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

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  1,433 ratings  ·  88 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 January 1st 2004)
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Brent
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
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 3 of 5 stars  ·  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
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.
Marcus
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
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
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
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
Thomas
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
Larry
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
Jonathan
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
Well, I finally finished them, I feel like crying. I love Stephen, I love Jack. Its very hard to say goodbye.
Matthew
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 3 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
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
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
Janet
*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
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
Scott
Really enjoyed the series and the Aubrey/Maturin characters. Reaching the end of a long series like this is akin to saying goodbye to a good friend after a long adventure together, but with the ability to re-visit the series any time you feel like opening a book. Fans will always want to know what happens next, so this last, unfinished book is as good of a place to stop as any, leaving us with an image of Aubrey/Maturin as we've known them. The epilogue by Richard Snow at the end of the book was...more
Scott
This is not even a complete book; just the first two chapters or so. Still a great read, because O'Brian's books are that well written. Two other series that I've read that took place during the same period in history, the Hornblower series (by C.S. Forester) and the Richard Sharp series (by Bernard Cornwell), are both worth reading, but O'Brian's work is a notch (or a few notches) above them when it comes to the quality of the writing, and even the stories to a good extent. I highly recommend t...more
Patrick McFarland
Hard to judge this book as it is unpolished and unfinished. This one is strictly for hardcore fans of the Master and Commander series.
Carrie
Oct 25, 2007 Carrie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: O'Brian fans
I picked this book up after some hesitation, knowing that this was it, really and truly it. But I'm glad I did. It's very rough and only spans three chapters (the book is presented with typescript and handwritten manuscript on facing pages, until the typescript runs out and you're faced with trying to read O'Brian's handwriting...or going to Google to search for a transcript, as I did), but that feeling of being in other places, with O'Brian's so-very-well-developed characters is still there. On...more
Alan
In some ways sad. 3 chapters of an unfinished book with lots of manuscript pages to decipher. Sad because the writing is spectacular as usual. Like looking at videos of great times with old friends who have died. One last rolling broadside, but it is only gun practice. We will all miss Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin. The violin and cello duets with the background creaking of the ships timbers are no more. There are many series of Naval stories in existence, but none that are as rich in characte...more
Craig a.k.a Meatstack
Since this isn't really a story, but yet a fragment of what would have become of the next novel, I really can't rate it higher than the 3 without the stars being for the sentimental reasons only.

As I said at the end of "Blue at the Mizzen" I'm very sad to see this series end. But it's been a fantastic series, and the ending, albeit abrupt, is sort of fitting for the entire series as a whole. We know that life continued on, and these sailors, doctors, and family members just kept right on living....more
Dale
a short but wonderful final farewell to some of the finest written characters in modern literature.
Al
For the Aubrey/Maturin enthusiast only; the 21st A/M book in progress, found on O'Brian's desk when he died suddenly in 2000 at the age of 86. Presented on facing pages in both O'Brian's handwritten manuscript and his own typed version, the 65 pages are a fascinating, if bittersweet, close-up look at the author's creative process. One knows that further editing and narrative additions would have occurred, but still it is amazing to see (literally) how the story just rolls out from his pen. Sad,...more
R. August
A bittersweet ending to a series which has been with me for several years. I appreciated the ending notes which described some of the challenges in O'Biran's personal life and how they did not appear in the text itself, demonstrating a mastery of writing. The assertions about where the book would end would probably have been correct showing that at this stage of series the point of reading the books was no longer about plot but about ambiance, the crafting of language, and ultimately an enjoyabl...more
Chris
This is a final installment, a fragment consisting of only three chapters of a last book, in a 21 novel series on the lives of Jack Aubrey, a Post-Captain in the Royal Navy during the age of fighting sail, and his friend Stephen Maturin, surgeon and spy.

This whole series is tremendous literature -- it stands head and shoulders above the common run of historical fiction. Highest recommendation.

I didn't want to finish this final piece. O'Brian died in 2000, and there will be no 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...more
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