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Patrick O'Brian
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    (December 12, 1914-January 2, 2000)
    Born in Chalfont St. Peter, England, United Kingdom
    Birth name was Richard Patrick Russ
    Best known for the 20-novel Aubrey-Maturin series set in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars
    Titles include 'Master and Commander' (1969), 'The Fortune of War' (1979), 'The Far Side of the World' (1984), 'Truelove' (1992) and 'Blue at the Mizzen' (1999)
    Named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (1997)
    An acquaintance said, 'Patrick can be a bit of a snob, socially and intellectually.'
    He refused to talk about his personal life or his past: 'I very much dislike being interviewed by the kind of journalist who tries to dig into your private life.'
    Two years before his death, a newspaper exposé uncovered his original name and that he was not an Irish Catholic as he had claimed.
    It also revealed that he had abandoned his first wife and their two children, including a daughter suffering from spina bifida.
    He was left-handed.
    He was a volunteer ambulance driver in London during the Blitz.
    His second marriage, to Mary Tolstoy, lasted 53 years.
    Mary Renault wrote, 'Mr. O'Brian does not just have the chief qualifications of a first-class historical novelist, he has them all.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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