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H.M.S. Surprise

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In H.M.S. Surprise, British naval officer Jack Aubrey and surgeon Stephen Maturin face near-death and tumultuous romance in the distant waters ploughed by the ships of the East India Company. Tasked with ferrying a British ambassador to the Sultan of Kampong, they find themselves on a prolonged voyage aboard a Royal Navy frigate en route to the Malay Peninsula. In this new sphere, Aubrey is on the defensive, pitting wits and seamanship against an enemy who enjoys overwhelming local superiority. But somewhere in the Indian Ocean lies the prize that could secure him a marriage to his beloved Sophie and make him rich beyond his wildest dreams: the ships sent by Napoleon to attack the China Fleet.

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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 Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars, O'Brian's twenty-volume series centers on the enduring friendship between naval officer Jack Aubrey and physician (and spy) Stephen Maturin. The Far Side of the World, the tenth book in the series, was adapted into a 2003 film directed by Peter Weir and starring Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany. The film was nominated for ten Oscars, including Best Picture. The books are now available in hardcover, paperback, and e-book format. In addition to the Aubrey-Maturin novels, Patrick O'Brian wrote several books including the novels TestimoniesThe Golden Ocean, and The Unknown Shore, as well as biographies of Joseph Banks and Picasso. He translated many works from French into English, among them the novels and memoirs of Simone de Beauvoir, the first volume of Jean Lacouture's biography of Charles de Gaulle, and famed fugitive Henri Cherriere's memoir Papillon. O'Brian died in January 2000.

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