I read this book about 30-Jul-2005. I've read this book before. The book is copyright 1986. This note was last modified Tuesday, 06-May-2014 13:23:29 PDT.
This is book 11 of the "Aubrey-Maturin" series.
This note contains spoilers for the book.
Spoilers YES. YES! Very definitely yes. You have been warned.
Jack is a bit surprised to discover he has a grown son. Who is a black "Papist" clergyman. Still, he's a fine young man. Will this cause trouble with Sophie? He brought out a letter from her, and everybody thinks he looks "just like" Jack except for being black, having dark kinky hair, and a different nose; so Sophie probably knows the relationship. On the other hand, he's from before Jack had ever met Sophie.
(In fact, Sophie acts extremely kindly about Sam Panda; she says she thought him a fine young man, hopes he visits, and would like the children to know him. And she flushes slightly before saying this. We don't even get a hint of Jack's relief or pleasure, either; we just get Sophie's somewhat indirect statement.) These books really do require one to be paying attention.
Diana and Stephen are estranged, she having run off with Jagiello when she heard the rumor of his running around with the red-haired beauty in the Mediterranean. He sent a letter with Wray, which he reports not delivering, claiming she'd already left. However, Stephen discovers that Wray is a traitor, a fact the rest of us have known for some time.
The second half of the book deals with Aubrey getting tricked into playing the stock market in ways that will look like a manipulation scam in conjunction with other things being arranged. He also involves his father, and that's probably part of the plot (in fact his father is perhaps more of a target than Jack is, since he's a radical member of parliament actively opposing the government). He is in fact arrested, tried, and convicted, pilloried, and dismissed the service. This is a bad thing for him. Luckily Stephen has inherited from his godfather, the third richest man in Spain or some such, and he buys the Surprise and gets letters of marque, and installs Jack as captain. Oh, and Wray finally pays his gambling debt. And they're about to take off for the new world on a mission with some diplomatic overtones.
It'll take a couple of more books to finally dispose of Ledward and Wray, as I remember it.