Testimonies by Patrick O’Brian – an unusual first book

I confess I started to read this book because I think O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin series is so very good. And at first, I was a little disappointed.

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Then the characters seemed to gain life, and the strange story unfolded. The strangeness was not in the plot – fairly simple, but in the telling of it. As you would expect with a master story teller the language was deep, introspective and graceful. The scenery described in such a way as you could imagine how it felt to be there, the broodiness, the isolation, the beauty. It felt as if the author was speaking directly to the individual reader.

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The character, not so much of the individual people as the time and place setting were immensely powerful, the hard life, the prejudices, the damage an ignorant yet partly educated man could do.

Towards the end of the book, the plot thickens, and the characters come more vividly to life. In one sense I was glad to finish the book, yet I have a feeling it will continue to haunt me for a while. It is a powerful tale.

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Written by Liz H

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