Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Far Side of The World” as Want to Read:
The Far Side of The World
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

4.43 of 5 stars 4.43  ·  rating details  ·  6,877 ratings  ·  200 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 January 1st 1984)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Far Side of The World, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Far Side of The World

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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,
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
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
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 E. Branch 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
Dan Glover
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
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
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
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Don Maker
The overall story is really good, but I discovered the movie was a compilation of several books from the “Master and Commander” series. That’s fine, but this book did not make it on its own for me.

First, it took too long to get into the actual story, or action. That is typical, as even I (i.e., not a “fast and furious” sort of fan) found the entire novel too slow. There is a lot more droll humor than in the movie version, but there was also a huge amount of technical nautical terminology, which
Richard E.
Series Overview.

I fell in love with the series from the opening scene of Master and Commander, and went on to read all 20 Aubrey-Maturin novels. The characters of Jack Aubrey and Dr. Stephen Maturin were initialized in that opening scene, and grew through the entire series. This is the best historical fiction I have read. In the series, I learned about British, French, Dutch, and Spanish naval operations during the Napoleonic wars. I also first learned of Napoleon's command and espionage structu
Angela Coan
This book was the tenth in the series and not very much like the movie, which is based on the series and bears the same title. Every time I read one of these books I can't "five star" it enough. While I realize that not everyone can appreciate this kind of writing, with its roster of nearly all male characters and an over-abundance of nautical terms, I am of the opinion there is no better writing to be found, especially not in contemporary fiction series. O'Brian is a master at subtle wit, comed ...more
Luciana Darce
A Régis me mandou esse livro como empréstimo, mas demorei um pouco a tirá-lo da estante, até ser tomada por uma onda náutica, quando devorei pelo menos uns quatro livros envolvendo navios, piratas, soldados, capitães da marinha e mares nunca dantes navegados.

Foi começar e não parar mais...

Lembro de quando assisti o filme. Estava no colégio ainda e fui vê-lo no cinema com minha turma de amigos. Naquela época eu já gostava de batalhas e explosões e saí da sessão quase vibrando e pulando de tão emp
Gláucia Renata
O livro faz parte da série "Mestre dos Mares" composta de 20 volumes e o 21º incompleto por conta da morte do autor. Comecei por esse que é o ~décimo volume pois não encontrei os anteriores. Adoro romances sobre aventuras marítimas e esse traz uma dupla de personagens incríveis: o comandante Jack Aubrey, um verdadeiro predador dos mares e seu grande amigo e médico do navio Stephen Maturin, naturalista cujo maior interesse é estudar as belezas naturais de terras remotas e praticamente desconhecid ...more
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.
Todd Stockslager
One of the better of the series, perhaps because, as O'Brian explains in his introduction, he has mined out the history books for dramatic sea stories of the time, so is turning to strictly fictional action for this book.

This time, Aubrey's beloved Surprise, apparently headed for the boneyard, is instead drafted to try to cut off an American war ship before it turns the Cape of Good Horn to prey on English whalers. Through doldrums and storms, he comes up short, which takes the chase into the So
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...
So torn with this book. I REALLY loved the movie, which was full of action and adventure. Unfortunately, the movie was much more interesting than the book, which is a very rare occurrence in my world. The book is part of a long-running series, and spends soooooo much time using nautical terminology and wordy descriptions of life at sea, that it became. slow and dragging. Very little of the movie actually happened in the book, and I found out that the movie was pieced together from different book ...more
This was my first O'Brien, and--alas--it will be my last. The entire novel just seemed like a way for him to go on and on about arcane 1812 shipping terms and procedures. (Are all 20+ of the Aubrey/Maturin novels like this?!) Considering the potential of the subject matter, I couldn't believe how little ACTION there was, just witty repartee and talk, talk talk.
Capt. Aubrey struck me as a very uninteresting chracter. And as an amateur naturailst, I was really offended by the portrayal of Maturin
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Neil Coulter

Ah, to dip into the Aubrey/Maturin story again--the evening musical improvisations, the toasted cheese, the morning pot of coffee from Killick... It's halfway through the series now, and the characters, settings, and plot devices are like comfortable old friends. The Far Side of the World is one of my favorite volumes so far. It's possible that Patrick O'Brian by this point was feeling that the series didn't have much time left--as he points out in his introduction, he is running out of days lef

Sherwood Smith
Another great book in the Aubrey/Maturin roman fleuve.

This one is very much a middle book, mostly ship action, with some excruciatingly funny conversations, and some very, very dark stuff.

Jack and Stephen are back on the Joyful Surprise, chasing all through the seas. In this book, there is not as much of an emotional roller coaster for Jack, as Stephen's situation builds inexorably, trading off with some good ship action, and a very surprising segment with some fierce islander women.

There is a
Two years ago, I started reading Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series after years of prodding by my husband who insisted that the books weren't really war adventures - which I would hate - but were more about the relationships of the men on the ships. Finally succumbing to his persuasion, I found that hubby was right. Again.

In fact, I do like this series very much. I've been reading it now at a rate of about five books a year, more or less, and if I continue on that pace, I should have at lea
Reading The Far Side of the World one more time only serves to remind me of the abomination of a film that director Peter Weir made with this title: "Master and Commander:The Far Side of the World." Not content that he had an opportunity to do homage to one of the greatest series of books ever written, he had to infuse the project with his own gigantic ego and use two titles and forget the stories entirely. That really wasn't the worst part. Casting was the worst. Russell Crowe was not an effect ...more
Joseph Harris Review

Captain Jack Aubrey sets sail for Cape Horn, determined to intercept an American frigate before it can wreak havoc on the British whaling trade. As always, he is accompanied by intelligence operative Stephen Maturin, and as always, Aubrey has no idea of what his companion is up to. Another impeccably written adventure, by the end of which you should be able to identify a mizzen topsail in your sleep.


'...full of the energy that comes from a writer having struck a vein.

The main plot of this book is based on the assignment Captain Jack receives to sail from Gilbralter and intercept the American frigate "Norfolk" which has been attacking and seizing British whalers in the South Pacific. Aubrey is given command of his favorite little ship in the Royal Navy, the "Surprise", a sixth-rate 28-gun frigate with excellent sailing qualities (the rating of Royal Navy sailing ships was based on their size). "Surprise" runs into very rough seas sailing to Brazil, and around ...more
An original - I appreciate the effort but...

Beware all readers who are looking for the literary counterpart to the Russel Crowe movie Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World . While the books share the same title, the same premise (Napoleonic-era British ship HMS Surprise goes after an enemy that is attacking British whalers in the South Pacific) and many, but not all, of the same characters, they are in no way the same story.

Patrick O'Brian's attention to historical detail is almost u
Christopher H.
Wow! This, the tenth, episode in the Aubrey-Maturin series was a nail-biter from the get-go; a real edge-of-the-seat read! A fair bit of the material Peter Weir used in his film adaptation, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World came from this novel.

H.M.S. Surprise, the Surprises, Jack Aubrey, and Stephen Maturin depart Gibraltar on a long voyage to pursue the American frigate Norfolk as it is intent upon harassing and capturing British whaling ships in the southern Atlantic and Pacific
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Flying Colours (Hornblower Saga: Chronological Order, #8)
  • A Sea of Words: A Lexicon and Companion to the Complete Seafaring Tales of Patrick O'Brian
  • Lobscouse and Spotted Dog: Which It's a Gastronomic Companion to the Aubrey/Maturin Novels
  • Seaflower (Kydd Sea Adventures, #3)
  • Stand into Danger (Richard Bolitho, #4)
  • A Battle Won (Charles Hayden, #2)
  • Patrick O'Brian's Navy
  • Ramage & the Freebooters (The Lord Ramage Novels, #3)
  • Sharpe's Enemy (Sharpe, #15)
  • H.M.S. Cockerel (Alan Lewrie, #6)
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)
Master and Commander (Aubrey/Maturin, #1) H.M.S. Surprise (Aubrey/Maturin, #3) The Mauritius Command (Aubrey/Maturin, #4) Post Captain (Aubrey/Maturin, #2) Desolation Island (Aubrey/Maturin, #5)

Share This Book

“That would be locking the horse after the stable door is gone, a very foolish thing to do.” 9 likes
“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.” 5 likes
More quotes…