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Caesar: The Life Story of a Panda-Leopard
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Caesar: The Life Story of a Panda-Leopard

3.47  ·  Rating details ·  83 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
A stark tale encompassing the cruelty and beauty of the natural world, and a clear demonstration of the storytelling gift that would later flower in the Aubrey/Maturin series. When he was fourteen years old and beset by chronic ill health, Patrick O'Brian began creating his first fictional character. "I did it in my bedroom, and a little when I should have been doing my ho ...more
ebook, 94 pages
Published April 17th 2001 by W. W. Norton Company (first published 1930)
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Bottom line first: It is hard to recommend this to anyone not a Patrick O’Brian fan. While he wrote it as a child there is much in the way of animals fighting, killing and eating each other. Reading it helps to emphasize that even as a very young writer one of his skills was in the telling stories of things remote from his, or the reader’s life making the details seem very authentic. But it is not a good choice for the young and may not have enough depth for a reader not a fan of the author.

Barbara Martin
Jul 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Patrick O'Brian, (12 December 1914 – 2 January 2000; born as Richard Patrick Russ) was an English novelist and translator, best known for his Aubrey–Maturin series of novels set in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars and centered on the friendship of English Naval Captain Jack Aubrey and the Irish–Catalan physician Stephen Maturin.

This is Patrick O’Brian’s first novel written at the age of 12 and with the help of his father published three years later in 1930. Then, after being long out of
Dec 31, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Since Patrick O’Brien spent a lot of time in every sailing novel in recounting the naturalistic explorations of Maturin, it shouldn’t be a surprise that his first novel (written while a sick teenager) features a story told from the perspective of a wild animal. Caesar is the story of a “panda-leopard.” The creature himself, offspring of a panda and a snow leopard, is impossible, but the narrative itself features a reasonably accurate idea of a wild leopard mix from pup to sire. In between, reade ...more
Jun 04, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, english-lit
I feel weird critiquing this, as it's something O'Brian wrote when he was 12 and which was first published, under his birth name (Richard Patrick Russ), when he was 15. Because, wow, for a 12-year-old it's remarkably good—already you can see the smooth beauty of his prose. It's also, for a story with an animal (specifically, a panda-leopard—more on that in a minute) as its protagonist and narrator, refreshingly unsentimental and even quite brutal—Caesar's mother and siblings are quickly dispatch ...more
This was great for taking my mind off of the business-end of writing and honing back down on how it's supposed to be fun. An adventure story written by a fourteen-year-old starring a protag who is half-panda and half-leopard is perfect for that. I could object that Caesar's feeding habits are pretty much entirely leopard-influenced without much input from the panda side, but what would be the point?

Anyway, this is deeper than it has any right to be, and the ending is quite moving. In Caesar's la
Martin did one of his first book reports on this book. It may have been the first works of fiction he ever read all the way through, Written by O'Brian when he was quite young 12 or 13? it is a good book of some length for boys who don't go for the typical fantasy adventure or sci fi story. The elements that make it readable are all employed in O'Brian's later books -conflict, adventure, sacrifice, relationships that change and grown and allow characters to influence one another. The imagined wo ...more
Jun 22, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
This story is really engaging, with a good dose of realism thrown in.
Patrick O'Brian wrote this when he was 12, purposely to entertain himself. At that age, he's already a keen observer of the nature. The places seem real; every action comes naturally, never out of place. For example, since Caesar is a wild animal, of course he would be violent and savage, and O'Brian made sure of that.
Gilly McGillicuddy
Written by PO'B when he was fourteen. It's strangely pleasantly written for so young a boy. Boyish and juvenile and a bit flaunting with his knowledge but very nicely written. I'm not at all surprised he grew up to be the person he eventually became.
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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
More about Patrick O'Brian...

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