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The Final Unfinished Voyage of Jack Aubrey (Aubrey & Maturin #21)

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,935 Ratings  ·  110 Reviews
In response to the interest of millions of O'Brian fans, here is the final, partial installment of the Aubrey/Maturin series--the proposed follow-up to Blue at the Mizzen. These are the three chapters left on O'Brian's desk at the time of his death, now available in an authorized audio edition by the author's estate. Unabridged. 3 CDs.
Audio CD, Abridged, 0 pages
Published January 31st 2008 by Recorded Books (first published 2004)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Michael
This 65-page fragment of a novel is only rewarding to fans of the series who want to say goodbye to one of the greatest fictional friendships in literature. We get to experience one last time the special bonds between British naval commander Jack Aubrey and his ship's doctor Stephen Maturin, who is also a naturalist and intelligence agent. In many ways, the last novel "Blue at the Mizzen" was a fitting end to the 20-volume series. Napolean Bonaparte has been defeated and to avoid retirement, Ste ...more
Karla
Impossible to rate this fairly since it ends mid-sentence in Chapter 3, and I don't know if O'Brian ever left any notes as to his plot ideas. Who knows what Jack and Stephen would have gotten up to. So I'll hazard a 3 for what was written. It was a solid start, as all of the Aubrey books have been.

The last couple books had been disappointing in how the plot and pace spun out, but this one started out strong IMO, with some more glimpses into Jack and Stephen's domestic life. It is probably too mu
...more
Brent
Apr 20, 2008 Brent rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, I started this series last July. It has been enjoyable to read and I feel a sense of loss that I can't follow Jack and Stephen on any more adventures. More than the adventures, which were tame compared to many other books, the pleasant language and craftsmanship of the books are what made for a great experience. Patrick O'brien's wit and prose out strip any contemporary author I have read. It rivals the greats like Victor Hugo and even outstrips many since it was written in english and not ...more
Susan
May 28, 2015 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, jack-aubrey, 2015
Sad day. I've now read all the Aubrey/Maturin stories for the first time. In a way I wish I could forget all of them so I can read and experience the joy of finding a new author to savor.

Anyway, this partial book really wasn't a story as it is incomplete but still gave glimpses into the domestic relations both Stephen and Jack have. It also shows their subtle sense of humor when interacting with one another.

No big sea battle here, but more a one last quiet look into the world they are surrounde
...more
Sophist Berg
One day I'll be able to read this. Perhaps when I no longer cry at the end of Blue At The Mizzen. So... never.
Siria
Consisting of just three chapters, a preliminary long-hand sketch of what would surely have been another wonderful novel, there is still much to savour in 21. Here are Jack and Stephen back with us again, and though we don't know where their voyage would have taken them in this book, we see them being happy—both of them with their families, Stephen with his dissections and his spy work, Jack with his admiral's flag.

The book reproduces both O'Brian's partial typescript, and his long-hand manuscr
...more
Christian
May 07, 2008 Christian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of nautical, historical, Napoleonic, 19th c, & speculative fiction
For Aubrey/Maturin series fanatics only, and yet... I just re-read the entire 20-book series from start to finish for what must be at least the fourth time and this time I wanted to peer into the unfinished final volume (even though the ending of Blue at the Mizzen was in many ways a perfect ending to the series, with Jack finally ordered to hoist his broad pennant and ascend to flag rank, his life's ambition).

The secondary benefit of seeing facsimiles of the author's handwritten drafts, cross-o
...more
Marcus
Feb 04, 2008 Marcus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A shame that it couldn't be completed, but I think it's a fitting end. Our last glimpse of Aubrey and Maturin, preparing for another voyage, and then...? That the rest will have to be filled in by our imaginations is as it should be. I'd rather imagine that their voyages continue on and on. Being unfinished, "21" is rather short. The fact that it's O'Brian's typescript and manuscripts, without the benefit of his editor, is noticeable, but not distracting. There are a few elements in there that I ...more
EJD Dignan
Repeated from review of Book 1

That Patrick O'Brian chose to place his characters on the sea in the not so distant past just raised the hurdle I had to leap to get to know this wonderful author.

I had never been enamored with sea stories, didn't much care for European history, and yet was wonderfully taken with this series. The sea is a major character, but history is not greatly illuminated, almost a backdrop to the specific circumstance the characters find themselves in. Which perhaps reflects t
...more
Travis
Apr 06, 2010 Travis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an incomplete version of O'Brian's last Aubrey/Maturin novel, which he was writing when he died. The book contains two full chapters, with O'Brian's own typescript on one page and a facsimile of his manuscript on the facing page. There are reproduced manuscript pages for part of the third chapter as well, but as O'Brian's scrawl is almost indecipherable, it makes for very difficult reading. The book would have been greatly improved with a printed version of the final manuscript pages, re ...more
Larry
May 20, 2014 Larry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I couldn’t recommend this book to anyone who hasn’t read the prior 20 installments in this magnificent series. It’s only three chapters. If, however, like me, you have read them all, it’s a mandatory read – albeit a sad parting. (I have owned the book for over a year, and just now found a quiet time in my life to read these final pages.) I feel as if I am saying goodbye to lifelong friends – Admiral Jack Aubrey (he finally made the rank!) and his friend, physician Stephen Maturin.

With the first
...more
Bookmarks Magazine

The pages of O'Brian's 21st Aubrey novel will leave readers hungry for more. Not surprisingly, 21 neither stands alone as a novel nor serves as a concise conclusion to the series. Instead, it sketches out the details of the start of another Aubrey mission. The bulk of the chapters offers set-pieces describing gunnery practice, grog, deck-swabbing, a hernia operation, and a reunion with Papal Nuncio Samuel Mputa. The pages also contain O'Brian's trademark humor and eagle-eyed observations, if cut

...more
John
Jun 13, 2011 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the last book in the series. Honestly, I feel that the author should have found a way to end the series one or two books earlier. This book was never finished because at the age of 85, the author passed away.

As a whole, the series was really good. The characters were likable, and the storyline was good. Towards the end of the series, it seemed the author had lost interest in some of the characters and either killed them or dropped them from the series with no explanation. At the same ti
...more
Corto
Aug 03, 2015 Corto rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I shouldn't give this 5 Stars...but what the hell! Not a complete novel, but I like it because POB loved these characters and this blue world so much, wrote unto his death! Fair winds and following seas, Sir!
Todd Stockslager
Jun 09, 2015 Todd Stockslager rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The perfect ending to the series, left unfinished when O'Brian died at age 85, shortly after the death of his wife. 21 is 21st in the series, and O'Brian never gave it a title. Now-Admiral Aubrey takes over his flag-ship and his small (but as Maturin learned, don't tell HIM that, unless he says it first) squadron, Surprise is sent home for repairs and refitting, and Mrs Aubrey and children, Brigid and Mrs. Wood, and Padeen are brought to the ship to sail with Aubrey.

When the story ends there, it
...more
Thomas
Mar 11, 2014 Thomas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read every book in this series in a glorious stretch around the end of the last year. All but this one. This is not a new pattern in my media consumption, I held off watching the 5th season of The Wire for a long time for the same reason.

It's childish I guess, but it feels like, no matter how good it is, when you get to the end of something, especially when that something is several thousand pages of nautical adventure, it feels dimished somehow. That what felt impossibly huge around the midd
...more
Jonathan
Mar 22, 2010 Jonathan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Warning, for fans of the Aubrey/Maturin series: this book is quite an anticlimax and would best be avoided by all but the most curious to read the final unfinished, sparsely edited frame of a story. Book 20 is a fine conclusion to an amazing series--leave it there.
Nate
Jan 29, 2013 Nate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, I finally finished them, I feel like crying. I love Stephen, I love Jack. Its very hard to say goodbye.
Neil Coulter
Dec 28, 2014 Neil Coulter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I knew that 21 is only a fragment of O'Brian's early working through the next Aubrey/Maturin story--and I could see from the appearance of the book itself that it is quite short--and so my expectations were set quite low. I looked for it to be only a last souvenir of a series that I have loved. It is all that, of course. But I was surprised at just how much substance O'Brian set down on paper before his death ended the series forever. Like the completed volumes that end the series, there is much

...more
Matthew
Jan 17, 2012 Matthew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How do you rate an unfinished book as amazing? Well it is more of a judgement on the whole series. Growing to know and love the characters of this book, and O'Brian's amazing story telling ability while keeping with the facts from Naval records is pure enjoyment. He gave me a real appreciation for a subject I knew next to nothing about. Each character was going through the usual ups and downs of life just like the rest of us. Trying to fit in when necessary, being yourself when need be, showing ...more
Joe
Oct 01, 2011 Joe rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: O'Brian completists.
This is not a novel, but an unfinished fragment. When Patrick O'Brian passed away in 2000 he left behind the beginnings of his 21st Jack Aubrey/Stephen Maturin novel: a typescript of roughly the first three chapters, and handwritten draft that runs on a bit longer. Both are published here exact;y as O'Brian left them, in a format that places each typescript page on the left with its corepsonding handwritten page to the right. Where the typescript ends the handwritten pages continue alone.

As a ra
...more
Nelson
Jan 04, 2012 Nelson rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A shame this volume couldn't have been completed. Aubrey gets and enjoys his flag, yet, as ever, complications ensue. He is rear admiral to something of a bastard--plenty of incipient conflict there. Maturin's liaison with Christine Wood seems to be growing closer to an understanding, though the appearance of a snappish, dueling ass of an army captain (a frequent visitor to the Aubreys when Christine was in residence there) along with the fleet admiral suggests all kinds of interesting complicat ...more
Trin
Jun 03, 2007 Trin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I hesitated for more than a year, trying to decide if I actually wanted to read this last, unfinished Aubrey/Maturin book. In part, this is because books left unfinished by authors who have died make me sad just inherently, and it's also because I so liked how the 20th book, Blue at the Mizzen, ended. But eventually I cracked, as I knew I would, and I'm pleased to report that I'm very, very glad I did. The book is unfinished, true—there's less than three chapters here—but in that small space, t ...more
Bill
In 1999 I was loaned Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brien, Book 1 in the Aubrey-Maturin series. I was hooked immediately, but halfway through the series my progress was halted by the limits of my friends' set, my uni student budget and an uncooperative library. Years later, my daughters began buying the series for me in ones and twos for birthdays, Father's Days and Christmas'. Now, after 16 years, I have finally finished all 21 instalments! It remains my favourite series of novels, and I can ...more
Don
Feb 08, 2015 Don rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stories, ships
If you want to read this only as a continuation of the Aubrey-Maturin stories, I wouldn't bother: there is too little of it, and it lacks the polish of the other books. But then it is basically just a largely un-edited fragment.

Do read it, however, if you want to read every last word that O'Brian wrote about his heroes - or if you have any interest at all in O'Brian's writing process. You may need a magnifying lens to read the facsimile pages, in O'Brian's elegant but not-very-legible handwritin
...more
Hettie Lynch
Very disappointing, as the facsimile of the manuscript is illegible.

While the inclusion of the facsimile is interesting, it is not legible.
Had the manuscript been typeset, perhaps in italic script to differentiate it from the part that O'Brian had typed up, the reader would be able to access the whole of what had been written.
The decision not to render the text legible is incomprehensible.
Earl McGill
As noted in my review of Master and Commander, I came late to the Aubrey/Maturin novels, starting out with #3 in the series,H.M.S. Surprise. Once I'd finished the first three novels in the series I immediately ordered and read the remaining 17. Alas, I was so sad that the series had come to an end, I didn't order the Final Unfinished Voyage. Eventually, I read it in eBook (Kindle) format and was pleased that the style and fixtures were still in place. I was, however, disappointed that it really ...more
James Milholen
Jan 25, 2015 James Milholen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Where to begin, what to say? I started the Aubrey/Maturin series in Nov 2013, and now here I end it in Jan 2015. The three beautifully represented chapter's in "21" simply wet the appetite for more that shall never come. I wonder what would have happened to Jack and Stephen, had this one last book been completed. A short read, but an enjoyable bit of insight.
Janet
Oct 19, 2011 Janet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
*tears*

I started the first book in this series in January, and determined to read through them all by the end of the year. (Could have read them all in a much shorter time, of course, but I wanted to draw it out, and make the experience last as long as possible. But, now its over, and I'm not ready...

This last entry in a wonderful series is only three chapters. Less, really, as O'Brian stopped mid-sentence, and died without finishing it. Still, he left us with all our beloved friends seemingly h
...more
Aron Wagner
Aug 19, 2012 Aron Wagner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I audioed this one the last time I read it, in hopes that it would venture past the bits that have been translated from O'Brian's beautiful-but-somewhat-indecipherable scrawl into typing. These first three chapters are lovely and flavored with the typical Aubrey/Maturin humor. However, I really wanted the reader to journey into the notes and sketchy paragraphs that the printed version of this book leaves up to the reader to decode. Sadly, it did not. It ended the audio just in midsentence where ...more
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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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Other Books in the Series

Aubrey & Maturin (1 - 10 of 21 books)
  • Master and Commander (Aubrey/Maturin, #1)
  • Post Captain (Aubrey/Maturin, #2)
  • H.M.S. Surprise (Aubrey/Maturin, #3)
  • The Mauritius Command (Aubrey/Maturin, #4)
  • Desolation Island (Aubrey/Maturin, #5)
  • The Fortune of War (Aubrey/Maturin, #6)
  • The Surgeon's Mate (Aubrey/Maturin, #7)
  • The Ionian Mission (Aubrey/Maturin, #8)
  • Treason's Harbour (Aubrey/Maturin #9)
  • The Far Side of the World (Aubrey/Maturin, #10)

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