• Captain Jack Aubrey is assigned ashore right now and is blowing through the riches he made on his last sea assignment.
• He seems to be able to find every false get rich quick scheme and card sharks in the area.
• His wife asks his friend Maturin is he couldn't get Aubrey a posting somewhere and sent back to sea. It would save the family fortune.
• When Maturin visits he finds his friend living well and losing money at a prodigious rate.
• Aubrey tells Maturin that he will be commanding the HMS Leopard soon to sail to Botany Bay.
• His purpose in going there will be to reinstate the infamous governor William Bligh, of HMS Bounty fame.
• Maturin replies that the Leopard is an old, rotten ship in terrible shape. Aubrey assures him it is being completely overhauled.
• Aubrey invites Maturin to go with him but his friend...
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