"Fine stuff...[The Letter of Marque] leaves the devotee of naval fiction eager for sequels." —Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post Book World
Captain Jack Aubrey, a brilliant and experienced officer, has been struck off the list of post-captains for a crime he did not commit. His old friend Stephen Maturin, usually cast as a ship's surgeon to mask his discreet activities on behalf of British Intelligence, has bought for Aubrey his former ship the Surprise to command as a privateer, more politely termed a letter of marque. Together they sail on a desperate mission against the French, which, if successful, may redeem Aubrey from the private hell of his disgrace.
About the Author
One of our greatest contemporary novelists, Patrick O’Brian is the author of the twenty volumes of the best-selling Aubrey/Maturin series, as well as many other books, including Testimonies, The Golden Ocean, The Unknown Shore, and biographies of Joseph Banks and Picasso.
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 - Boston Globe
The Letter of Marque is both serious and light-hearted, true and sentimental, as comic opera can be.
— Peter Campbell - London Review of Books
[Patrick O'Brian has] the power of bringing near to the reader...savagery and tenderness, beauty and mystery and boldness and dignity. — Eudora Welty
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 - New York Times Book Review
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. — Tamar Lewin - New York Times
I devoured Patrick O’Brian’s 20-volume masterpiece as if it had been so many tots of Jamaica grog. — Christopher Hitchens - Slate
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.
— Keith Richards
[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 - New York Times
The Aubrey-Maturin series… far beyond any episodic chronicle, ebbs and flows with the timeless tide of character and the human heart. — Ken Ringle - New York Times
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. — George Will
Gripping and vivid… a whole, solidly living world for the imagination to inhabit. — A. S. Byatt
There is not a writer alive whose work I value over his. — Stephen Becker - Chicago Sun-Times
Patrick O’Brian is unquestionably the Homer of the Napoleonic wars. — James Hamilton-Paterson - New Republic