O'BRIAN, Patrick

(1914 - 2000)
"Do not seek to discover more about me. Just accept the stories for what they are."

Patrick O’Brian was born Richard Patrick Russ in 1914, but changed his name by deed poll in July 1945, when he completely reinvented himself as a reclusive Irish novelist leaving behind a failed marriage, a deserted family, the death of his daughter and a scandalous affair with a Russian Countess.  After WWII he moved to southern France and began to write, publishing short stories, translations and children’s fiction.  In 1967 he was contacted by the US publisher, Lippincott, who wanted to find a fictional naval hero in the mould of Forester’s Hornblower .  Accordingly O’Brian created one of the most successful seafaring partnerships in Captain Jack Aubrey and Doctor Stephen Maturin, who made their first appearance in Master and Commander in 1969, published in the UK the following year by Collins. Over the following thirty years O’Brian wrote a total of 20 novels following the adventures of Aubrey and Maturin during the Napoleonic wars. He continued writing throughout his life, the first three chapters for a twenty-first book in the series were left unfinished when he died in 2000, but were printed in late 2004.   The novels are remarkable for their attention to detail and precise terminology, and were once described by an enthusiastic editor as “the best historical novels ever written”.

He was awarded the inaugural Heywood Hill Literary Prize in 1995 for his lifetime’s writings, and gained a CBE in 1997.

Please scroll down to see our current holdings of O'Brian first editions.


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 Patrick O'BRIAN

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