Louisa Wogan

From WikiPOBia

Jump to: navigation, search

Louisa Wogan is a fictional character who appears in the Patrick O'Brian novels Desolation Island and The Fortune of War.

SPOILER WARNING:  Plot or ending details for "Desolation Island and The Fortune of War"  follow.

Wogan is an American intelligence agent who makes her first appearance in Desolation Island. She is a native of Maryland, but could pass for English, having spent a great deal of time in Europe. She is described as slender, black haired, and between twenty-five and thirty years old, but still "retaining her bloom." Several other characters remark upon her physical resemblance to Diana Villiers, with whom she is friends.

Wogan's intelligence activities apparently consisted of fraternizing with, and using her physical charms to become intimate with highly-placed individuals, from whom she would plumb useful information. She is caught in London passing English secrets to her American antecedents, and is convicted of espionage and sentenced to death. English authorities come to believe that Wogan used Diana Villiers as a conduit for passing at least some of her information to the Americans, and they suspect Villiers with complicity in Wogan spying activities. These suspicions appear to have some basis in view of Villiers' American citizenship and her co-habitation with a wealthy American, Harry Johnson. Johnson, it is later learned in The Fortune of War, actually is involved in the direction of American intelligence activities, and is one of Wogan's intelligence chiefs.

Wogan's death sentence is commuted to transportation to Botany Bay after the intercession of the Duke of Clarence -- one of a multiplicity of Wogan's high-placed "bed fellows." She is to be transported to Botany Bay aboard HMS Leopard under the command of Jack Aubrey, with Stephen Maturin acting as ship's surgeon. After Leopard's departure, it is discovered that one of Wogan's lovers, Michael Herapath, has stowed away aboard the ship to be with her. Herapath, who is ignorant of Wogan's character as an intelligence agent, later becomes Maturin's assistant surgeon. Exploiting Herapath's blind devotion to Wogan, Maturin manipulates the unwitting Herapath into delivering a large volume of intentionally erroneous intelligence to Wogan. Wogan, as Maturin confidently expected, later delivers the poisoned intelligence to her chief. Wogan, in The Fortune of War, learns of the bogus nature of this intelligence and initially suspects Jack Aubrey and then Stephen Maturin as its source.

Wogan's apparent intimate relationship with Harry Johnson in The Fortune of War acts as one of the final catalysts to Diana Villiers's seeking Maturin's help in escaping the United States and leaving Johnson.

Personal tools