Patrick O’Brian: A Life Revealed

Patrick O’Brian

A Life Revealed

by Dean King

If ever there was a Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin fanatic, Dean King, who has made a career of following O’Brian and his characters around the globe, fits the mold.In A Life Revealed O’Brian is portrayed as somewhat of a tragic character who finds redemption near the end: he was born into a wealthy family that lost its riches; his mother died when he was only three years old; he lost a daughter to disease and suffered a failed marriage.

But it is O’Brian’s reinvention of himself, his move to the south of France and new life (he changed his name from Patrick Russ), and his ultimate success as a writer, that makes this book come alive. Shed of his painful past and with a new wife, he immersed himself in a sort of fantasy world of farming, wine-making, music, and literature.

King was not authorized to write this biography, since O’Brian guarded his past so fiercely.

Henry Holt and Co., New York; 212-886-9200; 397 pages; $27.50

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