Patrick O'Brian: A Life Revealed (2000)

Patrick O'Brian: A Life Revealed
A publishing phenomenon in the 1990s, adventure novelist Patrick O'Brian has written professionally since his first fiction was published as a teenager in the 1930s. Before he struck gold with his Aubrey/Maturin series of Royal Navy tales set during the Napoleonic wars, O'Brian scraped by translating Simone de Beauvoir, writing a biography of Picasso, and churning out assorted short stories and novels. Biographer King was not granted O'Brian's cooperation for the present work, as the author recoils from media inquiry. His attitude, however, can't be enforced on relatives and editors, who supplied King with enough material to at least trace the outlines of O'Brian's life. We learn that O'Brian didn't get along with his family and, over the years, remade his identity by changing his name and claiming he was born in Ireland rather than England. O'Brian's fans will be most interested in the background on the novels, and King delivers the goods with detailed commentary ranging from plot summaries to publication history and a review of each book's critical and commercial reception.

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Patrick O'Brian: A Life Revealed

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