Patrick O'Brian

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Name: Patrick O'Brian
Also Known As: POB, Po'B
Occupation: writer
Medium: novels
Works: Aubrey-Maturin
Official Website(s):
Fan Website(s): The Gunroom, Perfect Duet on LJ, Perfect Duet on DW
On Fanlore: Related pages

Patrick O'Brian (12 December 1914 – 2 January 2000)[1] is an author who is most famous for writing the Aubrey-Maturin series of novels set during the Napoleonic Wars of 1803-1815. There are 20 complete books in the series and a further, untitled and incomplete work featuring several of the same characters, including the two main protagonists, was released in 2011. Within the Age of Sail fandom, Patrick O'Brian's fans affectionately refer to him as 'POB' or 'Po'B'.


The novels are known for the depth of research shown in them, and appear somewhat dense and jargon-filled even to fans. The language of the books is a little archaic, O'Brian has been described as 'Jane Austen at sea' [2]. They also show a (perhaps) surprising amount of humour. The two protagonists are Jack Aubrey, who has been at sea since he was a boy, and his 'particular friend' Stephen Maturin who is the ship's doctor and a 'natural philosopher' - a term used in the early nineteenth century to describe one who is interested in nature, animals and science. Patrick O'Brian uses each to explain to the reader something that may not be obvious to the other (Jack Aubrey does not operate well on land, and Stephen Maturin is landlubber at sea) - a very clever way of managing exposition.


There is an active community of fans on LiveJournal, whose several community journals are mirrored on Dreamwidth.

  1. Patrick O'Brian on Wikipedia, accessed on 30th December 2016
  2. The Guardian online, accessed 30th December 2016