O’Brian, Patrick: (13) The Thirteen Gun Salute (spoilers)

SPOILERS for The Thirteen Gun Salute; here’s the non-spoiler post if you got here by mistake.

Is this the worst cliffhanger to date? I can’t remember anything so bad. That must have been epic levels of bad for those who had to wait for the next book’s publication.

What I meant about the structure: the failed pursuer and Fox, personalities changed for the worse by life circumstances; Inaccessible and the uncharted reef; and there was something else, too, but I can’t remember what without re-reading the book now. I think it had something to do with the nasty nature of intelligence work.

Speaking of which, I can’t believe Stephen did that! A co-worker who’s currently listening to the series asked me whether he actually killed them, I think because it’s oblique and so very nasty that it’s hard to believe.

Unfortunately, the next one made me cross and had me put off logging them, so now I can’t remember what I should about this one. Except, of course, hell of a cliffhanger.


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  1. I used to recall the details of this one much better than I do now (details fade, alas, even when you’ve read something several times), but I do recall being fairly confident that yes, Stephen did kill them. He can be quite the man of blood in certain circumstances. Cf., e.g., his getting rid of the French agent in Diana’s hotel room, as well as his “duel” near the end of _Nutmeg_ (which I see you’ve read, so it’s not spoiling you to allude to it).

  2. Trent, I have read _Nutmeg_, but not everyone who reads these individual posts will have–that’s why I posted them separately, not together.
    What you wrote isn’t specific enough to be a spoiler, but please keep that in mind in the future.
    Anyway, the conversation between Van Buren and Maturin upon arrival of the bodies:
    “Have you arranged this with the Vizier, Maturin?”
    “I have, too. He said that the court was in no way concerned; that the protection had been publicly and specifically withrawn and notified to Duplessis; and that we might do whatever we pleased. But he was sure that we would be discreet — that there would be no recognizable remains.”
    Which I think is conclusive; it was more the emotional effect that I was remarking on, not jsut of the killings but the subsequent dissections. (Ick.)

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