• Jack Aubrey, Stephen Maturin, and Diana Villiers are all passengers aboard HMS Shannon and recently escaped from Boston.
• Aubrey fights in Shannon's victory over USS Chesapeake, which now accompanies Shannon on her voyage into Halifax, Nova Scotia.
• Word of the recent British victory spreads like wildfire and the town and environs erupt in a tumultuous celebration.
• Aubrey is repeatedly invited to recount the battle from his own perspective.
• Celebrations continue unabated for weeks, and Aubrey is something of a local hero.
• Letters from home bear the depressing news that Aubrey's business agent.
• Maturin delivers copies of Johnson's voluminous papers to Beck, the local intelligence officer.
• Maturin obtains a certificate of safe passage for Villiers, who is an English-turned-American citizen, and America is a belligerent nation.
• Maturin buys Villiers an expensive gown and she plans to attend adorned with her famous Blue Peter diamond.
• Harry Johnson gives Villiers...
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