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

4.43  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,208 Ratings  ·  208 Reviews
The war of 1812 continues, and Jack Aubrey sets course for Cape Horn on a mission after his own heart: intercepting a powerful American frigate outward bound to play havoc with the British whaling trade. Stephen Maturin has fish of his own to fry in the world of secret intelligence. Disaster in various guises awaits them in the Great South Sea and in the far reaches of the ...more
Paperback, 366 pages
Published April 17th 1992 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published January 1st 1984)
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Courage by Robert    CarterMaster and Commander by Patrick O'BrianPost Captain by Patrick O'BrianH.M.S. Surprise by Patrick O'BrianHornblower and the Hotspur by C.S. Forester
Historical Naval Fiction
12th out of 120 books — 100 voters
Secrets of the Realm by Bev StoutTreasure Island by Robert Louis StevensonTwenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules VerneMoby-Dick by Herman MelvilleMaster and Commander by Patrick O'Brian
Maritime Classics
11th out of 96 books — 78 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jason Koivu
Jul 30, 2015 Jason Koivu rated it really liked it
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,
Nov 02, 2014 Madeline rated it really liked it
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
Mar 20, 2013 Wealhtheow rated it really liked it
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
May 29, 2015 Cherie rated it it was amazing
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 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
Jan 08, 2013 Dan Glover rated it really liked it
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
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
Jan 25, 2011 Evan rated it it was amazing
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
John Collee
Nov 11, 2015 John Collee rated it really liked it
I have a special relationship with this book because together with Peter Weir I wrote the screenplay for it. O'Brian immersed himself in 19th century literature and writes like a 19th century writer of serialised novels - dozens of characters and nary a thought to how the story would end. This one, more than the others, was a single ship journey with a beginning a middle and and end, which is why we chose it.
Theres a very important character in the story, the gunners wife, who as I remember, (Sp
Jun 27, 2015 Anna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kaye Stambaugh
Jan 30, 2016 Kaye Stambaugh rated it really liked it
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.
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.
Don Maker
Jan 28, 2015 Don Maker rated it it was ok
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 Burke
Jan 28, 2015 Richard Burke rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 09, 2015 Angela Coan rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 09, 2014 Luciana Darce rated it really liked it
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
Nov 14, 2014 Gláucia Renata rated it liked it
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
Aug 27, 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.
Todd Stockslager
Jun 09, 2015 Todd Stockslager rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
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
Jul 31, 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...
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
Jan 03, 2016 Diana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is apparently one of a series of books about Patrick O'Brien's protagonist, Capt. Aubrey, and his exploits in the service of the British navy during the early 1800's.

The story starts in Gibraltar where the captain is commissioned to seek out American ships that are preying on British whalers in the Pacific. There ensues an exciting trip around the Horn and the adventures that await him and the crew of the ship HMS Surprise.

An engrossing, action packed story marred only, in my opinion, by e
May 28, 2014 Pat rated it liked it
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
Luis Suarez
Jan 04, 2016 Luis Suarez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Desde mi punto de vista este es el libro que mas compete a la descripcion de la cubierta inferior, la vida de los marineros, incluso mas que en el primer libro donde fueron descritos tanto detalles de la vida en la armada. En este viaje continua la guerra entre Estados Unidos y el Imperio Britanico, se embarca la tripulacion en el ultimo de viaje de servicio de la H.M.S. Surprise: apresar al U.S. Norkfolk, hundirlo o quemarlo. Describe cada uno de los aspectos de los marineros y los suboficiales ...more
Jan 03, 2015 Em rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Neil Coulter
Dec 28, 2014 Neil Coulter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aubrey-maturin

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
Jan 23, 2014 Dorothy rated it really liked it
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
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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 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
“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
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