Sunday, 14 December 2008

Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian

I just finished this for perhaps the fourth or fifth time.

This is the first book in the greatest collection of stories in the english language.

The main characters are the most realistic and fully human in any fiction I have come across. I seriously think that Aubrey and Maturin would have delighted Dickens.

I laughed and cried again this time.

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If the historical or warfare themes are putting you off then just give the first one a try.

You will soon appreciate that the detailed historical backdrops and exquisitely full flavour of the period are simply added bonuses as you peer inside our characters heads and see bits of yourself laid bare.

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You will find yourself evangelising about these books with such phrases as, "Which it is one to wipe any other authors' eye."

You might find yourself, as I did, engaged in conversation about the books by a guard on a train back from London this week. We exchanged a meaningful glance to acknowledge our jointly privileged view of the human condition.

You might find yourself re-reading the books every couple of years and finding out new things about yourself each time when you do.

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Anyway - there is not a moment to be lost - go read them for all love.

4.5 out of 5 stars.

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