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The Patrick O'Brian Frequently Asked Questions List

Last updated May 2004.

1. Will Norton publish the unfinished twenty-first book?

The answer is finally yes! W. W. Norton will publish 21: The Unfinished Twenty-First Novel in the Aubrey/Maturin Series in October 2004.

2. Can I purchase the Aubrey/Maturin series as a set?
The series is currently available in a uniform edition set of 20 hardcover volumes (ISBN 0-393-04840-3); ask your local bookstore to special order this, or click on this link to order online.

In October 2004, Norton will publish The Complete Aubrey/Maturin Novels boxed set of all 20 complete books, plus the text of 21, in five uniform volumes, boxed (ISBN 0-393-06011-X). This set will be available for order online later in summer 2004, or pre-order at your local bookstore.

3. What's all this about a Patrick O'Brian movie?
The official Master and Commander movie site
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, the much-lauded motion picture starring Russell Crowe, opened in the United States on November 14, 2003. It is now available on DVD. Visit the official movie website
4. How do I subscribe to the Patrick O'Brian Newsletter?
The print newsletter has not been published since 1996. Back issues of the newsletter are available here on Norton's web site.

5. Where do I write with questions about Patrick O'Brian?
If you have a question or comment send it to:

Department SRL
W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
500 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10110

6. How do I subscribe to the Patrick O'Brian mailing list on the Internet?
The Patrick O'Brian mailing list (a.k.a. the Gunroom) has changed ownership and is no longer maintained by Norton. See the Gunroom's new web site, HMS Surprise.org, for instructions on how to subscribe, as well as more Patrick O'Brian information and links.

7. How do I order Patrick O'Brian books?
Please refer to our Ordering page.

8. Where can I get prints of Geoff Hunt's cover artwork?
Geoff Hunt's Patrick O'Brian cover prints are now available through the Mystic Seaport Museum Maritime Art Shop.

If you would like further information about Geoff Hunt prints and artwork, please contact his agent:

Christine Isteed
Artist Partners Ltd
14-18 Ham Yard
Great Windmill Street
London W1V 8DE

9. I don't understand all of the nautical terms used. What reference books can you recommend for background reading?
The following is a list of books that people have found helpful for background reading on the age of Aubrey and Maturin: Patrick O'Brian's Men-of-War contains descriptions and illustrations of life in Nelson's Navy. Heart of Oak by James P. McGuane is a thorough photographic essay of the world of the Royal Navy during the age of Napoleon, inspired by O'Brian's works. Also helpful is Anthony Price's The Eyes of the Fleet, which is both a historical and descriptive account of frigates in the age of fighting sail. Unfortunately, this book is out of print, but any bookstore that features searches for out of print titles will gladly hunt this down for you.

You may also wish to consult the lists of Useful Terms originally published in the Patrick O'Brian newsletter.

10. When will the Patrick O'Brian companion volume be available?
Publication of the official companion volume was originally scheduled for fall 2000. Sadly, the author passed away before the project was completed. A new author has been found and we expect publication in the future but a specific publication date has not been scheduled. The book will be quite extensive, containing many definitions, illustrations, maps, descriptions, historical entries, recipes, and more. Beware of imitations!

11. What are the books in series order?
  1. Master and Commander
  2. Post Captain
  3. H. M. S. Surprise
  4. The Mauritius Command
  5. Desolation Island
  6. The Fortune of War
  7. The Surgeons Mate
  8. The Ionian Mission
  9. Treason's Harbour
  10. The Far Side of the World
  11. The Reverse of the Medal
  12. The Letter of Marque
  13. The Thirteen Gun Salute
  14. The Nutmeg of Consolation
  15. The Truelove
  16. The Wine-Dark Sea
  17. The Commodore
  18. The Yellow Admiral
  19. The Hundred Days
  20. Blue at the Mizzen
  21. 21

12. I purchased Blue at the Mizzen in hardcover, but it doesn't match my uniform hardcover set. Can I get a uniform series jacket for this book?
We do have uniform series jackets available for all of the Aubrey/Maturin hardcovers, including Blue at the Mizzen. Call our warehouse (800-233-4830; ask for customer service) and ask to be sent the new jacket if you'd like to replace the original one.

13. What is Clarissa Oakes? Is that another Aubrey/Maturin novel?
Clarissa Oakes was the British title of The Truelove. Except for the title, the British and American editions are identical.

14. How do I get copies of Patrick O'Brian's other books that are not part of the Aubrey/Maturin series?
The Last Pool, The Walker, Lying in the Sun, and The Chian Wine were the titles of short story collections now out of print; we have condensed Mr. O'Brian's short story work into our own collection, The Rendezvous and Other Short Stories.

Other O'Brian books currently available from Norton are Picasso, Testimonies, The Golden Ocean, The Unknown Shore, Men-of-War, Caesar, and Hussein.

Richard Temple and A Book of Voyages are not available in the United States, and Norton has no current plans to publish them. The Catalans is tentatively scheduled for US publication by Norton but no publication date has been set (don't expect to see it before 2005). Joseph Banks has been reissued in paperback by the University of Chicago Press.

15. How do you pronounce "Maturin"?
The accent is on the first syllable, with the "a" pronounced like the "a" in "apple."

16. Will there be any more Patrick O'Brian calendars?
We have no plans to publish any more editions of the Patrick O'Brian Calendar.

17. Where can I get information about those recordings of music from the Aubrey/Maturin books?
Ess.A.Y. Recordings has put out three CDs of music mentioned in the Aubrey/Maturin books: Musical Evenings with the Captain (liner notes by Patrick O'Brian), Musical Evenings with the Captain, Volume 2, and Roast Beef of Old England. You can order through their toll free number (800-97-ESSAY) or via the Ess.A.Y. Recordings Web site.
18. What's a polychrest?
See the "What's a Polychrest" page!

Gibbons Burke's guide to Patrick O'Brian web resources

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