Captain Jack Aubrey sets sail for the South China Sea with a new lease on life. Following his dismissal from the Royal Navy (a false accusation), he has earned reinstatement through his daring exploits as a privateer, brilliantly chronicled in The Letter of Marque. Now he is to shepherd Stephen Maturin-his friend, ship's surgeon, and sometimes intelligence agent-on a diplomatic mission to prevent links between Bonaparte and the Malay princes which would put English merchant shipping at risk. The journey of the Diane encompasses a great and satisfying diversity of adventures. Maturin climbs the Thousand Steps of the sacred crater of the orangutans; a killer typhoon catches Aubrey and his crew trying to work the Diane off a reef; and in the barbaric court of Pulo Prabang a classic duel of intelligence agents unfolds: the French envoys, well entrenched in the Sultan's good graces, against the savage cunning of Stephen Maturin.
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 Cherriere's memoir Papillon. O'Brian died in January 2000.