By Patrick O'Brian

To the pride of thousands of Patrick O'Brian lovers, here's the ultimate, partial installment of the Aubrey/Maturin sequence, for the 1st time in paperback.Blue on the Mizzen (novel #20) ended with Jack Aubrey getting the inside track, in Chile, of his elevation to flag rank: Rear Admiral of the Blue Squadron, with orders to sail to the South Africa station. the subsequent novel, unfinished and untitled on the time of the author's loss of life, could were the chronicle of that undertaking, and lots more and plenty else along with. the 3 chapters left on O'Brian's table are offered the following either in revealed version-including his corrections to the typescript-and a facsimile of his manuscript, which matches a number of pages past the tip of the typescript to incorporate a duel among Stephen Maturin and an impertinent officer who's dating his fianc?e. after all we'd fairly have had the total tale; in its place we now have this evidence that O'Brian's powers of commentary, his humor, and his realizing of his characters have been undiminished to the top.

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Additional resources for 21: The Final Unfinished Voyage of Jack Aubrey (Vol. Book 21) (Aubrey Maturin Novels)

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I have called you out so far from shore b e c a u s e there are two ques­ tions I should like to settle. T h e first is supplies. W e are very low in everything t o b a c c o is quite gone - and all the way down my pursers, agents and so on have had the utmost difficulty with the locals, even in ports where we have always been wel­ c o m e d and entertained. Difficulties about water, difficulties about cattle . . even about shore-leave and c o m m o n supplies - no bumboats coming off, no whores.

To be sure, it did lack something o f the family atmosphere that had hovered in the frigate's great cabin, with every guest and servant aware of the relationship and wholly in favour o f the young parson's seamanlike ways, to say nothing of his willing­ ness to drink his wine. Here the connexion, though not unnoticed, was m u c h less obvious, J a c k being seated, not indeed below the salt, but very m u c h nearer to it, then his son at the very top, on the Governor's right hand. H e uttered these fine ringing words addressed to the N u n c i o , a little way below him, as he made his way cautiously down the palace steps, Killick and, absurdly, Awkward Davies hovering at no great distance - pitiless steps with no rail, very sharp edges, deep treads; and it was usual to make an inward promise of a fortnight's or even a month's pay to one's patron saint before embarking on them in the darkness.

T h e port-captain half rose when they c a m e in, but he was far from cordial and he said that he could not r e c o m m e n d the town water after this diabolic flood and all the nastiness it brought. S t e p h e n spoke about the country inland, a hacienda he had visited, the kindness of the people. H e and the others were of course speaking Spanish and after a while the port-captain said that there happened to b e a clean spring at no great distance, but they would have to pay the proprietor a fee.

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