A British whaler has been captured in the Friendly Isles, and Captain Jack Aubrey is dispatched with the Surprise to restore order. But a female convict who escaped from the penal colony in New South Wales has stowed away in the cable-tier. To the officers, Clarissa Harvill is an object of awkward courtliness and dangerous jealousies. Married to one of the men on board, she continues to scratch the itches of her husband's messmates and creates a lot of trouble. Even Aubrey struggles with his own attraction to this woman who will not speak of her past. Only Aubrey's friend, Dr. Stephen Maturin, can fathom Clarissa's secrets: her crime, her personality - and a clue identifying a highly placed English spy in the pay of Napoleon's intelligence service.
The fifteenth installment of Patrick O'Brian's hugely successful Aubrey/Maturin series.
"The best historical novels ever written." (The New York Times Book Review)
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