A fragile peace with France has come, but for Aubrey and Maturin, the realisation soon dawns that peace can hold as many perils as war. Their time as country gentlemen is cut short when Jack is reduced to penury and forced to flee abroad. Soon war breaks out again and both men find themselves fugitives from Bonaparte’s regime, with Maturin later heading undercover to Spain to test the mood for Catalan independence. Post Captain offers intriguing new insights into the two protagonists: negotiating the threat of capture, battling the enemy and, most dangerously of all, each other.
Read more about the life and work of Patrick O'Brian
In 1991, an article appeared in The New York Times entitled ‘An Author I’d Walk the Plank For’. Like millions of readers around the world, the writer, Richard Snow, had become addicted to Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey–Maturin series. Set against the sprawling canvas of the Napoleonic Wars, O’Brian’s naval adventure novels evoke this period in history like no others. Their success is down to the vim and vigour of O’Brian’s prose, his extraordinary eye for period detail and his ear for language. In Snow’s words: ‘O’Brian summoned up with casual omniscience the workaday magic of a vanished time.’
The partnership between Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin is at the heart of Patrick O’Brian’s masterful series. Beyond the beautifully textured period setting and the thrilling skirmishes and naval battles (many based on real events), the popularity of the novels stems from these two engaging, intriguing protagonists, with Aubrey’s passionate nature providing a marvellous foil for Maturin’s more enigmatic character. Two centuries may separate us from them, but O’Brian creates an utterly compelling portrait of two men and a world at war.