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Caesar: The Life Story of a Panda-Leopard
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Caesar: The Life Story of a Panda-Leopard

3.41 of 5 stars 3.41  ·  rating details  ·  64 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Acclaimed as the work of a "boy Thoreau," this brief, charming story of a mythical animal was published in 1930 when Patrick O'Brian, who went on to write the celebrated Aubrey/Maturin series of historical sea novels, was just 15. With its detached, authoritative narrative voice, Caesar: The Life Story of a Panda-Leopard reads more like a novel for young adults than a book ...more
ebook, 94 pages
Published April 17th 2001 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1930)
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Since Patrick O’Brien spent a lot of time in every sailing novel in recounting the naturalistic explorations of Maturin, it shouldn’t be a surprise that his first novel (written while a sick teenager) features a story told from the perspective of a wild animal. Caesar is the story of a “panda-leopard.” The creature himself, offspring of a panda and a snow leopard, is impossible, but the narrative itself features a reasonably accurate idea of a wild leopard mix from pup to sire. In between, reade ...more
Barbara Martin
Patrick O'Brian, (12 December 1914 – 2 January 2000; born as Richard Patrick Russ) was an English novelist and translator, best known for his Aubrey–Maturin series of novels set in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars and centered on the friendship of English Naval Captain Jack Aubrey and the Irish–Catalan physician Stephen Maturin.

This is Patrick O’Brian’s first novel written at the age of 12 and with the help of his father published three years later in 1930. Then, after being long out of
I feel weird critiquing this, as it's something O'Brian wrote when he was 12 and which was first published, under his birth name (Richard Patrick Russ), when he was 15. Because, wow, for a 12-year-old it's remarkably good—already you can see the smooth beauty of his prose. It's also, for a story with an animal (specifically, a panda-leopard—more on that in a minute) as its protagonist and narrator, refreshingly unsentimental and even quite brutal—Caesar's mother and siblings are quickly dispatch ...more
This was great for taking my mind off of the business-end of writing and honing back down on how it's supposed to be fun. An adventure story written by a fourteen-year-old starring a protag who is half-panda and half-leopard is perfect for that. I could object that Caesar's feeding habits are pretty much entirely leopard-influenced without much input from the panda side, but what would be the point?

Anyway, this is deeper than it has any right to be, and the ending is quite moving. In Caesar's la
Martin did one of his first book reports on this book. It may have been the first works of fiction he ever read all the way through, Written by O'Brian when he was quite young 12 or 13? it is a good book of some length for boys who don't go for the typical fantasy adventure or sci fi story. The elements that make it readable are all employed in O'Brian's later books -conflict, adventure, sacrifice, relationships that change and grown and allow characters to influence one another. The imagined wo ...more
This story is really engaging, with a good dose of realism thrown in.
Patrick O'Brian wrote this when he was 12, purposely to entertain himself. At that age, he's already a keen observer of the nature. The places seem real; every action comes naturally, never out of place. For example, since Caesar is a wild animal, of course he would be violent and savage, and O'Brian made sure of that.
Gilly McGillicuddy
Written by PO'B when he was fourteen. It's strangely pleasantly written for so young a boy. Boyish and juvenile and a bit flaunting with his knowledge but very nicely written. I'm not at all surprised he grew up to be the person he eventually became.
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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 about Patrick O'Brian...
Master and Commander (Aubrey/Maturin, #1) H.M.S. Surprise (Aubrey/Maturin, #3) Post Captain (Aubrey/Maturin, #2) The Mauritius Command (Aubrey/Maturin, #4) Desolation Island (Aubrey/Maturin, #5)

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