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The Far Side of The World (Aubrey & Maturin #10)

4.44  ·  Rating Details ·  8,287 Ratings  ·  254 Reviews
The dogged transatlantic pursuit of an elusive American quarry intent on destroying British whaling interests sees Jack and Stephen beset by obstacles from St Elmo's fire to the shark-infested waters of the South Pacific, to say nothing of murder and criminal insanity. With their prize ever tantalizingly on the edge of the horizon, the two friends arrive at last amongst th ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published 2007 by Harper Collins (first published 1984)
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Jason Koivu
In case you ever wanted to know what it feels like without actually doing it, here is a book that moves with the slow satisfaction of a sailboat journey around the world.

The flow of language will at times rock you asleep and other times you will be buffeted about by a crash of words mightily massed and moving perpetually forward.

But mostly The Far Side of the World is a book for those who are already embroiled in the saga of Jack and Stephen, two unlikely friends bound together in a noble cause,
Aug 31, 2016 Algernon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016

Come all you thoughtless
young men, a warning
take by me
And never leave your
happy homes to sail the
raging sea.

Episode number ten bring about a change of tack in the long journey of Captain Jack Aubrey and his friend, Doctor Stephen Maturin. It is time to sail away from the crowded and treacherous waters of the Mediterranean, from the cat-and-mouse games with French spies and frombureaucratic entanglements. "H.M.S. Surprise" is sent on a solitary mission to the far side of the world, there to g
Nov 02, 2014 Madeline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historic-fiction
It's always nice to revisit Aubrey and Maturin. I've only read a couple books from this series, and I never feel any serious need to find more installments, but I always enjoy them when I do. And this is one of the best ones - not only because it's pretty similar to the movie version and picking out what they changed/didn't change for the adaptation is a fun game, but also for other reasons, which I will now list:

-Plots! So many plots. Almost too many plots.

This book is just over four hundred pa
May 02, 2017 Darwin8u rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
“Martin was a thoroughly amiable man, a man of wide reading, but when he came to write he mounted upon a pair of stilts, unusually lofty stilts, and staggered along at a most ungracious pace, with an occasional awkward lurch into colloquialism, giving a strikingly false impression of himself.”
― Patrick O'Brian, The Far Side of the World


'The Far Side of the World' is driven by a fairly simple plot. It is a chase, a hunt, a sea race from Gibraltar, down around Cape Horn into the Pacific. The Surp
Dec 29, 2012 Wealhtheow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
Captain Aubrey of the British Royal Navy is sent to the South Seas to prevent the American frigate Norfolk from harassing English whalers. It's an excellent book all around, but there are moments of pure perfection in it. The prim parson Martin shows Maturin the letter he wants to woo his lady-love with, it's horrifyingly bad, Maturin tries to tell him so as gently as possible, and Martin completely refuses to hear it. Or at one point Maturin falls out of the cabin window while Aubrey is talking ...more
Renee M
May 12, 2013 Renee M rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Call me Ishmael! I think of this one as "Jack and Stephen Meet Moby Dick." They spend the first half of the book chasing an American frigate through whaling waters, gathering information from those they come across much the way Melville handled the bulk of his Great American Novel. Of course, that's not all. There's a tragic affair, impotence, murder, suicide, men overboard, cannibals, shipwreck ... Culminating in a final chapter that's as suspenseful as any sea battle. God, I love these books!
Mar 11, 2015 Cherie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: series, read-audio
Not a lot of war or spying stuff going on for the most parts, just a lot of going about the seas, my favorite parts! Jack and Stephen lost at sea and Stephen on the verge of having his head operated on. The Surprise to the rescue and - the end. IS the war over?

As always, a stellar reading by Simon Vance.

John Jr.
No women are major characters in this volume of Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin’s adventures during the War of 1812, but women are central to parts of the action, even though the story takes place entirely on and around the frigate H.M.S. Surprise, which Aubrey commands. Needless to say, naval practices were different 200 years ago. Along with two women, the Surprise is carrying a cat belonging to the bosun, a goat named Aspasia to provide milk, and a handful of other animals taken along as food ...more
Jamie Collins
This is the book that provides the largest chunk of plot for the movie, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. Jack Aubrey and the crew of the Surprise pursue their enemy around stormy Cape Horn, and naturalist Stephen Maturin is furious at being denied the opportunity to spend time on the amazing Galapagos Islands. During the journey there is drama on board concerning an unlucky “old” Midshipman who is considered a Jonah by the superstitious crew.

The plot of the book differs, of cours
Dan Glover
Jan 08, 2013 Dan Glover rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Like all of the Aubrey/Maturin series that I have thus far read, this was great. This book contained much more of the sailor's superstitions than the other books and there was a more serious falling out between Jack and Stephen than in previous volumes as well, adding some further depth to their relationship. Overall, really enjoyed it.

In the volume I have there is an essay on Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin novels by Charlton Heston. Of course it is an admirer's perspective but it is a good e
Jan 19, 2011 Evan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book that calls for a breakdown in the rating. There are aspects of it that probably deserve a three at best. The plot itself isn't actually all that compelling: the story simply plods along from one adventure or crisis to the next, framed by the overarching back-cover-synopsis plot (which occupies remarkably little of the book). The characters are memorable, but I can't think of a single one that really develops during the story. But what brings the overall rating up to five stars is ...more
Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin series is one of my favourites of all time. Despite initially not having much of a clue what the many, different sailing terms meant, somewhere in the first instalment I fell hook, line and sinker for the characters – particularly for the delightfully grumpy Stephen Maturin – and since then, whenever times have got tough and I need a pick-me-up, I treat myself to a little holiday in their company. As O’Brian is deceased and the series numbers twenty books, I’ve b ...more
Jun 13, 2017 Leigh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tbr-june-2017
I have never read a book so dissimilar in plot line from the movie and yet both are very good, it's weird.
May 10, 2017 Patrick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'The Far Side of the World' by Patrick O’Brian shares a name with the subtitle of the movie, but apart from that, the two don’t have a great deal in common. The film by Peter Weir made a pretty good attempt at putting those books on screen, and it was entertaining piece of cinema in its own right, but it lacked a certain something. The script was actually a collage of incidents drawn from all the books; from 'The Far Side of the World' the film borrows the voyage to the Galapagos islands, and on ...more
Gilly McGillicuddy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 21, 2015 Anna rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, sailing
This must be one of my favourite instalments of the Aubrey and Maturin series. It contains a good many exciting pursuits, terrible storms, unfortunate misadventures, amusing puns, appealing creatures, even some frightening and sad moments. The whole book concerns one very long voyage to the South Pacific and thus there is a lot more in the way of ship shenanigans than spy happenings. As usual, I laughed out loud many times, for example at Jack misquoting "Lead on, Macbeth," only for a crewman na ...more
It was impossible to listen to this book and not think of the film the entire time. I was actually surprised by how much the movie adhered to it, although it was more in terms of themes and glimpses, rather than sticking to the actual plot. The plot as a whole was the same (chasing a ship around the Horn), but so much of the ancillary details had been altered.

The character of Hollom was another of these "same, but different" elements - in the film, he is a wholly sympathetic character but in the
Jul 29, 2009 Kenneth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kaye Stambaugh
Jan 27, 2016 Kaye Stambaugh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm reading (in the case, listening) to this series in order, and The Far Side of the World is action-packed and full of twists and turns. There is a little of everything thrown into this novel making it incredibly entertaining and sometimes thought provoking. I had no problem rooting for the HMS Surprise over the American Frigate Norfolk and found Simon Vance's American accent amusing. I'm finding this the perfect series for audio books.
Aug 19, 2012 Susan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, 2012
I didn't enjoy this book as much as some others. There was way too much talk about bugs, animals and vegetation for me. And I would have been much happier if the description about how to cut up a whale was skipped (much like Jack Aubrey). There weren't any huge dramas at sea but instead there was alot of talk, talk, talk.

I'm afraid while listening to this I was comparing it to the movie in my head. Perhaps this was why I was disappointed.

I hope the next one is a bit better.
I had a hard time separating the movie, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World from the book. I adore the movie. Even reading the previous 9 volumes made me aware that a lot of the movie lines and plot came from the previous novels, I was not expecting how little similarity the book and movie had with each other. I suspect that I would've enjoyed this more if I didn't have such a love for the movie.
Jul 21, 2013 Deb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
These books only get better, deeper relationships, far distant missions, beautifully evocative language.

The piéce de résistance however is Jack's rescue of Stephen as he falls out the stern windows while collecting specimens, and their encounter with a ship crewed by Polynesian amazons! Endless surprises...
Judith Johnson
Sep 06, 2013 Judith Johnson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once again, this book is full of all the usual good things that make Patrick O'Brian so beloved by his followers. Definitely my Desert Island pick for the complete works of!
Jul 12, 2014 ShiraHE rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent social commentary well-couched, with very well distinguished voices.
Jan 16, 2014 Hil rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
10/10, would recommend to any flotillas of lesbian cannibals out there, thank god Stephen didn't get trepanned.
Really? A little less talk and a lot more action.
John Chiafos
Aug 20, 2016 John Chiafos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nine tenths of a great Aubrey/Maturin novel. Wasn't a fan of the ending. However, it's still one of my faves in this series.
Oct 01, 2007 Randy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Audiobook version

I cannot recommend these books strongly enough. Read them in order.
May 06, 2017 Grond rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It seems likely to me that anyone in the present who is finding their way to Patrick O'Brian's 'Far Side of the World' for the first time has to deal with cognitive dissonance that is inevitable in the venture given the existence of the masterful film by Peter Weir that borrows the name.

As you read you eventually come to terms with the fact that the names lifted from the book are the closest points of connection. The plot is wildly different, other than in a few broad brush strokes, and it almos
Mar 22, 2017 Terri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: listened-to
It is this book that most closely resembles the movie Master and Commander because it contains the story of Aubrey & Maturin's voyage around the horn of South America. Aubrey is sent to cut off the voyage of the America Norfolk which plans to wreak havoc with British whalers in the South Pacific. They are unsuccessful in catching up with the Americans before the Horn and have to follow them into the South Pacific. In the process, Stephen almost dies twice. These two events become the driving ...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 about Patrick O'Brian...

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 Reverse of the Medal (Aubrey/Maturin Book, #11)

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“That would be locking the horse after the stable door is gone, a very foolish thing to do.” 10 likes
“Come all you thoughtless young men,
a warning take by me
And never leave your happy homes
to sail the raging sea.”
More quotes…