Margaret's Reviews > The Unknown Shore

The Unknown Shore by Patrick O'Brian
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's review
Dec 09, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: historical-fiction, nautical-fiction, authors-op
Read in January, 2010 , read count: 1

Like The Golden Ocean, The Unknown Shore is based on Commodore Anson's circumnavigation of the globe in the 1740s. Midshipman Jack Byron and surgeon's mate Tobias Barrow are aboard the Wager, which is separated from the rest of its squadron and shipwrecked off the coast of Chile. I really liked the first half of the book; Jack and Toby are clearly studies for Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin, and O'Brian's humor, descriptive powers, and nautical knowledge are all as excellent as usual. The second half, after the shipwreck, I wasn't so fond of, as the travails they go through were hard to slog through, and the descriptions of the native South American hard to stomach (even keeping in mind that this would have been how the English sailors would have seen them). It's more than worth reading as a companion to The Golden Ocean and a precursor to the Aubrey-Maturin books, though.

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