The Unknown Shore

Written by: Patrick O'Brian

The Unknown Shore Book Cover
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.
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The Unknown Shore Reviews

Aaron
An enjoyable sea adventure that involves a lengthy account of the horrors and privations of being shipwrecked in the forbidding landscape of the extreme southern coast of modern-day Chile. My one complaint was the shockingly unenlightened view taken of the natives who helped--albeit reluctantly--the main characters. It was a bit hard to tell whether the view was intended to be that of the characters (in which case I suppose it was only historically authentic) or that of the author.
Michael Vetowich
This book was wonderful. A true maturation of O'Brian's skill occurred between this and The Golden Ocean. The story is filled with humanity and adventure. The friendship between Jack Byron and Tobias gives a tantalizing glimpse of what's to come with Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin. Despite this, this novel stands quite well on its own. In particular, the struggle to round South America and proceed northward up the coast of Chile is spellbinding. A terrific effort from the master O'Brian.
Jen
An interesting read, as one of Patrick O'Brian's early books.

I enjoyed it, and possibly enjoyed the characters of Jack and Tobias more than I do Aubrey and Maturin. The story of their struggles up the coast of Chile after the shipwreck is harrowing. However, the way in which the author jumps through the end of the story was frankly disappointing.
The Reverse of the Medal :: To Reign in Hell :: Yendi :: Issola :: Kabuki, Vol. 1: Circle of Blood
Tlnorz
This is (probably) the prequal to Patrick O'Brian's most-excellent Aubrey-Maturin series of books. I enjoyed this story, just as I have enjoyed all of O'Brian's books. He paints a vivid picture of life at sea in the 18th century. His characters are heroic but are flawed too which makes them much more believable and fun to read.
Vince
More like 3.5 stars. This early seafaring saga isn't quite as well written as the later Aubrey/Maturin series which it is can be seen has their beginnings here. If you are unfamiliar with Patrick O'Brian's sea stories, I would start out with the AB series and then come back to this later. It is a lot more interesting to read it in light of what came later than as a simple stand alone novel.
Greg Strandberg
Maybe it's because I read all the Master/Commander books before this one, but I didn't really like this one much.

I read it quickly, like I did with most of this author's books, but it just didn't do it for me. I'd suggest hitting up his better-known books.

This is better than his stand-alone novel set in Scotland, Testimonials or whatever that was called.
Elizabeth
Enjoyable read that was very well written and paced. I didn't love it like I do the Aubrey/Maturin series because I didn't get really attached to the main protagonists but you can certainly see the same storytelling style that is in Patrick O'Brian's later series. If you liked the Aubrey/Maturin books I would give it a try.

Kathy Sharp
One of Patrick O'Brian's most harrowing adventures, and you wonder, as a reader, how the heroes can possibly survive. Still, the telling detail and the lightness of touch are there, along with the sense of humour. A great adventure story.
Alex
Very interesting to read this pre-Aubrey book; there are so many similarities in the characters, yet there is such a gulf between the skill of writing in the Aubrey books and this his second novel.
Kimberley
Part of the Cannonball Read. Get my full review here: http://unsweet-tea-no-lemon.blogspot....
Kevin Donohue
The seed is planted for the series. Great abilities from the beginnig. Better on the sea than on terra firma.
Neill Goltz
A charming little semi-prequel to the incredible "Master and Commander" Aubrey/Maturing series by my favorite historical novelist, the ultra-great Patrick O'Brian.
Todd
The characters and story was great, although the language was sometimes hard to read and I am not familiar with nautical terms. Still, a very entertaining read.
Edwin Yardley
Very good,is certainly a footprint of Jack Aubrey
Beth A
Historical fiction about life on the high seas.
David
Great precursor to the Aubrey-Maturin series. Not as good as the series itself, but you can see O'Brian starting to get everything in place. Lots of fun.
Jeremy Hornik
Meh. Sort of a rough draft for the Aubrey/Maturin series, but not as good. You have to be a big fan to bother. Me? Not a big enough fan.
Susan
Strangely familiar characters here. Picture Jack and Stephen at a young age and this is the story here.

Enjoyable adventure.
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