The Unknown Shore
W. W. Norton & Company, 1995 - 313 pagina's
Patrick O'Brian's first novel about the sea, The Golden Ocean, took inspiration from Commodore Anson's fateful circumnavigation of the globe in 1740. In The Unknown Shore, O'Brian returns to this rich source and mines it brilliantly for another, quite different tale of exploration and adventure. The Wager was parted from Anson's squadron in the fierce storms off Cape Horn and struggled alone up the coast of Chile until it was driven against the rocks and sank. The survivors were soon involved in trouble of every kind. A surplus of rum, a disappearing stock of food, and a hard, detested captain soon drove them into drunkenness, mutiny, and bloodshed. After many months of privation, a handful of men made their way northward under the guidance of a band of Indians, at last finding safety in Valparaiso. This saga of survival is the background to the adventures of two young men aboard the Wager: midshipman Jack Byron and his friend Tobias Barrow, an alarmingly naive surgeon's mate. An immediate precursor to Patrick O'Brian's acclaimed Aubrey/Maturin series of historical novels, The Unknown Shore displays all the splendid prose and attention to detail that O'Brian's readers have come to expect. Yet perhaps this novel's most fascinating aspect is the characterization of Jack and Toby, for in them we catch tantalizing glimpses of Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin, famed heroes of the great series to come.