1. What ship is Aubrey in command of at the beginning of the book?
Aubrey is in command of Surprise, a letter of marque or private man-of-war.
2. Who is the Surprise's first lieutenant and what is his qualification?
Surprise's first lieutenant, Tom Pullings, is a volunteer Royal Navy officer. Pullings is a post-captain without appointment.
3. Why is the man in question #2 on the Surprise?
He has little chance of gaining a naval command of his own due to lack of political or financial influence and needs additional money to support his wife and growing family.
4. What is Aubrey and Pullings' relationship and how are they similar?
Aubrey and Pullings are long-time shipmates and close personal friends; both men are exceptional sailors and warriors.
5. Who owns the Surprise and what kind of work does the owner do?
The ship Surprise is actually owned by Stephen Maturin, a natural philosopher and surgeon of great wealth and prestige.
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