Desolation Island is the 5th book in the Aubrey-Maturin series.

Plot summary Edit

The book begins in Ashgrove cottage, where Captain Jack Aubrey has just purchased a racing horse and invested in a mining operation; he is awaiting his next commission. It is soon reveled that he will be taking command of the HMS Leopard, a ship that is currently being refitted. Aubrey chose the Leopard over a more prestigious vessel, as the other command he had been offered was restricted to action in the Mediterranean under an unfavorable commanding admiral.

At the same time, Stephen Maturin is attempting to get back in touch with Diana Villiers who it is rumored has returned from America. Maturin has fully recovered from his addiction to Laudanum. He finds that Villiers has fallen in with an unfavorable woman by the name of Mrs. Wogan. Before Maturin has a chance to speak with Villiers, he finds she has gotten into legal trouble and was obliged to return to the United States. Mrs. Wogan is convicted of spying for the Americans and condemned to a life in Australia. It is found that she, along with numerous convicts of a lower social status, is to be taken to Australia aboard a naval vessel: the HMS Leopard. Capitan Aubrey doesn’t find out his ship is being used as a transport until just before they set sail (he thinks they are to go take care of a group of mutineers somewhere in the South Pacific). He is very displeased as he finds the assignment unfortunate and the presence of women aboard a fighting vessel (there are three aboard in total) to be both bad luck and a nuisance. To make matters worse, the convicts immediately attack their caretaker, beating him to death.

more to follow....