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The Daily Aubrey-Maturin: The Truelove / Clarissa Oakes (Book 15), Chapters 4-6 (pg. 4869-4949)

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1777, Cook Map of the Friendly Islands or Tonga
Captain Cook’s Map of the Friendly Islands in 1777
Photo by: Sepia Times/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

CHAPTER 4

There is a big feast for the officers on the ship, and to celebrate the Oakes’ wedding, after they catch some swordfish. The dinner is most excellent, but the undercurrent of unease is still present. Aubrey starting to grow concerned, while Maturin’s starting to see strong hints that it’s, unsurprisingly, over (or because of) Mrs. Oakes.

CHAPTER 5

The journey towards Moahu continues, but they hit some weather and few sailors pick up injuries. Among them is a man named Reade, who gets a concussion. In his stupor while being treated by Maturin, he seems to hint that there is at least one person visiting Mrs. Oakes, and not her husband. Meanwhile, Maturin learns from Martin that Mr. Oakes has been beating his wife, which is also an open secret among the crew.

In happier news, they reach the Friendly Islands (a.k.a. Tonga) and meet some suitable friendly locals, as well as a whaling ship, which fills them in on the situation at Moahu, providing some background and situational context for their mission. Apparently the French are trying to move in on a civil war on the small island (northern tribes vs southern tribes), and Aubrey’s been tasked in driving them (the French) out.

CHAPTER 6

The Surprise spends a day in the tropical paradise, refitting, watering, trading, making friends. Maturin gets to explore briefly, and is joined by Mrs. Oakes who tells him her life story, which is certainly a rough one from childhood sexual abuse to working in a brothel as a teenager to ending up in a penal colony. Maturin’s sympathetic, obviously, but is even more interested in the revelation that Wray and Ledward, the two traitors, were frequent clients of said brothel, as was the high-ranking official who has yet to be caught.


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