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The Daily Aubrey-Maturin: The Thirteen-Gun Salute (Book 13), Chapters 6-8 (pg. 4301-4396)

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Indonesia Lithographs / engravings from the 19th century Street in the city of Batavia on Java / Indonesia - color lithograph - 19th century
19th century Batavia (i.e. Jakarta)
Photo by Archiv Gerstenberg/ullstein bild via Getty Images

CHAPTER 6

We’ve arrived to Batavia (Jakarta, today), where the Diane picks up the rest of the diplomatic envoy and hobnobs with (real-life) governor Stamford Raffles (no relation to Stamford Bridge), who would soon after go on to establish modern day Singapore.

Things get a bit more fictional from here, with the Diane going on to Pulo Prabang (not a real place), which has orangutans and a spectacular Buddhist temple on top of a mountain paradise. The place also has a Sultan, with and the envoys are competing with a French mission for his favor. As had been hoped, the French mission does include both the traitors Wray and Ledward.

CHAPTER 7

As the French and English envoys battle it out on the diplomatic front, there are all sorts of machinations going on behind the scenes as well. The French have the advantage of having gotten there first, but the English are playing the game a lot better. Meanwhile, Maturin visits the aforementioned mountain paradise, climbing a thousand steps to commune with monks and the various human-friendly fauna.

CHAPTER 8

Maturin returns from this dreamlike earthly paradise to find an armed rising against the French in Prabang, seemingly instigated by the English and succeeding completely. The French have all been kicked out or worse, which could be a problem as their ship has managed to run aground on the other side of the island, which Aubrey discovers on a mapping expedition. (He also finds that one of the ship’s crew is the nephew of his old friend Christy-Pallière, now an Admiral, whom we might remember from some of the early books in this series.)

Maturin also succeeds in his side-quest to take care of Wray and Ledward, and it’s strongly insinuated that he himself had assassinated them both. He then uses his connections with other local men of science to dissect the bodies and get rid of the evidence. Very “Dexter”, that.

Cue the music!


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