The golden ocean

by Patrick O'Brian

Hardcover, 1994





New York : Norton, 1994.


In the year 1740, Commodore (later Admiral) George Anson embarked on a voyage that would become one of the most famous exploits in British naval history. Sailing through poorly charted waters, Anson and his men encountered disaster, disease, and astonishing success. They circumnavigated the globe and seized a nearly incalcuable sum of Spanish gold and silver, but only one of the five ships survived.This is the background to the first novel Patrick O'Brian ever wrote about the sea, a precursor to the acclaimed Aubrey/Maturin series that shares the excitement and rich humor of those books. The protagonist is Peter Palafox, son of a poor Irish parson, who signs on as a midshipman, never before having seen a ship. Together with his lifelong friend Sean, Peter sets out to seek his fortune, embarking upon a journey of danger, disappointment, foreign lands, and excitement.Here is a tale certain to please not only admirers of O'Brian's work but also any reader with an adventurous soul."In the present case the names were provided for me, together with the whole sequence of events, just as they were for Homer, Virgil, and many others....I was fortunate enough to have great material, and I wrote the book in about six weeks (or was it less?), laughing most of the time."--Patrick O'Brian on the writing of The Golden Ocean… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member baumgarten
The Golden Ocean is a good book in its own right, separate from the Aubrey/Maturin canon. It is not as mature as O'Brian's later writing, and it lacks the subtle humor pervasive in his other work. Some of the trademarks are still there, though - the literary (and Latin) references, the Irish characters, and the pair of friends. He uses the device of skipping segments of time, and then backfilling what happened as you might remember it, incomplete and skipping around. Unfortunately, he has not mastered the art in this work, and it is clumsier and less artful than in his later works. Altogether, it is still a fine novel, even to someone who has not read O'Brian before.… (more)
LibraryThing member adzebill
In 1956 O'Brian had hit on his style; a thicket of language and nautical terms, immersion in to the worldview of the 18th century, Irish characters, and humour, although none of it is quite as refined as the later volumes. This is a one-off jaunt that doesn't have characters of the same richness as Aubrey and Maturin, but is very reminiscent of, and feels like a long-lost prequel.… (more)
LibraryThing member untraveller
My first PO’B book and probably my last. Story was okay, pace was okay, adventure and excitement were okay. Nothing more or less, just very average. I want more from a book.
LibraryThing member Unreachableshelf
In this meandering book, O'Brian shows off his talent for creating characters that it is a pleasure to follow on their travels. His Irish characters' dialogue is particularly enjoyable.




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