In response to the interest of millions of Patrick O'Brian fans, here is the final, partial installment of the Aubrey-Maturin series.
Blue at the Mizzen ended with Jack Aubrey getting the news of his elevation to flag rank: Rear Admiral of the Blue Squadron, with orders to sail to South Africa. The next novel, unfinished and untitled at the time of the author's death, would have been the chronicle of that mission, and much else besides. The three chapters left on O'Brian's desk are presented here. Though tantalizingly incomplete, these pages prove that O'Brian's humor, powers of observation, and understanding of his characters were undiminished to the end.
"Captain Aubrey, sailing his ship somewhere in the Elysian Seas, has anchored awhile to salute his creator. In the prescribed navy manner, the yards are hoisted cockbilled, the flags and pennants droop at half-mast; cannon boom out the salute, while on board, perhaps, the hands are mustered, black is the colour of the day, swords are reversed, and maybe the Dead March is played. It will not last long. There will be another tide to catch, another wind to profit by; she will not lose a minute. The man may be gone, but Surprise and her well-known crew will sail on forever in our hearts."—Geoff Hunt, cover artist for the Aubrey-Maturin novels