Patrick O'Brian Society of Bath


Founded by Ruth Mannion-Daniels in 2010, the Patrick O’Brian Society of Bath is a reading group for devotees of the novels of Patrick O’Brian, who is counted in many literary circles as the outstanding historical novelist of the Twentieth century.

The twenty novels in the Aubrey/Maturin series, plus one unfinished, chronicle the friendship of Captain Jack Aubrey and Doctor Steven Maturin in their lives and exploits in the British navy during the Napoleonic wars.

Each novel is complete in itself, but the series together amount to a wonderfully powerful evocation of life both at sea and on land, combining humour and human nature with high adventure and contemporary history, recounted with a formidable culture and erudition, which for descriptive power can match anything in fiction of sea-life in Nelson’s time.

As the Programme will show, while the Patrick O’ Brian novels form the mainstay of the Society’s interests, they also include other important facets of cultural, commercial and humanitarian developments surrounding British naval endeavours in what has become known as the Age of Enlightenment.

Forthcoming Programme 2017

Monday 25th September 2017 -- 7.30pm


Captain Frederick Marryat

Frederick Marryat was himself an experienced sea officer before he came ashore in mid-life to take up a career as novelist of the maritime way of life.

A stirring tale from the days of wooden ships, this 1836 novel recounts a philosophical young man's initiation into the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars, and his time as a crew member with the renowned Cochran.

Based on the author's experiences sailing under the command of the real-life model for Horatio Hornblower and Jack Aubrey, it combines adventure and humour.

Monday 30th October 2017 -- 7.30pm


Patrick O’Brian

Commissioned to rescue Governor Bligh of Bounty fame, Captain Jack Aubrey and his friend and surgeon, Stephen Maturin, sail the Leopard to Australia with a hold full of convicts. Among them is a beautiful and dangerous spy - and a treacherous disease which decimates the crew.

The ingredients of a wonderfully powerful and dramatic O'Brian novel are heightened by descriptive writing of rare quality.

Nowhere in contemporary prose have the majesty and terror of the sea been more effectively rendered than in the thrilling chase through an Antarctic storm in which Jack's ship, under-manned and out-gunned, is the quarry not the hunter.

Monday 27th November 2017 -- 7.30pm


C S Forester

This is the seventh of the eleven books chronicling the adventures of C. S. Forester's inimitable nautical hero, Horatio Hornblower.

Forced to surrender his ship, HMS Sutherland, after a long and bloody battle, Captain Horatio Hornblower is held prisoner in a French fortress, a humiliated and ship-less captive facing execution unless he can escape and make a triumphant return to England.

Prospects turn bleaker when he learns that he and Lt. Bush are to be tried and executed in Paris as part of Napoleon's attempts to rally the war-weary Empire. Even if Hornblower can escape this fate and make it safe to England, he still faces court-martial for surrendering his ship.

With little hope for the future and still less to lose, Hornblower throws caution to the wind once more.