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The Daily Aubrey-Maturin: The Truelove / Clarissa Oakes (Book 15), Chapters 7-9 (pg. 4950-5042)

Your daily dose of off-topic shenanigans.

The whaler Harpooner, 1830s.
The ‘Harpooner’, a whaler lost at sea in 1833
Photo by SSPL/Getty Images


The Surprise departs the Friendly Isles amid a growing soap opera, with various crew members and officers vying for Mrs. Oakes’ affections, and causing conflict between themselves and divisions among the men. At one point, lieutenants West and Davidge even come to blows, much to the chagrin of Aubrey. And while he’s finally let in on all the details of this drama by Pullings, that doesn’t help Aubrey’s mood either.


In fact, it’s quite the opposite, and a most displeased Aubrey tightens discipline aboard the ship, even administers a few lashings, a rare occurrence under his command. The hands are kept busy with various tasks as the ship sails north towards Moahu.

As they get closer, the focus thankfully shifts to the impending action. Aubrey’s plan is to disguise the frigate as a whaler to get in close, recapture the Truelove and get it back under British command, take care of the French frigate Franklin, and convince the southern half of the island to swear loyalty to the King by defending them against the French attack.


As usual, the plan pretty much goes off without a hitch, and with less than a handful of casualties, though one of them is Davidge. (Meanwhile, the French ground forces are basically all wiped out.)

The Franklin does escape, so the Surprise sets to chase after, though not before having a big party with the locals and giving command of the Truelove over to Mr. Oakes to take it back to Batavia as a prize, then head back to England. Mrs. Oakes goes along obviously, carrying a message from Maturin for Sir Joseph and her own information about who the traitor might be who had been working with Wray and Ledward — which should also help her avoid recapture since she is still an escaped convict, after all.

And thus ends Book 15, “The Truelove” (or “Clarissa Oakes”, depending on edition). Next up, Book 16, “The Wine-Dark Sea”.





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