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The Daily Aubrey-Maturin: Post Captain (Book 2), Chapters 10-11 (pg. 716-775)

Your daily dose of off-topic shenanigans.

France’s Marine Nationale corvette Diligente, 1803, color illustration
Color illustration of the French corvette Diligente, 1803
Photo By DEA PICTURE LIBRARY/De Agostini via Getty Images

CHAPTER 10

Our heroes, divided. Maturin’s called away on a secret assignment to Spain, to pose as a local lord and try to figure out whether the tiki-taka enthusiasts will be joining the war on the side of France or what. Meanwhile, Aubrey’s on a mission to the Baltic Sea, sent there by Admiral Harte as punishment. Neither are doing all that well, especially Aubrey, whose failures in both protocol, timeliness, and competence (thanks in large part to his crap ship and his mostly useless crew) is starting to rub people on and off his ship the wrong way.

And trouble’s a-brewing in the matters of the heart, too, and the cockfight that’s been brewing over Diana finally boils over, as Aubrey challenges Maturin to a duel (a duel!). Because you know, honor and machismo, or some such. Pistols and dawn (or some other time of day), which spells trouble for the captain since we know that Maturin’s secretly an expert marksman. (He practices by shooting a coin out of the air with an ancient pistol.)

Fortunately, the duel’s avoided by Admiral Harte sending the Polychrest to their assured doom instead, ordering them to attack a French corvette (not the car or the spaceship) that’s snoozing in a well defended bay and under the safety of coastal fortifications. Thanks Admiral!

CHAPTER 11

This is book 2 of a (somewhat chronological?) 21-book series, so you know that neither Aubrey nor Maturin will perish anytime soon, despite what by all rights should be a suicide-mission.

Still, it’s an exciting (and believable) battle and a masterful feat of leadership, sailing, tactics, derring-do, and all the rest from Aubrey, who avoids a mutiny, performs a superhuman feat of swimming, surprises not only the French corvette and fort but a bunch of merchant vessels hanging out nearby to score a massive victory — which does come at the cost of the Polychrest itself, which won’t be remember fondly despite its noble death and sacrifice anyway. Aubrey loses one crappy ship but gains a sweet ride instead as he sails off with the corvette and some prizes.

Oh, and Jack and Stephen hug it out and decide to prioritize male comrades (at least for now ‘cause you know, Stelllllllaaaaa ... I mean, Dianaaaaaaa).


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