Blue at the Mizzen - Insidian Style

Wednesday, 21 June 2017 10:18 am
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We had to say good-bye to several characters, and we will come to the end of our trip through the Aubreayad.

Let us hope that the book's title brings the rewards it hints at. We will find this out at the weekend when we read

Blue at the Mizzen, Insidian Style

I will certainly revisit some of the posts to see if I missed comments.

CU then

The Hundred Days - Insidian Style

Friday, 16 June 2017 09:58 am
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Please permit me a personal note: I am sorry not to have been around much in the past two weeks for personal reasons. I intend to remedy that over this weekend. Again, my apologies.

Now for the book.

The plot summary of The Hundred Days curtesy of wikipedia

Commodore Aubrey's squadron arrives at Gibraltar, where Lord Keith updates him on Napoleon's escape and rearmament. He orders Aubrey first to defend a convoy of merchant ships from Moorish xebecs and galleys, and then to proceed to the Adriatic Sea to destroy any new ships being built to support Napoleon. Maturin, in a separate meeting, is informed of a plot to send sufficient gold through Algiers to fund Muslim mercenaries who would block the Russian forces from joining those of the other allies, so Napoleon's army can attack one army at a time. Aubrey's squadron is successful in defending the convoy. The captain of the Pomone is haunted by the faces of the slaves used to row the galleys split in half by his ship; Aubrey reports he died cleaning his guns, and a new captain is assigned to Pomone. The convoy proceeds toward the Adriatic, stopping in Mahón. Asea, they encounter Captain Christy-Palliere, of the Royalist Caroline and an old acquaintance, who informs Aubrey about the French situation in the Adriatic before parting. Amos Jacob is sent out on Ringle to Kutali and Spalato to gain more information. Surprise sails to Ragusa Vecchia where she sinks a French frigate under the command of an Imperialist. Jacob rejoins near Porte di Spalato where they meet another French frigate, whose captain, like so many, does not want to declare for Napoleon but fears he will win. Maturin and Jacob negotiate an agreement to fight a mock battle against both Surprise and Pomone; the Frenchman then accompanies Pomone to Malta. Following up the pressure already put on banks not to loan to the small shipyards, they lay out gold to push disgruntled, unpaid dockworkers to burn new French ships along the coast, which is effective.

Reaching Algiers, they meet the Consul, Sir Peter Clifford, and his wife. Maturin and Jacob attend an interview with the Dey's Vizier at Kasbah, the Dey's palace. They travel onwards to meet the Dey, Omar Pasha, at his hunting-lodge at Shatt el Khadna. The Dey invites Maturin to hunt lions with him. The Dey kills a large lion while Maturin kills its lioness as it leaps to them, saving the Dey's life. For this deed, Omar Pasha swears that no gold will sail from Algiers, and gives Maturin one of his rifles as a parting gift. Jacob befriends Ahmed Ben Habdal, who reveals that Pasha sent a contrary message to the Sheikh of Azgar, to have the gold carried by a fast-sailing xebec from Arzila, near Tangiers, captained by an Algerian corsair via the Strait of Gibraltar straight to Durazzo. Maturin and Jacob go into Algiers, as Maturin needs to share this news with Aubrey. Maturin buys two Irish children in the slave market. Once he sees the Ringle windbound off shore, they engage a local vessel to put them aboard Ringle. Before leaving, they learn Pasha is killed, and replaced by Ali Bey, who says he prefers the British.

Reade updates them on the damage sustained by Surprise during the fierce storm. They join Aubrey in Port Mahon, and speak with Admiral Fanshawe. Aubrey agrees that he must pursue the xebec. They encounter Hamadryad under old friend Heneage Dundas, who tells them that Lord Barmouth is in place of Lord Keith. Aubrey fears Barmouth might stop him from completing Lord Keith's orders. In Gibraltar, Maturin tells Aubrey not to worry, because Peter Arden, colleague to Maturin, is Barmouth's political man. Barmouth does tell Aubrey to take his broad pennant down, as his squadron is dispersed. Later, Barmouth is joined by his new wife, who he learns is a cousin to Aubrey. On his return, Aubrey finds Barmouth friendly to him, as Barmouth wanted his wife with him. Before leaving for this battle, Maturin leaves the twin children with Lady Keith.
Dr Jacob learns the corsair has two galleys to act as decoys whilst he lies under Tarifa before running through the Strait. The Surprise, Ringle and the blue cutter lie in wait in the Strait. The galley sees three armed ships, and Murad Reis, her captain, fires on the frigate, destroying the second gun of her starboard broadside, and killing Bonden, the coxswain, as well as Hallam, a midshipman. After a long pursuit, the galley holes up at Cranc (Crab) island, where Surprise and Ringle, unable to follow the galley into the shallow lagoon, block the exit. A gun from the Surprise is hoisted up a cliff, where it can fire unopposed on the galley. The galley's men, seeing the situation is hopeless, behead Murad and surrender. Returning victorious to Gibraltar, the Surprise sees the town exploding fireworks, and learns that Napoleon has lost in Belgium, fully beaten. Ali Bey sends word he wants the gold; he is killed and the new Dey, Hassan, admits the xebec fired first, and asks for a loan to consolidate his position in Algiers. The xebec is cleaned up and sent to Algiers, while the gold is shared out in Gibraltar. Barmouth worries that his new wife is too friendly with Aubrey, so he sends him off to the venture in Chile.

The Hundred Days

Wednesday, 14 June 2017 07:39 am
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In the past two books we saw Jack being in and being very much out of money. This leaves us to wonder about what will happen next.

Let us find out when what Insidian has to say when we take on

The Hundred Days, Insidian-Style

at the weekend.

This also means that we have nearly come to a close.

But first, let us read.

The Yellow Admiral - Insidian Style

Friday, 9 June 2017 06:58 pm
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The plot summary of The Yellow Admiral curtesy of wikipedia

Aubrey, captain of HMS Bellona in the Brest blockade after his squadron was dispersed, is home at Woolcombe, the Aubrey family estate, on parliamentary leave. Three law suits from owners of slave ships captured on his mission along the West African coast tie up his funds. His wife Sophia rents out Ashgrove Cottage, their marital home. Maturin returns from Spain with his wife Diana and their household, moving into an empty wing of Woolcombe. Maturin's vast wealth is tied up in Spain, where authorities are displeased at his activities in Peru, a Spanish colony. On land, Aubrey opposes the enclosing of the common, Simmons Lea, which has been proposed in the House by his neighbour, Captain Griffiths. Aubrey has powers as lord of the manor, which he uses when the bill is called for its third reading. The admiral on the Brest blockade is uncle to Griffiths, and he encouraged the enclosure. Admiral Stranraer calls Aubrey back aboard, hoping to prevent Aubrey's appearance at the meeting of the Parliamentary committee. Aubrey is watching a boxing match between Barret Bonden and Evans, Griffith's gamekeeper, when the orders arrive from the admiral. Diana intercepts them, sending Mrs Oakes to tell Aubrey to proceed directly to Parliament from the match. Aubrey does not see the orders until he reaches home. Lord Stranraer is displeased; he sends HMS Bellona to the inshore blockading-squadron, a more difficult task. Aboard the flagship, Maturin receives letters for his covert mission in France. The Admiral tries unsuccessfully to use Maturin to change Aubrey's mind.

At the dark of the moon in heavy fog, Aubrey puts Maturin ashore in France to meet the Catalan agent, Inigo Bernard. Apparently at the same time, two French ships slip through the blockading squadron in the sector that HMS Bellona patrols. The Admiral rebukes Aubrey, who accepts no blame, and returns Bellona to the offshore squadron. Aubrey receives a letter from Sophie, in which she accuses him of adultery and announces her intention of leaving him, having read letters sent him from Canada by Miss Amanda Smith. Aubrey is spoiling for a fight. During manoeuvres in foggy weather the Bellona spots a French privateer chasing a merchantman. She signals to the fleet, and proceeds to take Les Deux Frères, which proves a rich prize, having captured two Guinea coast merchant ships. A storm batters the Bellona, so Aubrey takes the ship for repair in Cawsand Bay. Aubrey goes to Woolcombe to ask Sophie for forgiveness, but she rebuffs him. Aubrey sends his tender Ringle to report Bellona's condition to the Admiral. The Admiral then sends Ringle to retrieve Maturin from France. Once Bellona is repaired, Aubrey rejoins the blockading squadron, learning that Ringle has taken Maturin to England. In London, Maturin tells Sir Joseph Blaine about a plot by a Spanish intelligence officer to burgle Blaine’s house. With the assistance of Mr Pratt, they capture the Spanish agent red-handed. Maturin updates Sir Joseph on the readiness of Chile for independence. They devise a scheme for an expedition led by Aubrey on the Surprise. The negative reports from Lord Stranrear with the war winding down put Aubrey in the position of being promoted to rear admiral without a squadron, known informally as being admiral of the yellow, as there is no yellow squadron; Aubrey considers this the worst career fate, so he makes a plan to avoid it. Maturin learns his fortune is again available to him. In a gesture to his shipmates, Maturin buys new clothes.

Maturin goes to Woolcombe, where Diana tells him of the issue between Sophie and Jack. She and Clarissa have enlightened Sophie as to the possibility of enjoying sex, even suggesting that she have her own affair. Sophie writes a letter of reconciliation to her husband, which Maturin carries aboard. The letter makes Aubrey ebullient. Admiral Stranraer requests Maturin's medical advice, as he is bedbound; Maturin suggests use of medicines unfamiliar to the flagship's surgeon, to good effect. The Bellona finds the inner squadron fighting two French ships of the line. Upon seeing the Bellona and Grampus, the French ships retreat. For months, the Bellona sweeps the bay, blockading Brest. Maturin tells Aubrey of his plan for Chile, to which Aubrey agrees. The Queen Charlotte comes to visit the inner squadron, with a stores ship to replenish food. The Admiral thanks Maturin for his treatment. The Admiral informs his captains of the progress in the war on land, where Napoleon is making errors.
The peace is announced; Napoleon is exiled to Elba. The crew of the Bellona are paid off and the ship goes into ordinary storage. Aubrey and Maturin read newspapers to learn world events while they were blockading Brest, adjusting to peace. They agree to a plan with the three men from the Chilean independence movement. Aubrey requests suspension from the Navy List, and is put on loan to the hydrographic office. Maturin finances the fitting-out of the Surprise, which takes until February 1815. They sail to Madeira with their families aboard. After a brief time on the island, their families will take the packet home. Instead, Lord Keith, commander-in-chief in the Mediterranean, sends orders to Aubrey reinstating him because Napoleon has escaped from Elba. Aubrey takes command of the Royal Navy ships in the harbour of Madeira to blockade the Straits of Gibraltar.
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