|Title:||The Unknown Shore|
|Categories:||The Walter Cronkite Collection|
|Publisher:||W. W. Norton & Company|
|Number of pages:||320|
An immediate precursor to Patrick O'Brian's acclaimed Aubrey/Maturin series, displaying all the splendid prose and attention to detail that O'Brian's readers expect. Patrick O'Brian's first novel about the sea, The Golden Ocean, took inspiration from Commodore George 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 she 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. Patrick O'Brian's many devoted readers will take particular interest in this story, as Jack and Toby form a kind of blueprint for Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin, the famed heroes of the great Aubrey/Maturin series to come.
The Unknown Shore, a sort-of sequel to The Golden Ocean, is a fascinating blue-print for the Aubrey-Maturin series. We follow Jack Byron and Tobias Barrow, two unlikely neighbors and fast friends in whom we catch glimpses of the heroes of the epic series to come. They set off to sea in 1740 as part of Commodore Anson's fleet to circumnavigate the globe. Byron, a romantic, forceful lad, signs on as a midshipman; Barrow, a strangely educated, scientifically brilliant boy, is running away from his father and wins a commission as a surgeon's mate. Set up in the Wager, which is parted from Anson's squadron and sinks somewhere along the desolate coast of Chile, Byron and Barrow are left to struggle for survival by wits alone, facing mutiny, famine, indifferent natives and lingering infighting. A fully realized hint of the fictional magic to come.