The Life Story of a Panda-Leopard
'Caesar' was Patrick O'Brien's first novel, written at the age of 14 when he was suffering chronic ill health. It tells the picaresque and enchanting, if bloodthirsty, story of Caesar - whose father was a giant panda and whose mother was a snow leopard. It tells of his life as a cub, his first exploits hunting, his first encounters with man, his capture and taming.
O'Brian's dry wit and unsentimental precision is already much in evidence. Caesar furiously mauls two shepherds, then suddenly laments, with utter sangfroid, "I dimly felt sorry that I had needlessly killed these two useless things, for though I was hungry I could not bring myself to eat these smelly men."
On publication in 1930 'Caesar' was an instant success and sheds fascinating light on the formation of the literary genius behind the Aubrey-Maturin series of historical tales.