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    Re: Patrick O'Brian characters discuss time and longitude
    From: Don Seltzer
    Date: 2016 Jun 27, 20:40 -0400

    On Mon, Jun 27, 2016 at 4:53 PM, Don E. Bray <NoReply_DonE.Bray@fer3.com> wrote:
    > This is always a great topic, I am on my third reading of the series. The stories are fresh each time.
    > I revealed on these pages a few years ago (2013) that I had made a spreadsheet analysis using Latitude and Longitude as reported in Desolation Island to recreate the voyage as reported by Patrick O'Brian. If I assumed a departure from Bay of Biscay on 26 April 1811 I could match up very well with the rest of POB's positions. This was confirmed by the voyage as reported on the Cannonade website.
    That would be Tom Horn's website, http://www.cannonade.net/index.php

    Probably the widest collection of resources and links analyzing POB can be found at

    I contributed the chronological timeline of the novels.

    POB's novels are unmatched in the details of science, social customs, philosophy, and people of that era that give substance to his writing.  Most of it is highly accurate and used in proper context.  His primary sources were an Encyclopedia Britannica of around 1811, Falconer's Dictionary of the Marine, Gentlemen's Magazine, and other contemporary sources. Occasionally he nodded, but even these errors are undetectable by 99% of his readers.  Reading his novels is a true education. 

    The noted military historian John Keegan wrote only one book on naval history.  When an interviewer asked why he did not write more he explained,
    'because it was so technically difficult. The slightest mistake and a hundred Patrick O'Brian fans would come down on him like a ton of bricks.'

    In analyzing POB's timelines, I found many inconsistencies.  None that really detracted from the story, but it did reveal that POB had a very fluid concept of time and distance.  He was ok when he researched the duration of actual voyages, but he could run into difficulties when he just winged it with plot lines.

    Don Seltzer
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