Patrick O'Brian

Richard Patrick Russ
Born: 1914
Birthplace: Chalfont St. Peter, Buckinghamshire, England

Fans of historical fiction are familiar with Patrick O'Brian's series of novels, centered on two British naval officers during the Napoleonic Wars, “Lucky Jack” Aubry and his close friend Stephen Maturin. Beginning the series with Master and Commander (1969). The Hundred Days, the nineteenth, was published in October 1998, at which time the 84-year-old was hard at work on the twentieth. Although critics have compared his novels to those of Kenneth Roberts and C.S. Forester, and his series was moderately successful in England and Ireland, he was virtually unknown to North American audiences. Finally crossing the Atlantic in 1989, by 1991 400,000 copies of the series had sold in the United States. That total swelled to more than two million by 1998. Fans knew little of the reclusive author, however, until the last few years of his life, discovering that he was not, in fact, Irish but English.

Died: 2000
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