic
“Patrick O’Brian is unquestionably the Homer of the Napoleonic wars.”
Keith Richards
“I fell in love with his writing straightaway, at first with Master and Commander. It wasn’t primarily the Nelson and Napoleonic period, more the human relationships. …And of course having characters isolated in the middle of the goddamn sea gives more scope. …It’s about friendship, camaraderie. Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin always remind me a bit of Mick and me.”
Tamar Lewin - New York Times
“It has been something of a shock to find myself—an inveterate reader of girl books—obsessed with Patrick O’Brian’s Napoleonic-era historical novels... What keeps me hooked are the evolving relationships between Jack and Stephen and the women they love.”
David Mamet - New York Times
“[O’Brian’s] Aubrey-Maturin series, 20 novels of the Royal Navy in the Napoleonic Wars, is a masterpiece. It will outlive most of today’s putative literary gems as Sherlock Holmes has outlived Bulwer-Lytton, as Mark Twain has outlived Charles Reade.”
Ken Ringle - Washington Post
“The Aubrey-Maturin series… far beyond any episodic chronicle, ebbs and flows with the timeless tide of character and the human heart.”
Stephen Becker - Chicago Sun-Times
“There is not a writer alive whose work I value over his.”
E. O. Wilson - Boston Globe
“I haven’t read novels [in the past ten years] except for all of the Patrick O’Brian series. It was, unfortunately, like tripping on heroin. I started on those books and couldn’t stop.”
Stephen Vaughan - Observer
“The relationship [between Aubrey and Maturin]...is about the best thing afloat....For Conradian power of description and sheer excitement there is nothing in naval fiction to beat the stern chase as the outgunned Leopard staggers through mountain waves in icy latitudes to escape the Dutch seventy-four.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393308129
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/28/1991
  • Series: Aubrey-Maturin Series, #5
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 153,743
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.70 (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

Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 14 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 15, 2012

    If you love the Aubrey/Maturin series, this one excels!

    Patrick O'Brian outdoes himself in this sequential naval novel of Captain Jack Aubrey and Dr. Steven Maturin. I started reading this series randomly. Then reread them sequentially. Historically and geographically accurate as well as imaginative and exciting fiction. This one really gets the adrenalin flowing... Can't put it down.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 29, 2015

    Another Great Read in the Aubrey-Maturin Series

    I own and have read at least twice the entire Aubrey-Maturin series of books in hard-bound editions. However, the collection was essential for my Nook, as well, so I'm enjoying them once again. Desolation Island is a particularly memorable book in the series. The description of the chase through the "Roaring Forties" by the much larger, heavier Dutch ship is thrilling in every respect. As always, Obrian's writing is superlative. I believe that most of his readers are male; however, as a female in my sixties, I cannot think of a writer whose books I would rather read, especially those about Captain Aubrey and Stephen Maturin. I highly, highly recommend.

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