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The Daily Aubrey-Maturin: The Wine-Dark Sea (Book 16), Chapters 8-10 (pg. 5231-5338)

Your daily dose of off-topic shenanigans

Engraving depicting a reconstruction of the storm during which James Cook’s ship escapes unharmed
Ship in a storm
Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images


Maturin’s machinations are going okay, until they aren’t. While the French captain Dutourd, who had slipped ashore, isn’t really taken seriously, and in fact gets taken by the Inquisition, he makes enough noise to scuttle the movement. Like Twitter, it’s all about who is the loudest. Stephen has to escape on foot towards Chile, where he’s due to meet the Surprise in Valparaiso.


Aubrey finally makes it to port in Callao, where he meets up with Pullings and the rest of the group. They’re informed that Maturin has been made and are advised to wrap up affairs quickly and get the heck out of dodge as quickly as possible. Fortunately, the Surprise has be refitted and is good to go, and the rest of the prizes can be quickly sold, including the Franklin.

Meanwhile, Maturin and his local guides are informed that Valparaiso is too hot and should instead go to Arica, in the north. It’s a shorter trek, but it’s across a dangerous pass. They make it, but only at the cost of a couple toes, with Maturin suffering from frostbite after they barely escape an avalanche.


Everyone now back together, in the Surprise, and heading home by way of the Horn. Stephen tells Jack that he learned of three American merchant vessels sailing north, and that prize proves too tempting to ignore — but it turns into a case of having bitten off more than they can handle, as the trio turn out to be accompanied by not one but too warships. The Surprise is able to escape, barely, thanks in part to some fortuitous ice floes. It looks like they just might finally make it home...

And thus ends Book 16, “The Wine-Dark Sea”. Next up, Book 17, “The Commodore”. Presumably it’s not about the computer.

Bobby Campbell
Dave Beasant, HUGE Commodore fan





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