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Naval History Authors: Captain Jack Aubrey and his companion Dr. Stephen Maturin by Patrick O’Brian

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Section one – Author overview and comparison

Of the many authors writing naval history, there are some that take their talents to create worlds of there own that can, at times, parallel our own. The writers of historical fiction can create some incredibly entertaining works. For the purposes of this paper three authors will be focused on. These three are Patrick O’Brian, C.S. Forester and Dudley Pope. These authors are some of the most renown for their many publications. Each of them has created at least one series of novels on the premise of historical naval fiction. Patrick O’Brian created the series of novels of Captain Jack Aubrey and his companion Dr. Stephen Maturin (known as the Aubrey-Maturin series). C.S. Forester is the creator of the Captain Horatio Hornblower series. Finally, Dudley Pope is the creator of the Ramage series that follows the life of Lord Nicholas Ramage. What all these authors have in common is that all their characters are apart of the British Royal Navy during the late 19th century either during the French Revolutionary War or the Napoleonic War.
The first of these authors is Patrick O’Brian. Born in 1914 in Chalfort St. Peter, Buckinghamshire, he would publish his first book at the young age of fifteen entitled Caesar: The life story of a panda-leopard. This was an examination of the cruelty and beauty of the world. Caesar is a creature with a giant panda for a father and a snow leopard for a mother. Even at this young age his writing style can still be felt. His fascination with the natural world and the precision of his writing are evident. At the age of twenty he underwent training with the Royal Air Force as a pilot. This, however was short lived, and O’Brian would end up in London where he w...


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Forester had a fairly successful publishing career before his most popular series following his character Horatio Hornblower. Many of his early publications surrounded the Second World War, Nazi Germany and the Nuremburg trials. The first of the Hornblower series was published in 1946, Lord Hornblower. There is some speculation that this character is inspired by Lord Horatio Nelson, arguably the most successful and famous of the British Naval Commanders. The main piece of evidence is that of Hornblowers’ given name ‘Horatio’. Though the Hornblower books are incredibly popular, it can be said that C.S. Foresters most successful and popular work is the novel The African Queen, published in 1935 which would then be made into a movie in 1951 staring Catherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart. This movie, to this day, stands as one of the greatest American classic movies.



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