Patrick O'Brian

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Patrick O'Brian

Patrick O'Brian (December 12, 1914 – January 2, 2000), born Richard Patrick Russ, was a novelist and translator, best known for his Aubrey–Maturin series of novels set in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars.


  • "Come," he said, taking her by the hand and leading her to a distant sopha, "come and sit by me, and let us talk of bats."
    • The Unknown Shore (1959).
  • "And pray, what in sea language is meant by a ship?"
"She must have three square-rigged masts, sir," they told him kindly, "and a bowsprit; and the masts must be in three - lower, top and topgallant - for we never call a polacre a ship."
  • Master and Commander (1970)
  • "... He is not very sharp in some ways; and in his simple view of the world, paederasts are dangerous only to powder-monkeys and choir boys, or to those epicene creatures that are to be found in Mediterranean brothels. I made circuitous attempt at enlightening him a little, but he looked very knowing and said, 'Don't tell me about rears and vices; I have been in the Navy all my life.'"
"Then surely he must be wanting a little in penetration?"
"James, I trust there was no mens rea in that remark?"
  • Master and Commander (1970)
  • "Jack, you have debauched my sloth."
  • HMS Surprise (1973)
  • "My God, oh my God," he said. "Six hundred men."
  • Desolation Island (1979)

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