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The Daily Aubrey-Maturin: The Commodore (Book 17), Chapters 8-10 (pg. 5548-5644)

Your daily dose of off-topic shenanigans

Clipper sails to London
The Baltimore Clipper schooner called the Pride of Baltimore on the River Thames
Photo by PA Images via Getty Images


Aubrey collaborates with the governor of Freetown to bring the slaver ship Nancy into harbor, and then make a big show of blowing it to smithereens in the harbor (both as a deterrent to further trade in the area, and also to further the ruse for any French spies and observers). The squadron then begin to cruise east towards Benin, taking out any and all trade activity encountered, at sea or on land. The mission is proving quite a success, thanks in part to a local Kru navigator. (Fun fact: the legendary George Weah, former Chelsea player and current president of Liberia, is of Kru ancestry.)


Contrary to his own advice, Maturin goes on a nature walk and manages to contract yellow fever. He survives, though it’s touch and go for a minute.

The squadron completes the mission while Stephen’s ailing, and it’s a rousing success except for some enmity developing between two of the ships in the squadron, the Stately and the Thames. It leads to a duel (is it a draw if both die?) and a brawl on shore, but doesn’t really get resolved.

Back in Freetown, Maturin receives intelligence from London that the French are ahead of schedule and Aubrey sets sails post-haste to try to cut them off.


Turns out that Aubrey’s haste was not necessary, though it does help ensure the success of the action, as they get to lie in wait for the French squadron, whom they chase into a bay on the coast of Ireland and then defeat rather easily — though not without casualties, in both men and ships. Still, it’s a great victory for Commodore Aubrey.

After the battle, Maturin learns that his (semi-)estranged wife is in Ireland, and that the Duke of Habachtsthal has been assassinated in London, clearing the way for their safe return. He seems to reconcile with Diana as well.

And thus ends Book 17, “The Commodore”. Next up, Book 18, “The Yellow Admiral”. We’re in the home stretch now!





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