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The Complete Aubrey/Maturin Novels (Vol. 5 volumes) Hardcover – November 8, 2016

4.3 out of 5 stars 146 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Like John le Carré, [O’Brian] has erased the boundary separating a debased genre from ‘serious’ fiction. O’Brian is a novelist, pure and simple, one of the best we have.” (Mark Horowitz - Los Angeles Times Book Review)

“No writer alive can move one as O’Brian can. . . . He is the master.” (Kevin Myers - Irish Press)

““[O’Brian’s novels] will outlive most of today’s putative literary gems as Sherlock Holmes has outlived Bulwer-Lytton, as Mark Twain has outlived Charles Reade.” (David Mamet - New York Times)

About the Author

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 Testimonies, The 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 Cherrière's memoir Papillon. O'Brian died in January 2000.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 6576 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; SLP edition (October 17, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039306011X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393060119
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (146 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #473,851 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By R L Rodolfo-Sioson on December 23, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ardent fans of Patrick O'Brian know that he is one of the best kept secrets of English literature. His ability to project the complex, at times contradictory inner life of his characters -- and Aubrey and Maturin are certainly among the most fascinating ever to be inked upon paper -- allow this 20-novel cycle to transcend the usual narrow focus of the Traditional Sea Novel. O'Brian is not content with narratives merely devoted to warfare or adventure (although there's plenty to be had here): he also delights in portraying the conventions of English society, the developments in early 19th-century science (through Maturin's incessant experimentation), and various scenes of amateur music-making.

An omnibus edition of the series is a welcome notion, given the shelf space required by 20 volumes (even in paperback)! While I am no connoisseur of typefaces, the font used in re-setting the text is 'cleaner' and more attractive than the one used previously -- which is extremely important if you plan to traverse the 6500-plus pages of the omnibus edition!

But I have a major reservation with Norton's omnibus edition: there is little evidence that the publishers bothered to proofread their newly re-set text. Not only are there the usual, minor misspellings (like 'sorpething' instead of 'something'), but some far more problematic ones -- the kind that leave you with the nagging feeling: "surely O'Brian didn't write that." My favorite (so far) is in Book Two (Post Captain), which describes Canning's "great delighted laugh, a crowing noise that rose from a deep ass..." (see page 738). Checking the text of the previous hardback and paperback edition confirmed that O'Brian referred to Canning's vocal range ("bass"), not his nether regions.
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Format: Hardcover
Norton's compilation of O'Brian's masterly Aubrey/Maturin novels is an affront to every O'Brian fan, every reader or writer of good English, and every publisher of integrity and worth. This set of volumes is a sad example of publishing for profit with no thought to quality.

What passed for galleys were obviously scanned and digitized by a pack of non-caring, barely English-speaking pinchpennies. It is obvious that little or no effort was made to proof pages once the scanners had done their worst, turning words like "home" into "horne" and phrases like "not sail or spar" into "not sailor spar." Almost every page is sprinkled with nonsensical punctuation, the obvious and predictable result of detritus that any self-respecting digitizer would have cleaned from equipment or copy before beginning each scan. Worse, paragraphs are wrongly divided, so that O'Brian's lively dialogue becomes difficult -- at times impossible -- to follow.

In their original form, O'Brian's finely crafted phrases read as if one were hearing a tale spoken aloud by a master storyteller. In Norton's compilation, O'Brian's magic is turned to clunkery at best and gibberish at worst.

O'Brian is a genius. Read his work. But not in this edition. If you know people who work at Norton, teach your dog to lift his leg on their shoes.
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Format: Hardcover
I'll rate this collection at three stars because the story is amazing. The books appear to be well constructed and solid. I'm convinced they will last longer than I will! However, the appalling amount of typographical errors is really annoying! Just about the time I get myself thoroughly transported through time to another world my eye skips over another typo and trips my suspension of disbelief. I've only read through the first two volumes of this set and I can't even begin to count the glaring errors. I certainly hope the publishers will re-issue this set of books after some careful editing.
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Format: Hardcover
I guess the $110 price tag made me assume these would be a finer quality product. The novels themselves are my all-time favorites, but they are more enjoyable in the trade paperback editions or in their previous hardcover format (admittedly more expensive if bought as a set). As mentioned in other reviews, this particular edition suffers from extremely distracting, pervasive editing problems. I honestly believe the computer scanned the works in, and no human ever took a look at it. These are over the top, blatant errors that seem as if they would be caught by any copy editor. In the tradition of another reviewer, here's another cringeworthy editing stumble: from Desolation Island, p. 1829, Mrs. Wogan says "I yearn for fur, a deep, deep bed of fur, and a fur nightgown tool!" Hmm. Additionally, the pages are so thin, you can see the print on the other side of the page. The covers of the books themselves are so flexible; it is almost like reading a paperback. His dedications are not included (I know that's minor, but I'm a big fan!). The physical aspects don't matter anywhere near as much as I resent reading PO'B's words all jumbled together or with commas instead of periods half the time. I like that they're all in one set, but I would rather have paid more to get a nicer edition. Maybe that's their marketing strategy. I hope that they come out with a better edition! This one is destined for eBay.
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