Fifteen Characters Meme: the answers

Sep. 21st, 2017 11:41 am
el_staplador: Three-quarters crop of Victor from the opening credits sequence of Yuri!!! on Ice (victor)
[personal profile] el_staplador
The characters:

1. River Song (Doctor Who)
2. Eugénie Danglars (The Count of Monte Cristo)
3. Victor Nikiforov (Yuri!!! on Ice)
4. John Tracy (Thunderbirds)
5. Romeo (Romeo and Juliet)
6. Liz Shaw (Doctor Who)
7. Lady Penelope (Thunderbirds)
8. Petrova Fossil (Ballet Shoes)
9. Edmond Dantes|The Count of Monte Cristo (The Count of Monte Cristo)
10. Dorothea Callum (Swallows and Amazons etc)
11. Madame C-|Lady B- (The Comfortable Courtesan)
12. Dickson McCunn (Huntingtower etc)
13. Miss Marple
14. Rudolf Rassendyll (The Prisoner of Zenda)
15. The Dowager Duchess of Denver (Lord Peter Wimsey)


The answers )
submarine_bells: jellyfish from "Aquaria" game (Default)
[personal profile] submarine_bells
After her night spent schmoozing at the local diner, Melanoma returns home and notices that Tangerine is up and awake (finally!). She immediately collapses, exhausted, onto the couch.
Screenshot-107

Meanwhile Tangerine, still hungry, orders some pizza. He heads out the front door in the hope of intercepting the pizza before anyone else (Melanoma, say) can get to it. There he encounters Oliver the Paper Boy dropping off another newspaper to add to the growing mound of papers composting on the front porch. Sensing a potential audience, Tango begins a tirade on the virtues of whiteness. Oliver is not delighted by this.
Screenshot-109

Oliver is still quite young, but he's old enough to recognise bullshit when he hears it. He responds with a counter-argument as the pizza delivery person arrives with Tangerine's breakfast.
Screenshot-110

"Hey matey, do you want this pizza, or would you rather just stand there arguing with the paper boy?"
Screenshot-112

All of a sudden, the pizza is forgotten as Tangerine, Oliver and the pizza chick are overcome by an irresistable urge to perform The Dance Of Horrified Greeting for... a repair person?
Screenshot-114

Screenshot-115

Startled awake, Melanoma concedes that yes, maybe the TV could do with a tune-up or something...
Screenshot-117

Wait, what? That's not a TV repair tool!
Screenshot-118

WOOOP WOOOP WOOOP!
Screenshot-123

WOOOP SCHLOOOP SCHLUUURRRP! There goes the TV...
Screenshot-125

Tangerine bawls his eyes out, weeping for his lost TV, his lost innocence, his missing personality. Without a TV, how will he pass the time now?
Screenshot-128

He recalls his breakfast, still sitting out on the front porch.
Screenshot-130

Melanoma's response to the TV being reposessed is withering. "You idiot! You haven't got the brains God gave a pickled onion. I TOLD you to pay those bills. This is YOUR fault."
Screenshot-132

"Ah well. We'll always have Paris pizza!"
Screenshot-131

Reading: Gemini

Sep. 20th, 2017 09:18 pm
white_hart: (Default)
[personal profile] white_hart
In the final book in Dorothy Dunnett's House of Niccolò series, Nicholas de Fleury returns to Scotland to try to make amends for the damage caused by his earlier actions and to safeguard his family from the enemies who have tried to kill both him and them so many times. For a while, I thought that Gemini was going to be a bit of an anticlimax to the series; several plot threads were resolved at the end of Caprice and Rondo, and Gemini is almost entirely set in Scotland, lacking the exotic locations of the earlier books. Nicholas has also changed and grown, and in Gemini is tackling the task of learning to care for people, and not just for the outcomes of his schemes. However, after a slow start, the novel gathers pace and the psychological drama is more than a match for the drama of any of Dunnett's other novels; there were just as many twists and edge-of-the-seat moments, and I found it just as hard to put down. It's a fitting end to the series, and like the ending of Checkmate leaves me wanting to go back and re-read key moments from earlier in the series in the light of the final revelations.

Fittingly, having started reading The Game of Kings on my 40th-birthday trip to Scotland, because I wanted to read something set in Scotland while I was there, I read Gemini while on holiday in Scotland once again. Three and a bit years, 14 books, at least 7,000 pages and an amazing sweep of European and Middle Eastern history in the early modern and late Middle Ages later, I can safely say that it has been one of the most intense reading experiences I've ever had. I can't actually remember who it was who made Dunnett sound intriguing enough for me to give her a try (I suspect it may have been a gestalt entity of friends and acquaintances), but it's been incredible, and in many ways I'm sorry to have come to the end. (I do still have King Hereafter to read, and will probably give the Johnson Johnson novels a try at least, but neither is going to be the same.)
submarine_bells: (hahaha)
[personal profile] submarine_bells
The story so far: Tangerine and Melanoma Hitler are doing their best to survive in a house with no lavatory, beds or fridge... which is a challenge, since they themselves have no charm, intelligence or life-skills.


While Tangerine (who has, you may recall, claimed the only couch in the house) sleeps, Melanoma is overcome by hunger pangs and visits the local diner.
Screenshot-7

But wait! What light through yonder window breaks? Is it Juliet? No, it's a Zombie-American rising up through the footpath while Melanoma dines inside.
Screenshot-8

She finishes her meal and emerges from the diner, only to be accosted by the zombie. She is not in the mood for this shit.
Screenshot-75

"Arrrghh, mmbblgggghhhrrrr! Hey lady, those are awfully tasty looking thighs you have there!"
Screenshot-76

Melanoma snorts disdainfully, spins on her heels and heads straight back into the diner for another cuppa. Clearly it's gonna be one of those days...
Screenshot-80

It seems that the Zombie-American is still waiting for her when she's done with her second coffee. Impressed by her unbelievable body odor, the zombie tries to make friends with her. This is not easy when one's first language is groaning.
Screenshot-104

Zombie: "Okay, arrgghh, mumbbllerrggh, seeya round!"
Melanoma: "I hate my life."
Screenshot-105

Mel decides that this unpleasant encounter might as well be useful for something, so she grabs a pic of the Zombie-American as she departs, with the idea that she may post it on the blog that she's just starting up.
Screenshot-105a

Unfortunately, Melanoma's photography skills are at approximately the same level as the zombie's hygiene skills. Her blog's certainly not gonna go viral this week.

Books

Sep. 20th, 2017 04:16 pm
ghoti_mhic_uait: (Default)
[personal profile] ghoti_mhic_uait
I read a book today which I really liked, but I can't find online. It's called The Princess And The Broken Heart revised by Smaul the Troll. It's almost a Sleeping Beauty retelling and almost a Snow White retelling. I love that genre and this one has another trait that I love - it doesn't assume anyone is irredeemable. Consider this statement about the evil stepmother queen 'Now, Leonora was not born cruel, and she had never been mean, but she had taken up a terrible way of thinking that consumed her like a fire'. The copy I picked up feels like it has a bit missing, because it talks about puzzles that the reader solved, and there weren't any that I noticed, but apart from that, it's a lovely story about love and change.

But autumn is upon us and I am feeling better enough that I've caught up to my Goodreads challenge of the year (which is just the same as last year rounded up, and I was a couple of books behind, having got loads ahead in the spring).

I also noticed that two years ago, I read a lot of dross that I picked up in the library, and last year I read mostly recommendations and it went a lot better, and this year I've read almost entirely recommendations and presents, and have enjoyed a lot more. I think I've been too busy reading random stuff that wasn't very enjoyable to listen to you lot.

So, here's my question - what's a book that 'everyone's read' that you would recommend? Imagine I've been living under a rock for the last ten years.

My contribution is 'The Bray House' by Eilís Ní Dhuibhne . It's Irish post apocalyptic fiction, and it's super popular in Ireland, the sort of book you find in guesthouses &c throughout the land. It's also brilliant.

The Sims 3 as Therapy

Sep. 20th, 2017 04:56 pm
submarine_bells: (hahaha)
[personal profile] submarine_bells
It's been a rather frustrating week or two, what with one thing and another. So I decided to vent some of my frustrations via The Sims. Using a fairly high profile couple as inspiration, I attempted to create more-or-less lookalike sims, and then picked traits that I deemed appropriate to them. His traits were fairly straightforward to come up with; but for her I had to guess a bit more, since the person she's based on maintains a fairly enigmatic public facade. And so I give you:

The Travails of Tangerine Hitler and Melanoma Hitler

Tangerine & Melanoma Hitler

Since this supposed to be a cathartic exercise, it wouldn't do to have things go too smoothly for Mr & Mrs Hitler. I've set them up in a basic starter home, but removed a few, um, optional extras. For example, their house has no lavatory. It also lacks a fridge and has no beds. But they have a couch and a TV, so surely they'll cope, right? Lets find out!

My self-imposed rules are this: the sims themselves set the pace. Most of what they do is entirely generated by them. If they have wishes, then I'll attempt to fulfill them (or at least, the wishes that appeal to my sense of whimsy). If they seem to develop an interest, I may nudge them further in that direction; and I'll occasionally push them into going outside and saying hello to other sims in the neighbourhood. The rest is up to them. Lets see what happens.

As soon as they arrive in their new abode, Tangerine makes a beeline for the bathroom mirror for a nice inspiring round of pose-a-rama, while Melanoma chats up the local Furry then checks out the offerings on TV:
Screenshot-6

Screenshot-4

Screenshot-5
This seems to be a bit of a theme for Tangerine. Whenever he's bored or unhappy, he immediately decamps to the bathroom to admire himself in the mirror. When he's within eyeshot of it there is no dragging him away from its magnetic allure. Who needs cocaine when you can admire your own reflection for hours on end?

Eventually the thrill wears off a little and he rejoins Melanoma on the couch. She's starting to feel a bit tired and cranky by this time. "Whyever did it seem a good idea to buy a house without beds?" she wails. "All we have is this crummy old couch!" Tangerine rudely ignores her.
Screenshot-20

Before long Tangerine is feeling a bit sleepy as well. Being a caring, sharing sort he tells Melanoma "This is MY couch! Off you go. I wanna get some sleep now."
Screenshot-26

This is not received well:
Screenshot-27

"You're a charmless, mannerless peasant!"
Screenshot-45

"...And your genitalia are charmless, too!"
Screenshot-44

Overcome with fatigue and humiliation, Tangerine proceeds to wet himself...
Screenshot-66

...And then fall asleep in the puddle on the floor.
Screenshot-61

Does Melanoma succumb to temptation and give him a good swift kick? Does their relationship survive this contre-temps? Tune in for the next thrilling episode and find out!

Lunches

Sep. 19th, 2017 11:02 pm
ghoti_mhic_uait: (Default)
[personal profile] ghoti_mhic_uait
On Wednesdays we are out all day, so I make packed lunches. Except tomorrow, because this evening I put a bunch of stuff on the table (including a roast chicken and a bowl of boiled eggs) and the children made their own.

Judith has chicken, carrot sticks, dried mango, rice cakes, crisps, mini cinnamon rolls and jelly. Andreas has eggs, carrot sticks, dried mango, bread (plain), fruit winder, crisps and jelly. It'll do. (I've got sushi rice, eggs, chicken, mixed chopped veg and hummous, some mixed dried fruit and jelly.) We'll all drink water.


In other news we watched Toast, the autobiography of Nigel Slater, yesterday. It actually just covers the first half of the book, his childhood, and I was touched by how sympathetically it portrayed even the people he didn't really like, I'd recommend it whether or not you read the book.
submarine_bells: jellyfish from "Aquaria" game (Default)
[personal profile] submarine_bells
Remember my grumble last Friday about having a kidney infection? Well, they sent a sample of my pee off to the lab last week to culture it and find out what my kidney's been colonised by, and it came back showing Klebsiella. Yuk. So I've been on antibiotics since then, and while I'm no longer peeing in distubing shades of apricot and orange, I'm still in as much pain as I was when all this started. Since it hasn't shown much sign of clearing up, I had an ultrasound done of my infected kidney yesterday arvo, which showed nothing particular of note. When I discussed the ultrasound results with my GP this morning he was a bit surprised that I'm still in such strong pain after nearly completing a course of antibiotics, and thinks it's possible (though by no means certain) that there might be something else going on, such as a kidneystone that isn't showing up on the ultrasound. So the current plan is this: when I finish the current course of antibiotics (today) we'll switch up to something stronger, and if there's no clear improvement in my pain levels by the end of the week I'll have a CAT scan to see what is going on (which should hopefully show up anything that the ultrasound missed).

Gah. Not happy Jan. The last time I had a kidney infection (with bonus kidneystones) it wound up with me ambulanced off to hospital, and as a result of the infection my left kidney has so much scarring damage that it looks like the top chunk of it has been gnawed off by a beaver. This new kidney infection is in my right kidney. I will be quite peeved if I wind up with TWO damaged kidneys at the end of all this.

In which I play with the cool kids.

Sep. 18th, 2017 08:48 am
ghoti_mhic_uait: (Default)
[personal profile] ghoti_mhic_uait
This summer I have spent a lot of time wandering around Europe with my family, and a small amount of time playing with exciting people, but they were particularly exciting people. [personal profile] forestofglory visited, for example, and we had Friday night dinner and talking.

Then there was Bärli's parent's 40th anniversary. Bärli's family are so lovely. At one point there was a bit of a clash of understanding between Bärli's mother and Andreas, and both of them said to me they were worried the other would think they didn't respect them. But it was OK. And the whole family is so lovely and welcomign to us.

This weekend was [profile] huskyteer's birthday. Huskyteer is one of those people who is just so cool I can't imagine why they'd want to talk to me, but of course, also cool enough that they don't even think like that. Anyway, I can't think of a better person to introduce me to my first complete James Bond film (which I greatly enjoyed).

Now it is back to term, and I am doing so much! Band twice a week and karate, and Wednesday home ed stuff, and playdates. Remember how a year ago I was grumbling about never having time for me? Well, my people arranged it so I could, and it's wonderful. Thank you my people! I get two whole hours of cycling by myself, plus band (it's 10 miles away and I get a lift to Friday band but cycle on Sunday).

Rest of life round up:
Eating: sausage ragu with rice, made by the lovely [personal profile] jack
Reading: Just finished 'In My Own Time' by Nina Bawden, her autobiography, which is rather lovely. Her respect and love for the people around her really shines through, and she seems like such a nice person.
Playing: Argo. Not my cup of tea. Littles were playing Stratego, which I also can't get my head around, so I'm glad they have each other to play with.
Watching: Pororo. Cute Korean penguin and friend.

Fifteen Characters Meme

Sep. 17th, 2017 08:14 pm
el_staplador: Can-can dancer; caption 'Oppan can can style' (can can style)
[personal profile] el_staplador
Nicked from [personal profile] lost_spook:

1) Make a list of fifteen characters first, and keep it to yourself for the moment.

2) Ask your f-list to post questions in the comments. For example: "One, nine, and fifteen are chosen by a prophecy to save the world from four. Do they succeed?", "Under what circumstances might five and fourteen fall in love?", "Which character on the list would you most want on your side in a zombie invasion?"

3) After your f-list has stopped asking questions, round them up and answer them using the fifteen characters you selected beforehand, then post them.
el_staplador: TARDIS (tardis)
[personal profile] el_staplador
Someone created Vastra and Jenny's wedding photo, remixing my My Beloved Snake, and Said Unto Me. It is absolutely delightful: period-typical in the best way!

Introducing Mr. and Mrs. Flint-Vastra (The Carte de visite remix) (0 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Doctor Who (2005)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Jenny Flint/Madame Vastra
Characters: Jenny Flint, Madame Vastra (Doctor Who)
Additional Tags: Fanart
Summary:

The wedding photo of the widow Vastra and her young new husband.



I have been watching Kids on the Slope on [personal profile] moetushie's recommendation, and am enjoying it very much thus far. I am a sucker for seaside + nostalgia + music. I have also been watching Izetta: the Last Witch, which ought to be right up my street (Ruritania + loyalty TO THE DEATH + femslashiness) but which for some reason isn't grabbing me in quite the same way.

On the subject of anime, I went to see the Anime Architecture: backgrounds of Japan exhibition (now finished, sorry) at the House of Illustration, and was mostly impressed the sheer detail of the artwork. I hadn't realised how small the backgrounds were in real life; they really repaid standing six inches away and marvelling.

Fictional Characters

Sep. 17th, 2017 03:42 pm
bookwormsarah: (Default)
[personal profile] bookwormsarah
I have been really missing LJ of late, and then I remembered dreamwidth. No idea when the entry below dates from, but it turned up when I opened the posting window, so thought I might as well leave it in...

1. Leave a comment to this post asking for a letter.
2. I will give you a letter.
3. Post the names of five fictional characters whose names begin with that letter, and your thoughts on each. The characters can be from books, movies, or TV shows

Antisoppist gave me E:

1. Eustacia Benson (Chalet School)
In common with many bookwormy children I was almost completely on Eustacia's side from my second reading onwards. Not allowed to use the library for a month? I would have wept. Not allowed to be on your own to read? Dreadful. No wonder she hated the school. I can't decide whether she was actually brainwashed, or just very, very clever and learned to outwardly conform until she was old enough to escape. I imagine her spending her first year at university wandering through the college library at 4am and treating herself to blissful solitary days with books just because she could.

2. Enid ?Nightshade? (The Worst Witch)
I loved The Worst Witch books. I was clumsy, I empathised with Mildred Hubble. I almost picked Ethel Hallow (the first so-evil-she's-actually-fun-if-you-don't-have-to-deal-with-her character I can remember), but I remember how taken I was with the description of Enid's hair (the colour of milky tea), the thick plait worn over one shoulder (Maud had bunches, Mildred long straggly plaits like my own). She was the new girl who disrupted things but turned out to be a good friend, upsetting the equilibrium from the first book, but turning into a loyal ally by the third. Must dig these out of the loft when next at Mum's. [This must have been written several years ago as I have had these books for a while]

3. Eowyn (Lord of the Rings)
She was strong! brave! dedicated and refused to be put into a box because of her gender.

4. Esther (Marlows)
I felt for Esther with all her squirming aching awkwardness and embarrassment.

5. Miss Evangelista (Doctor Who, Silence in the Library)
[I didn't write anything for this, but she was an interesting character - dismissed by the crew and treated so contemptuously, aware of her flaws. I need to rewatch.]

Reading: The Shortest Way to Hades

Sep. 16th, 2017 10:08 am
white_hart: (Default)
[personal profile] white_hart
The Shortest Way to Hades is the second of Sarah Caudwell's Hilary Tamar novels, and is very similar to the first; Hilary, Professor of Legal History at Oxford, is called in by the junior members of the barristers' chambers at 62 New Square to investigate the death of a young woman who was recently involved in a variation of trusts case in which all of them represented various parties, and which they feel was suspicious. Like the first novel, it's entertaining and contains some lovely comic scenes; I particularly enjoyed the account of how Selena, on finding herself present at an orgy, decides that her preferred pleasure is in fact reading the copy of Pride and Prejudice she happened to have in her bag (a woman after my own heart!), and, having an Oxford background, I also very much liked Hilary's justification for not taking part in examining, which was an absolutely pitch-perfect example of the Oxford don's refusal to carry out a disagreeable task couched as a favour to absolutely everyone else. Meanwhile, the mystery was well enough plotted that I didn't come anywhere close to suspecting the real murderer until the final reveal, which is all you can really ask of a mystery, after all.

I think I enjoyed Thus Was Adonis Murdered more, but I'm not sure whether that's because the second book is so similar that I knew exactly what I was going to be getting and there wasn't the pleasure of discovering something new, or if I simply wasn't quite in the right mood for it; I certainly think it's just as good a book.

Here we go again...

Sep. 15th, 2017 02:17 pm
submarine_bells: (backlit)
[personal profile] submarine_bells
No flying for me this weekend. I haz a kidney infection. :-(

Reading: The Mark of the Horse Lord

Sep. 12th, 2017 07:07 pm
white_hart: (Default)
[personal profile] white_hart
Reading Gwyneth Jones put me in mind of Rosemary Sutcliff, and as I'm off to Argyll on holiday soon I thought I would re-read The Mark of the Horse Lord, which is set in Argyll. Unlike most of Sutcliff's novels set in Roman Britain, Phaedrus, the protagonist of The Mark of the Horse Lord, isn't a Roman soldier; instead, he's a half-British ex-gladiator, son of a Greek wine merchant and a slave woman, who lived his whole life as a slave until being freed after winning a fight in the arena. By coincidence, he discovers that he is the exact double of Midir, the exiled prince of the Dalriad tribe, and is persuaded to impersonate Midir and travel beyond the northern boundary of the Empire to lead a rebellion and win back the kingdom of the Dalriads from Queen Liadhan, who has seized the throne and imposed the old matrilineal rule of the Earth-Mother in place of the patrilineal worship of the Sun-God. The plot is not dissimilar to The Prisoner of Zenda, really, as Phaedrus tries to take over another man's life and relationships and learn how to be a king.

This isn't my favorite Sutcliff; Phaedrus is a less sympathetic protagonist than the various members of the family in the Dolphin Ring saga, hardened by the years in the arena as he is, although he does become more sympathetic as the story goes on. I also don't find the society of the Dalriads, beyond the frontiers of the Empire, as interesting as the Roman society depicted in the books set inside the Empire, and, revisiting it now, I also feel that the conflict between the matrilineal and patrilineal societies is probably more nuanced than the book really suggests, and I wish we had got to see Liadhan's point of view as well as Phaedrus's.
ghoti_mhic_uait: (Default)
[personal profile] ghoti_mhic_uait
So, earlier in the year I had a whole lot of blood tests which resolved into 'so you should take this extra strong folic acid and continue to eat horse two or three times a week and exercise immoderately'. And it became obvious that that's exactly what makes me feel physically and mentally a lot healthier so I've been trying to do much better at that, and I got to the point where I felt like I really needed heavier weights. But weights are expensive so I've been dithering, until today I made up my mind that weights now were better than a spinning wheel later for health and happiness, and bought a set of 4kg, 6kg and 8kg dumbbells and I expect I'll want heavier in the future but for now that will do me, and the spinning wheel goal is just set back somewhat further.

SO the nice new heavy weights are in the flapjack muse's workout room, and now we just need to move Jack's weightsbench there and it will be perfect, and I will be all strong and happy and you should feel free to ask me to flex because I will be glad to.

Reading: Rainbow Bridge

Sep. 10th, 2017 05:16 pm
white_hart: (Default)
[personal profile] white_hart
Rainbow Bridge is the fifth and more or less final novel in the sequence Gwyneth Jones began with Bold As Love (there is a sixth book set in the same universe, published several years later, but that appears to be a YA novel with a different main character, rather than part of the main continuity). It begins more or less where the fourth left off, in a near-future, post-oil England which has just been invaded and is under military occupation, and sees Ax, Fiorinda and Sage (Jones's near-future rockstar Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot) playing a complicated game, having to work with the invaders to try to prevent further loss of life and manipulate the global political civilisation to give the world the best possible chance of surviving the coming Dark Age.

It's taken me over a decade to finish this series, despite loving the first two; it took me a while to get round to obtaining a copy of the third, and then I wasn't reading much, because citalopram killed my ability to become absorbed in a narrative, and in any case I was scared to try to face the darkness of Jones's post-catastrophe near-future. I only returned to it after re-reading The Once and Future King left me thinking that the tragedy of the Arthur story could have been avoided if only someone had told them about poly, and I remembered that that's exactly what Jones does here.

Despite reading it so slowly, I have liked the series a lot; the narrative is odd, disjointed in places, and the structure of the novels is somewhat unconventional, veering between affairs of state and the trio's polywobbles, with parts of the political action taking place offstage and merely reported in a way that would drive the advocates of show-don't-tell as an unbreakable rule of writing round the bend, but somehow it works for me. I like the characters, too, even if I have found myself wanting to smack all of the central trio with codfish at multiple points throughout the series. And actually, like Rosemary Sutcliff's novels of post-Roman Britain, which are an obvious influence on Jones (there is a chapter in Rainbow Bridge entitled 'The Lantern Bearers', and a section called 'The Shield Ring'), while the future of these novels is dark and scary and beset with difficulties, it's not a hopeless future; what matters, mostly, is love and loyalty and being able to be flexible in some things while absolutely inflexible in others, and ultimately, it's quite a hopeful book, and ends with Jones's three heroes finally able to settle down in peaceful obscurity, away from the public eye.

Reading: Desolation Island

Sep. 9th, 2017 11:10 am
white_hart: (Default)
[personal profile] white_hart
After finding The Mauritius Command rather sombre and focused more on the mechanics of the campaign than on the characters, I was pleased to find that I enjoyed Desolation Island much more. After some time working for the Navy ashore, Jack Aubrey is given command of the Leopard with orders to take her to Botany Bay and a cargo of convicts, including a spy who Stephen Maturin has been given the task of covertly obtaining information from. As neither Jack nor Stephen has been entirely thriving on land (Jack's fair and trusting nature makes him an easy mark for dodgy tradesmen and card-sharps, while Stephen has been taking more and more laundanam in an attempt to ease his broken heart) this voyage is a good thing for both of them, but after a promising start they are beset with difficulties; an outbreak of gaol-fever (typhus) kills a third of the crew, while several others are left too weak to travel and have to be put ashore in Recife to convalesce. Undermanned and unable to fight his ship effectively, Jack makes for Cape Town where he hopes to be able to recruit more sailors, but encountering a larger Dutch ship in the South Atlantic he is forced to change course and flee far south of the Cape to try to outrun her. The chase through the stormy Southern Ocean is a wonderfully atmospheric piece of writing, as is the Leopard's subsequent desperate limping journey to make landfall at Kerguelen Island (the 'Desolation Island' of the title), while after The Mauritius Command's focus on plot the emphasis is firmly back on character. If I had one gripe, it would be that the mention of Australia as a destination had made me hope to see Stephen encountering a wombatt, but even wombatt-free it's a terrific read.

Profile

thealmondtree: (Default)
thealmondtree

February 2013

S M T W T F S
     12
3456789
10111213141516
17 181920212223
2425262728  

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 22nd, 2017 06:25 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios