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To the Ends of the Earth

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  308 ratings  ·  34 reviews
To the Ends of the Earth, William Golding's classic sea trilogy, tells the extraordinary story of a warship's troubled journey to Australia in the early 1800s. Told through the pages of Edmund Talbot's journal - with equal measures of wit and disdain - it records the mounting tensions and growing misfortunes aboard the ancient ship. An instant maritime classic, and one of ...more
Paperback, Film Tie-In Edition, 784 pages
Published June 2005 by Faber & Faber (first published 1991)
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4.08  · 
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 ·  308 ratings  ·  34 reviews

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I found this book among my Dad's things. He always loved books by Pope and Reeman but they had never really interested me. For some reason this one caught my eye and I decided to give it a read. I was really thankful I came from a family with some naval and sea going background because a lot of nautical and sailing references are used. Once you get past that you find a mostly intriguing but sometimes boring tale of a young man's trip to Australia on a British warship. This really showed how long ...more
Aug 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Started watching the BBC mini series of this book, starring Benedict Cumberbatch (who also plays Sherlock in recent Masterpiece)... discovered it was based on this Golding novel. I'm a big fan of Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series, and I look forward to another seafaring tale.
Mar 25, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 09, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british
I'll try to avoid seafaring analogies and especially puns. I promise there'll be no "characters walking a plank of sociopolitical behaviour" or such pirate verbiage. But these three novels do descend the gangplank without sea legs (Okay, sorry) like so many films and their sequels. Rites of Passage gets 3 stars, Close Quarters 2, Fire Down Below 2.

The first is a believably-narrated account of Talbot's influence or lack thereof on the different social classes with him in the ship. As usual for G
May 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okay--I've only actually read Rites of Passage, which is the first book of this trilogy, and which won the Booker Prize in 1980. Its pastiche of a late-eighteenth century colonial administrator's voice is excellent, and conveys character very skillfully, but the structure of the book has its problems. It's hard to tell what the point of the narrative is: Colley's downfall, yes, but the book carries on for a while after his fate is sealed. Why it does this is unclear. Moreover, the root of Colley ...more
Jun 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites, nautical
4.5 stars!

Very, very good. (Have added it to my favorites). I refrained from giving it 5 because there were the odd pieces that seemed unnecessary. Also I enjoyed reading the "Tarpaulin" language but at times it was difficult to follow bits and pieces and to know exactly what was being said. It adds to the feel of the story but made for not easy reading at times.

Forget the protagonist! . . . I found myself loving First Lieutenant Charles Summers! - what a fabulous man. He really shone i
Jan 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Edmund Talbolt's narration gives an intense feeling of his journey and his attitude towards the passengers and the crew. His journey throughout the books show how he mature.

It was an excellent narration through the character's eyes though there were times I got lost through the story which I must go back to understand. Nevertheless I enjoyed it much.
Jul 22, 2008 rated it liked it
A lovely tale of seafaring in the 19th century from the literary great, William Golding. Great vocabulary builder - there were a number of words that I had never come across! His use of traditional nautical slang (tarpaulin) made for very interesting reading.
I just love nautical adventures and, when coupled with beautiful writing and profound commentary, they are a real treasure. William Golding is superb.
Paul Heather
mm.. ok, but have but for adventure on the seas I have been spoilt by reading O' Brian!
Na Deela
This book has been quite the rollercoaster ride. When I started, I wasn't sure I'd make it through to the end, having to stop every so often to look up a word I didn't know or try to translate the Greek, Latin, & French spoken throughout. It was also difficult to see things in my head in a clear picture knowing NOTHING about boats/ships, but I persevered and finished the book today. The end wrapped up in such a pretty package that I almost forgot the moments of total aggravation I experience ...more
Howard Corneli
Jun 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a great trilogy. I gave it 4 stars to suggest it's great, but it isn't a masterpiece. It's not as strong or single-minded as Golding's "Pincher Martin" or of course "Lord of the Flies." It's a good sea story, but Patrick O'Brien fans will miss the smell of slowmatch drifting through a seething gundeck. It's a nice tale of coming of age, and unexpectedly so, but this may be commingled confusingly for Americans with a tale of the collisions of English class, intellect, and human decency. E ...more
Alice Doherty
Sep 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Quite a lengthy read but the novel is packed full of action and drama. You can really feel how cramped the passengers feel on the almost a year voyage to Australia.
Vicky Tazzyman
Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the few books I’ve read in my life that I really didn’t want to end.
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-read-2019
Having read the 3 part series before, I can only apologize for rereading it now that it has been issued as a collection. Golding has included some corrections, most very minor but two rather large errors, in the Forward pages. Even tho it is truly historical fiction, it follows Cooks' real circumnavigation quite accurately. Good enough to read two times!

Have completed the first segment, Rites of Passage, I find the writing something of a challenge since my skills in choosing a good way of expres
Jan 05, 2017 added it
Shelves: did-not-read
chose not to read so did not give rating...
P.D.R. Lindsay
Jul 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literary

'Rites of Passage', the first novel of this trilogy, won the Booker Prize, and Golding is also a Nobel Literature prize winner, a master of language, using words to create, in these three books, the enclosed world that is a sailing ship heading for Australia.

'Rites of Passage', the first novel, centres round the tragic story of Reverend Colley, and it is tragic, a shocking episode that is typical Golding. But here his narrator, Edmund Talbot, is that rare thing, a comic Golding character, who i
Levent Mollamustafaoglu
I had really liked William Golding's famous first novel "Lord of the Flies" when I read it in high school many years ago. Although a bit intense for 16 year old kids, it was a novel which looked into the darkness in human soul and investigated how human beings (in this case school boys) could revert to violence and primitive instincts when they were in a desperate situation.

To the Ends of the Earth is a collection of Golding's Sea novels. It tells the story of a young Brit (Talbot) who is travel
Feb 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
The story was excellent, although the writing seemed to drag-on after awhile. Surely, there were riviting parts of this book, and surely the length of it was meant to display the length of such a sea voyage, but after awhile I didn't want to be pulled into the boredom of the ship. Also, the main character's learned seaman's language made it hard to follow what was going on the entire time. I almost feel as though it would have been better to have him ignorant to sea-language, so that everything ...more
Aug 31, 2013 rated it liked it
I confess, I watched the TV miniseries version before I read the books. But that's Benedict Cumberbatch's fault. Anyway, I liked the miniseries ok, but got the feeling from it I might like the books better. And I did, despite the fact that I'm not a huge fan of William Golding (another confession). All the elements and themes that make "Lord of the Flies" a school classic are present in To The Ends of The Earth, only better.
Feb 24, 2011 rated it liked it
The story itself was a great read, but in some areas it did tend to drag as I found myself skipping pages, without losing the flow of the storyline. I never thought I would be reading such a book, but to expand my horizons I need to get out of my comfort reading zone. I enjoyed Part 2 Close Quarters the most. Towards the end I was starting to find the main character infuriating.
Smiley (aka umberto)
A tough reading due to its unfamiliar technical words related the the ships, the art and science of ship commanding, the rough seas, etc. as narrated by Edmund Talbot whose adventures have proved his marine knowledge and skills; moreover, his sincerity and valor have awarded him such romantic love in which various episodes suggest his determination.
Apr 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Superb, although for me Rites Of Passage was by far the best. Close Quarters and Fire Down Below were good, certainly, but perhaps not quite up to the same standard as Rites. Overall though, the trilogy immerses the reader in a believable, living world of adventure on the high seas. Worth reading at least once.
Feb 07, 2011 rated it liked it
A lot less engaging and concise than Golding's classic Lord of the Flies, this book is epic, but wordy and sometimes kind of hard to drag through. I did read it simultaneously to other books, so that may be part of the reason it felt so long and arduous, but overall, it was a decent read, but not too much of a page turner.
Jul 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You would think that three books about a single sea voyage would be terminally boring. The genuis of Golding proves that it is quite the opposite. For those of you who have never been to sea (and never will), this is a fantastic set of books to take you there.
Christian Schwoerke
Sep 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Close Quarters was the weakest of the three.

Earns itself a 4 on dint of its breadth, covering three novels, each with a slightly different first-person narrative tact, reflecting callow Edmond Talbot's growth.
Feb 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit-british, have
I enjoyed this trilogy a lot. I had completely lost track of Golding since Lord of the Flies decades previously. It took me a while to realize that the books were written by the same fellow. I should probably find something else by him to try.
I didn't even make it through the first story in this trilogy. The main character seemed like such a jerk.
Aug 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This epic saga of a sea voyage in the early 19th century is engaging, poetic, and philosophical. It is a truly satisfying read, and I loved it.
Monique Van hest
Feb 07, 2015 rated it did not like it
Just not my cup of tea.
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Sir William Gerald Golding was a British novelist, poet, and playwright best known for his 1954 novel Lord of the Flies. Golding spent two years in Oxford focusing on sciences; however, he changed his educational emphasis to English literature, especially Anglo-Saxon.

During World War II, he was part of the Royal Navy which he left five years later. His bellic experience strongly influenced his fut