Desolation Island - Chapter 1 Summary & Analysis

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Chapter 1 Summary

Captain Jack Aubrey takes command of HMS Leopard, a fourth-rate ship-of-the-line with a tarnished history. He sets sail for Botany Bay, Australia, for the dual purpose of transporting criminals to the penal colony and thereafter to reinstate the infamous governor William Bligh following political revolt. In the event, Aubrey accomplishes neither. Leopard is pursued by a Dutch opponent and, subsequent to victory, crashes into a submerged iceberg. Half of the crew deserts while Aubrey and the faithful struggle to make landfall on Desolation Island where repairs are made as Stephen Maturin intrigues with an American spy.

The novel opens with English Post-Captain Jack Aubrey appointed to the Sea-Fencibles and living a life of dissipation ashore, pursuing huge losses at the gaming table, purchasing vastly expensive and under-performing racing horses, and funding expensive quack schemes to extract precious metals from ancient slag heaps. Sophie...

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This section contains 977 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Desolation Island Study Guide
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