The Golden Ocean

The Golden Ocean

Patrick O’Brian

Pub date
B Format 129x198mm
288 pages
Download jacket

Book Overview

The first novel Patrick O’Brian ever wrote about the sea – and the precursor to the famous Aubrey/Maturin series – is now available in paperback for the first time in forty years.

The Golden Ocean is the first novel Patrick O’Brian ever wrote about the sea. The novel shares the same sense of excitement and the rich humour of the Aubrey/Maturin novels, invoking the eloquent style and attention to historical detail that O’Brian readers admire so much.

The protagonist of this story is Peter Palafox, son of a poor Irish parson, who signs on as a midshipman, never before having seen a ship. He is a fellow who would have delighted the young Stephen Maturin or Jack Aubrey… and quarrelled with them as well. Together with his life-long friend Sean, Peter sets out to seek his fortune, embarking on a journey of danger, disappointment, foreign lands and excitement.

Written in 1956, this is a tale certain to please not only the many admirers of O’Brian, but any reader with an adventurous soul.

About the author

Patrick O’Brian, until his death in 2000, was one of our greatest contemporary novelists. He is the author of the acclaimed Aubrey–Maturin tales and the biographer of Joseph Banks and Picasso. He is the author of many other books including Testimonies, and his Collected Short Stories. In 1995 he was the first recipient of the Heywood Hill Prize for a lifetime’s contribution to literature. In the same year he was awarded the CBE. In 1997 he received an honorary doctorate of letters from Trinity College, Dublin. He lived for many years in South West France and he died in Dublin in January 2000.


  • ‘The story has in it something like greatness. It is naive, matter-of-fact; tragic, richly funny; closely detailed but with a bold sweeping action. It goes on that very small shelf reserved for authors who, disregarding aptitudes spin a story out of the heart and soul of their experience and the joy of living.’TLS
  • ‘As always, the author’s erudition and humour are on display…the attention to period speech and detail is uncompromising and while the cascades of natural love can be dizzying, both aficionados and newcomers will be swept up by the richness of Mr O’Brian’s prodigious imagination.’Scott Veale, NEW YORK TIMES