The Far Side of the World (Aubrey/Maturin, #10)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

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

4.41 of 5 stars 4.41  ·  rating details  ·  5,594 ratings  ·  158 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)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
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
14th out of 113 books — 91 voters
Secrets of the Realm by Bev StoutTreasure Island by Robert Louis StevensonMaster and Commander by Patrick O'BrianTwenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules VerneMoby-Dick by Herman Melville
Maritime Classics
10th out of 79 books — 62 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Wealhtheow
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
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...more
Jamie
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...more
Evan
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
Karla (Mossy Love Grotto)
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...more
Kenneth
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Susan
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.
Duncan Mandel
SUMMARY: It is still the War of 1812. Patrick O'Brian takes his hero Jack Aubrey and his tetchy, sardonic friend Stephen Maturin on a voyage as fascinating as anything he has ever written. They set course across the South Atlantic to intercept a powerful American frigate outward bound to play havoc with the British whaling trade. If they do not come up with her before she rounds the Horn, they must follow her into the Great South Sea and as far across the Pacific as she may lead them. It is a co...more
Deb
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...
Pat
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...more
Neil

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

...more
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...more
Dorothy
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...more
Randy
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
Amazon.com 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.

Review

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

...more
Richard
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
Dale
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 un...more
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...more
Nelson
O'Brian's preface to this volume makes it clear that he is aware of the time problem he has run up against, coyly speaking of 1812a and 1812b. Fine by me. Halfway through the series and it shows no signs of letting up. In this volume is god's plenty for sure. Martin and Maturin botanizing from Gibraltar to the Marquesas (with all the comic possibilities that offers), whales, a typhoon, Aubrey and Maturin overboard then taken up by Polynesian Amazons afloat then set down on a tiny island, America...more
Craig a.k.a Meatstack
The tenth in the series, and yet another outstanding by the author...With a couple exceptions, the most profound of these being the ending.

Once Again Sir O'Brian does not feel the need to over elaborate every encounter on the sea, however the ending of this book really deserved a better treatment than it did. Without spoiling, there should have been some form of explanation why things worked out like they did.

Another criticism I have for this episode is how the last act really could have been...more
TrowellingBadger
Unfortunately I had already seen the film version of this particular book by the time I got round to reading it. However, it was pleasing to note quite how far the film-makers had strayed from the plot, so all traces of surprise and suspense were kept almost fully intact. Granted, the film contains elements from several of the books, but some of the major themes were represented in the adaptation. Still, I could not help but compare the book and film as I read, so I apologise if this review turn...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
Diane
I started reading this book on my Kindle while we were on vacation in the Yellowstone area. At night, after the grandkids were in bed, we adults would go into our separate worlds in the quiet night. I was off with Jack Aubrey and Dr. Maturin on the high seas! I fell asleep later than I should have several nights because of it. Though the movie MASTER AND COMMANDER shares some of the exploits written about in the book, the book took me to many more places and showed me many more things. Did you k...more
Gilly McGillicuddy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Siria
Yet another intensely satisfying installment in the series. It's one of the books of the series least capable of standing by itself, both because it is intricately bound up with nine previous books full of characters and events, and because, as with the rest of the Aubrey-Maturin books, it functions much more as a chapter within a longer saga than as an individual novel. The pacing is certainly much different than one would normally expect from a novel; it takes them 200 pages to leave port in o...more
Eleclyah
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ryan Groesbeck
I'd've four-starred this one if it weren't for the abrupt ending which seemed kind of deus-ex-machina not to mention not really providing a lot of closure. Kind of like Desolation Island in that respect, actually. It was nice to see which parts of this made it into the movie and which parts of the movie came from the first book (Master & Commander). On neither of them was the surprise assault that crippled Aubrey's ship off Brazil. This one substituted that for a brutal storm but I can see w...more
Ken-ichi
Yet another pleasant journey across the high seas with Jack and Stephen. This is the book from which the bulk of the movie was drawn, so it was interesting to see what they chose to keep and discard. None of these books are particularly amenable to the cinema, being, as they are, more paeans to a way of living than straightforward adventure stories. The movie managed to be both, which I think is a great credit to the discretion of the director and writers.

This particular book features much talk...more
Al
Another of Mr. O'Brian's staggeringly detailed and historically informed novels of life in the British Navy of the early 19th century. Here, Aubrey and Maturin sail for Cape Horn and the Pacific in pursuit of an American warship preying on British whalers. Through perils too numerous and dire to summarize, let alone detail, they persevere. As always, with a combination of pluck and luck, they live to fight another day. History, zoology, botany, geography, early medicine, navigation, sailing, yo...more
Julia
Fabulous. Just fabulous. These books, chronicling the Napoleonic-era naval adventures of Aubrey & Maturin, are so wonderful, and oh, O'Brian gets me every time with the superdramatic, abrupt ending. They are detailed, funny, erudite, and just gripping. This installment centers on the Surprise pursuing an American warship through the Atlantic, around the tip of South America, and into the Pacific. I am starting to love these characters so much that I might want to see the movie, but we'll see...more
« 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 »
  • A Sea of Words: A Lexicon and Companion to the Complete Seafaring Tales of Patrick O'Brian
  • Flying Colours (Hornblower Saga: Chronological Order, #8)
  • Lobscouse and Spotted Dog: Which It's a Gastronomic Companion to the Aubrey/Maturin Novels
  • A King's Commander (Alan Lewrie, #7)
  • Seaflower (Kydd Sea Adventures, #3)
  • Patrick O'Brian's Navy
  • In Gallant Company (Richard Bolitho, #5)
  • Sharpe's Gold (Sharpe, #9)
  • Under Enemy Colors (Charles Hayden, #1)
  • Ramage & the Drumbeat (The Lord Ramage Novels, #2)
5600
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
More about Patrick O'Brian...
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)

Share This Book

“That would be locking the horse after the stable door is gone, a very foolish thing to do.” 9 likes
“Stephen's heart was big to bursting with the violence of his grief, yet even as he looked distractedly from side to side his mind told him that there was something amiss, the more so as the cheering had now almost entirely died away. The whaler had a huge spread of canvas aboard, far too great a press of sail for her possibly to enter the lagoon: she was tearing along with a great bow-wave and she sped past the mouth of the farther channel. A cable's length beyond the Opening her main and fore topgallantmasts carried clean away, as though brought down by a shot, and she instantly hauled to the wind, striking her colours as she did so. Her pursuer came racing into sight round the southern cape, studdingsails aloft and alow on either side—a dead silence from the motionless Norfolks below—fired a full, prodigal broadside to leeward, lowered down a boat and began to reduce sail, cheering like a ship clean out of her mind with delight.
'She is the Surprise,' said Stephen, and he whispered, 'The joyful Surprise, God and Mary be with her.”
4 likes
More quotes…