Master and Commander is the first of Patrick O’Brian’s now famous Aubrey-Maturin novels, regarded by many as the greatest series of historical novels ever written.
The novel establishes the friendship between Captain Jack Aubrey RN and Stephen Maturin, who becomes his secretive ship’s surgeon and an intelligence agent. It displays the qualities which have put O’Brian far ahead of any of his competitors: his depiction of the detail of life aboard an early 19th century man-of-war, of weapons, food, conversation and ambience, of the landscape and of the sea. The 2003 Peter Weir film Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, starring Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany, although not faithfully reproducing the plot of the books, does use some of the characters, dialogue and events from the Aubrey–Maturin series.
Patrick O’Brian’s 1970 novel was longlisted for the Lost Man Booker Prize, in 2010.
About the AuthorPatrick O’Brian is best known for the Aubrey–Maturin series of novels, acclaimed by Richard Snow in The New York Times as ‘the best historical novels ever written’.