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U.S. Exploring Expedition linguist Wiki Coffin sails with the famous convoy of ships toward Brazil, where he faces a whole new set of trials and tribulations, not the least being blamed for the sudden grave illness of a fellow crewman. But soon his own fate will be the least of his problems. As the great flagship Vincennes leads the convoy under the dubious command of eccentric captain Charles Wilkes toward a dramatic entrance in the port of Rio, careless maneuvering leads one of the vessels to run afoul of a Salem trading ship. The trader is owned and commanded by none other than the famous and larger-than-life Captain William Coffin, father to Wiki and sailor of all seven seas (plus another dozen or so he's managed to invent in his years of telling tall tales). The encounter sets in motion a series of chaotic events that reunite Coffin with his illegitimate half-Maori son and that will see two men dead, Captain Coffin on trial for murder, and Wiki working feverishly to unmask the real killers before the Expedition sails on-leaving his father at the mercy of an unforgiving Brazilian court.