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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Far Side of the World by Patrick O'Brian

An original - I appreciate the effort but...

Beware all readers who are looking for the literary counterpart to the Russel Crowe movie Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. While the books share the same title, the same premise (Napoleonic-era British ship HMS Surprise goes after an enemy that is attacking British whalers in the South Pacific) and many, but not all, of the same characters, they are in no way the same story.

Patrick O'Brian's attention to historical detail is almost unparalleled in historical fiction. He even extends this to his writing style. He writes in a style similar to the style that was used in the 1800s. To me, reading this book was akin to reading a Dickens novel or Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin. The words and phrases were often archaic and I found that I had to re-read passages from time to time. While some may appreciate this unique trait of the series, I found it distracting and, at times, discouraging.

So, in summary, great historical detail but the writing style gets in the way.

I rate this book 3 stars out of 5.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: Far Side of the World by Patrick O'Brian.

Reviewed on March 16, 2006.

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