Chapters 1, 2, and 3
• Commodore Horatio Hornblower is recuperating from typhus.
• Hornblower accepts a commission from Lord St. Vincent to quell and recapture a ship whose crew commits mutiny.
• Hornblower realizes that he can't use force and asks for, and is given, broad discretionary powers to deal with the mutineers.
• Hornblower parts from his wife.
Chapters 4 and 5
• Hornblower is on the Porta Coeli; the sister ship of the mutineer's ship, the Flame.
• The Porta Coeli is taking him to the French port city of Le Havre, near where the Flame is currently.
• As they near the coast, they spy a French West India merchant ship, a rich prize.
• Hornblower tries to negotiate with the mutineers, only to learn that they try to bargain with the French.
Chapters 6 and 7
• After speaking to the mutineers, Hornblower comes up with a plan.
• Hornblower has the Porta Coeli refitted and disguised to look like...
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