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By David Donachie
The long-awaited go back of the Bucephalas to the security of the Cinque Ports is interrupted by means of a disastrous engagement within the Channel. The looming form of a merchantman becalmed in fog offers a virtually impossible to resist attract. yet for Harry Ludlow and his battle-weary staff, the pursuit of 1 final effortless prize ends up in a determined struggle.
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I need that hole below the waterline plugged, or better still repaired, and I’ll stand as much scraping as you can manage between tides. You can see for yourself that we require new upper foremasts and bowsprit, plus any rigging, sails, and spars I can’t supply myself. ” He raised his hand to spin the astrolabe, then pointed to the stacked timber outside. ” Balthazar Adams opened his mouth to protest, but his father chuckled. And when the son saw the smile on Harry’s face, he couldn’t help but respond.
There’s something right odd about the ships’ flags. ” asked Harry. “All of ’em. ” The pale, early morning sun, now well above the horizon, had turned from silver to gold affecting everything it touched. Even the black sides of the ships of the Channel Fleet were altered as the shiny paint on their massive hulls reflected the light. To a landsman’s eye they might all look alike, different merely in the number of their decks, but to Harry each was familiar, and the sight of these massive vessels always moved him.
Rykert looked up. ” “No, sir, they are not. ” Illingworth nodded to accept the apology. “They have been taken away as prisoners, to be held for ransom. Tressoir also informed me that there is nothing in France to buy my cargo other than worthless assignats. ” “This will be very unwelcome news in Portsmouth, Captain Illingworth. ” “Aye. Cruises in a small corvette. Well armed, of course, but a tub in the sailing line from what I saw of her. He could never have got close to us in any kind of wind.
A Game of Bones by David Donachie