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Publisher's Summary

Best-selling author Patrick O'Brian turns to Commodore Anson's famous 1740 voyage for this rich tale of exploration and adventure. In The Unknown Shore, the inspiration for and immediate precursor to the acclaimed and immensely popular Aubrey/Maturin series, O'Brian's splendid prose and enthralling attention to detail launches listeners, spellbound, into the Age of Discovery.
©1959 Patrick O'Brian; (P)2003 Recorded Books, LLC

Critic Reviews

"Here is an unexpected bonus: a precursor to the Aubrey-Maturin series...with all the charm of the author's mature works." (The New York Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall

As Good as the Series

I came to the end of the Aubrey/Maturin series and felt like I had lost four friends, Jack Aubrey, Steven Maturin, Patrick O'Brian and Patrick Tull. Well, here they are back again. The youthful protagonists of this book, Jack and Tobias, are not quite Aubrey and Maturin, since the book is set in 1740, but one is a midshipman and the other a surgeon's mate, and they bring a fresh, young presence with many of the characteristics of their more well known literary descendents. O'Brian's dry humor and human insight, as well as his knowledge of the Royal Navy (here in Anson's time before the problem of longitude was solved) are already on display, and Tull does a masterful job reading. Highly recommended.

28 of 28 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Kimble
  • Louisville, KY, United States
  • 11-18-10

Portrait of Jack Aubrey as a Young Man

Oddly, I read this book last of the whole Aubrey-Maturin series, including the dictionary and the cook book. I was fortunate. You wonder what makes a man devote the most part of his life to a single set of characters and this book was the germ from which all of that had sprung. You can almost hear O'Brian's brain working, developing, almost growing each character's idiosyncrasies, character, opinions, etc., as he goes along. It was well worth the read. Patrick Tull is the perfect narrator, and added greatly to this whole work.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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One of the best Jack Aubrey stories!

If you could sum up The Unknown Shore in three words, what would they be?

A prequel to the Aubrey - Maturin series, Jack has brought a young friend with him who, although a surgeon's mate, is not Stephen Maturiin, but a young predecessor lacking the many faceted personality and character of Maturin.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Unknown Shore?

Shipwrecked in Patagonia and captured by Indians who lack any humanity, they are starved, frozen, and beaten as they struggle north in hope of a Spanish rescue. The Indians are pre-Christian savages whose only concern is their personal survival in so unforgiving an environment that you wonder why they bother to struggle on..

What about Patrick Tull’s performance did you like?

As usual he was superb!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Dennis
  • FORT PIERCE, FL, United States
  • 04-18-13

Early start for the Aubrey series good book

What made the experience of listening to The Unknown Shore the most enjoyable?

I enjoyed the story line it had some funny parts and drama

What other book might you compare The Unknown Shore to and why?

It was the early start of the Audrey series and Mr O'Brian has a real talent to weave a story to get the reader interested in all the characters

Have you listened to any of Patrick Tull’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Patrick Tull is a true professional and adds his gift to the characters in the story

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Many both on a level of human of enteraction and the qualities of the people involved

Any additional comments?

I am glad I had a chance read the early work and enjoyed it

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Spellbinding.

Would you listen to The Unknown Shore again? Why?

Six or nine times because I hear something new each time and the story is so excellently written and narrated. I love Patrick O'Brian's wordsmithery.

What other book might you compare The Unknown Shore to and why?

Don't know, other than Cold Mountain, it's just one of my favorites.

What about Patrick Tull’s performance did you like?

Virtually everything.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

One really vicious trip through a frozen hell and back again.

Any additional comments?

I'll most likely listen to it again...and again.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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My last Patrick O'Brien

I have read or listened to all O'Brien's sea novels and they are captivating. I am not a sailing person or a navy buff or have any background in life at sea. However, O'Brien is so skilled at depicting everything about a sailing life and developing fascinating characters, that I love everything his writes. The Unknown Shore is a prequel to the Aubrey/Materin novels only in that there are two friends, Jack and Toby, who sail to S. America together. The best parts are the descriptions of the raging waters around the Cape. It's so vivid its like watching a movie. Only a masterful writer can do that. And with Patrick Tull as the masterful narrator, O'Brien's words live. There are some tamer and humorous parts toward the beginning. They're enjoyable and worth listening to, but the real adventure is the sailing along the coast and surviving the Cape. Wow, what an adventure!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Underappreciated Masterpiece

This book is continually described as a sort of practice run for the Aubrey-Maturin series, but it is much more than that. A satirical comedy in the first half, a heartbreaking tragedy in the middle and a deeply satisfying ending show O'Brian at his best.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Sc
  • 01-08-18

Not one of O’Brien’s best

Love Obrien and the Aubrey/Maturin series, but this book falls far short. Clearly this book was the inspiration for the later series

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Neophytic Lucky Jack and Stephen Maturin

I read the entire Aubrey Maturin series start to finish 4 times over the past 15 years. Only now did I get around to the book the started it all. So glad I did!

This was obviously the mold for that series. Every staple plot device and character traits is here. awesome.

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Nautical adventure

A sort of prequel to the Master and Commander series. Great fun for Aubrey/Maturin fans.