Array As we have stood with Jack and Stephen on the deck of the Surprise and other ships, readers around the world have been transported to a place and time at once familiar and exotic, routine and dramatic. At all times, Patrick O’Brian’s deep knowledge of the period and profound empathy with the landscape of the sea has ensured there is always a firm hand on the tiller. The writer’s command of language is combined with the poet’s eye for visual detail to remarkable, and unforgettable effect. In The Uncertain Land and Other Poems, those same strengths are vividly displayed as O’Brian leads us on a journey through his own life. Here, we see a writer full of a young man’s spirit, challenging life, and here an author reflecting an old man’s melancholy at youth gone; in between, as he describes the places that he lived and people that he encountered, are poems of sly observation, wry humour and delicate beauty. Through more than 100 poems, O’Brian reveals insights into the world that captivated him while he was at work on a succession of novels that would reach its apotheosis in the Aubrey/Maturin adventures, which would secure his reputation as ‘the Homer of the Napoleonic Wars’. Intensely personal, allusive and unique, this is the work of a lifetime, published now for the very first time.