The Modern Library - the 200 best novels in English since 1950
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Master and Commander by Patrick O’Brian
Harper Collins 1996

This is the first in a sequence of novels about life in the Royal Navy during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. Though there are adventures and battles aplenty, it is how men live together rather than the tedious brutalities of war that is the subject here. O’Brian’s portrayal of life aboard a nelsonic man-of-war, of weapons, food, conversation and ambience, of the landscape and the sea, is faultless and the sense of period throughout is acute.
Patrick O’Brian was born in Buckinghamshire.

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Master and Commander by Patrick O’Brian