Please permit me a personal note: I am sorry not to have been around much in the past two weeks for personal reasons. I intend to remedy that over this weekend. Again, my apologies.
Now for the book.
The plot summary of The Hundred Days
curtesy of wikipedia
Commodore Aubrey's squadron arrives at Gibraltar, where Lord Keith updates him on Napoleon's escape and rearmament. He orders Aubrey first to defend a convoy of merchant ships from Moorish xebecs and galleys, and then to proceed to the Adriatic Sea to destroy any new ships being built to support Napoleon. Maturin, in a separate meeting, is informed of a plot to send sufficient gold through Algiers to fund Muslim mercenaries who would block the Russian forces from joining those of the other allies, so Napoleon's army can attack one army at a time. Aubrey's squadron is successful in defending the convoy. The captain of the Pomone
is haunted by the faces of the slaves used to row the galleys split in half by his ship; Aubrey reports he died cleaning his guns, and a new captain is assigned to Pomone
. The convoy proceeds toward the Adriatic, stopping in Mahón. Asea, they encounter Captain Christy-Palliere, of the Royalist Caroline
and an old acquaintance, who informs Aubrey about the French situation in the Adriatic before parting. Amos Jacob is sent out on Ringle
to Kutali and Spalato to gain more information. Surprise
sails to Ragusa Vecchia where she sinks a French frigate under the command of an Imperialist. Jacob rejoins near Porte di Spalato where they meet another French frigate, whose captain, like so many, does not want to declare for Napoleon but fears he will win. Maturin and Jacob negotiate an agreement to fight a mock battle against both Surprise
; the Frenchman then accompanies Pomone
to Malta. Following up the pressure already put on banks not to loan to the small shipyards, they lay out gold to push disgruntled, unpaid dockworkers to burn new French ships along the coast, which is effective.
Reaching Algiers, they meet the Consul, Sir Peter Clifford, and his wife. Maturin and Jacob attend an interview with the Dey's Vizier at Kasbah, the Dey's palace. They travel onwards to meet the Dey, Omar Pasha, at his hunting-lodge at Shatt el Khadna. The Dey invites Maturin to hunt lions with him. The Dey kills a large lion while Maturin kills its lioness as it leaps to them, saving the Dey's life. For this deed, Omar Pasha swears that no gold will sail from Algiers, and gives Maturin one of his rifles as a parting gift. Jacob befriends Ahmed Ben Habdal, who reveals that Pasha sent a contrary message to the Sheikh of Azgar, to have the gold carried by a fast-sailing xebec from Arzila, near Tangiers, captained by an Algerian corsair via the Strait of Gibraltar straight to Durazzo. Maturin and Jacob go into Algiers, as Maturin needs to share this news with Aubrey. Maturin buys two Irish children in the slave market. Once he sees the Ringle
windbound off shore, they engage a local vessel to put them aboard Ringle
. Before leaving, they learn Pasha is killed, and replaced by Ali Bey, who says he prefers the British.
Reade updates them on the damage sustained by Surprise
during the fierce storm. They join Aubrey in Port Mahon, and speak with Admiral Fanshawe. Aubrey agrees that he must pursue the xebec. They encounter Hamadryad
under old friend Heneage Dundas, who tells them that Lord Barmouth is in place of Lord Keith. Aubrey fears Barmouth might stop him from completing Lord Keith's orders. In Gibraltar, Maturin tells Aubrey not to worry, because Peter Arden, colleague to Maturin, is Barmouth's political man. Barmouth does tell Aubrey to take his broad pennant down, as his squadron is dispersed. Later, Barmouth is joined by his new wife, who he learns is a cousin to Aubrey. On his return, Aubrey finds Barmouth friendly to him, as Barmouth wanted his wife with him. Before leaving for this battle, Maturin leaves the twin children with Lady Keith.
Dr Jacob learns the corsair has two galleys to act as decoys whilst he lies under Tarifa before running through the Strait. The Surprise
and the blue cutter lie in wait in the Strait. The galley sees three armed ships, and Murad Reis, her captain, fires on the frigate, destroying the second gun of her starboard broadside, and killing Bonden, the coxswain, as well as Hallam, a midshipman. After a long pursuit, the galley holes up at Cranc (Crab) island, where Surprise
, unable to follow the galley into the shallow lagoon, block the exit. A gun from the Surprise
is hoisted up a cliff, where it can fire unopposed on the galley. The galley's men, seeing the situation is hopeless, behead Murad and surrender. Returning victorious to Gibraltar, the Surprise
sees the town exploding fireworks, and learns that Napoleon has lost in Belgium, fully beaten. Ali Bey sends word he wants the gold; he is killed and the new Dey, Hassan, admits the xebec fired first, and asks for a loan to consolidate his position in Algiers. The xebec is cleaned up and sent to Algiers, while the gold is shared out in Gibraltar. Barmouth worries that his new wife is too friendly with Aubrey, so he sends him off to the venture in Chile.