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Richard Temple
Patrick O'Brian
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Richard Temple

3.13  ·  Rating Details ·  102 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews

The protagonist of this World War II novel is a prisoner of the German army in France. In order to keep himself sane while denying the charges and absorbing the beatings of his captors, Richard Temple conducts a minute examination—one might almost call it a prosecution—of his own life.

Temple escapes from a blighted childhood and his widowed, alcoholic mother thanks to an a

Paperback, 336 pages
Published November 26th 2007 by Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc. (first published 1962)
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(showing 1-30)
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Jason Koivu

Patrick O'Brian's Richard Temple is a nice character study, but the storyline is not engaging enough. Hell, I can hardly remember what the story is about now!

I love O'Brian and think he's a great writer, but this needed to move more. It reminded me Camus's starkness (if I'm recalling correctly, it's been a while) of story, while being terribly English in emotion. Still, the language is beautiful and the characterization fantastic. In no way does this book deter me from wanting to read more of O'
Gilly McGillicuddy
Apr 03, 2008 Gilly McGillicuddy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2008
One of the last Patrick O'Brians left to me.
I think this is the one he wrote when he was living in France, certainly a certain influence from his friendship with Picasso seems to have seeped in, and a hint about his war past, but not much.
With every book I read of his I love him more. What a disturbingly intelligent man he is.
Aug 05, 2013 Anna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, wwii
This novel confounded my expectations. I’ve read and delighted in the former part of the Aubrey & Maturin series, so I rather assumed that this novel would have a similar tone. In fact, it reminded me of a combination of ‘Brideshead Revisited’, ‘The Spy Who Came In From the Cold’, and ‘Down and Out in Paris and London’. Waugh, le Carré, and Orwell, quite a mixture. The novel is structured as a flashback - the eponymous protagonist is a prisoner of war, revisiting his life so far as he recove ...more
Feb 17, 2013 Don rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I struggled to finish this book. It is, fundamentally, about an individual who grows into someone bigger and better than he was; he 'finds himself'. It starts well, and the under-lying idea is a good one but most of the book is about the 'man who used to be' - and that man (like nearly all the other characters) is so unsympathetic that I found myself uninterested in what he did, and cared little about what happened to him. This is not helped by the style of writing in this book: here Patrick O'B ...more
Cole Schoolland
I love O'Brian. This particular novel was somewhere between what I'm used to from him and mingled with Chaim Potok. A very, very fascinating character study about a man who has had to reinvent himself to survive and now, with salvation at hand, is trying to remember. It is an interesting look not only at the man, but also at changing British society from the close of the Edwardian era and the movement into modern times (a common O'Brian theme).
Feb 03, 2012 Thomas rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comedy, literature, 2012
An odd and intriguing book, told almost entirely in flashback as a tortured prisoner in WWII, with freedom near at hand (the war is ending) thinks back along the events that have brought him to this place. Written with slight and bitter humor and stunning powers of observation.
Jan 27, 2016 Cocaine rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
For such an accomplished writer, universally acclaimed and accepted as being the greatest author of historical novels, I found this book a tedious, hard slog; boring at times, dull and slow. Perhaps it is my fault for I thoroughly enjoyed/enjoy his Aubrey-Maturin novels thereby my expectations were high based on those excellent, inspiring fictions.
The premise behind the story is good: an English prisoner of war, locked away in a dark cell, reflects upon his life in stolen moments between beating
I really like Patrick O'Brian's historical fiction series about the British navy (Master and Commander is the first book of the series), so I had high hopes for this unknown title. I found the main character, Richard Temple, to be whiny and unappealing. After the first 5 chapters, I am giving up on this one....
Mary Taitt
Jun 05, 2016 Mary Taitt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I took it out of the library and liked it so much I am going to buy my own copy and reread it. Richard Temple is an artist who becomes a spy who is captured by the Germans. Sitting in the cell, he revisits his life and how he ended up there. Interesting.
Jun 29, 2012 Molly rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was not the romp through the turn-of-the-century La Vie Boheme that I thought it would be (or that the back cover copy led me to believe). In fact, despite good prose and intentions, it was: Just. Plain. Boring.
Steve Hansen
Aug 17, 2016 Steve Hansen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I love Patrick O'Brian. I'm half way through the Jack Aubrey series for the 2nd time but this book, for me, is unreadable. He went on and on about nothing and after 150 pages, I could never understand what or why things were happening.
Jul 21, 2011 HBalikov rated it it was ok
I love his Aubrey / Maturin series but this early work dealing with a man in WW II couldn't induce me to finish it. Having said that, let me add that the opening dealing with how the protagonist works to survive Gestapo torture/interrogation is fascinating.
Jul 31, 2009 HGS rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Not a maritime novel - got stuck on page 30 or so and haven't picked it up again.
Simon Gough
I found it almost unreadable. Far too showy off clever language, and not enough story.
Sep 19, 2011 Mrmandias rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Somewhere between a four and five, but this story of a failed painter, a failed man, and withal a successful Nazi fighter unfolds in the soul like the Holy Ghost.
Sep 06, 2007 Janet rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf

I couldn't get interested in this book because I didn't like the author's writing style.
Feb 26, 2016 Liz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best descriptions I have ever read of what it is to lead the life of an artist. Subtle and thought-provoking.
Steve Russell
Steve Russell rated it liked it
Aug 09, 2014
J. Carroll
J. Carroll rated it really liked it
Sep 22, 2015
Sean Roberts
Sean Roberts rated it really liked it
Sep 25, 2012
Jim rated it liked it
Oct 17, 2008
Alana Brown
Alana Brown rated it did not like it
Mar 27, 2015
Pperkins rated it it was amazing
Feb 02, 2009
Rahul Kumar
Rahul Kumar rated it it was amazing
Sep 24, 2013
David rated it really liked it
Jul 26, 2015
Erin Reilly-Sanders
Erin Reilly-Sanders rated it liked it
Aug 02, 2010
Michael Roseman
Michael Roseman rated it liked it
Aug 24, 2016
Rahul Kumar
Rahul Kumar rated it it was amazing
Sep 24, 2013
Glen rated it it was amazing
Jul 27, 2013
Betty rated it it was ok
Jun 06, 2013
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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
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