Hello again. I hope you’re enjoying this alphabetic look at some of my novels. It’s fun to try and find the posts to share with you.
Today is Day 16 and the letter is P. I’ve decided to talk about pirates. Piracy isn’t something that’s only in the past. Today we have book pirates who steal from legitimate authors as well as those who still ply the seas as they did in days of old. Somali pirates for instance pose a clear and present danger to ships off the coats of Africa. The Maersk Alabama, a container ship immortalized in o in Paul Greengrass’s critically acclaimed film, Captain Phillips described the modern day ship-jacking.
Many of us have romantic illusions about pirates based on films like Johnny Depp’s Pirates of the Caribbean series, but in truth, the pirates of old were men and women to be feared. In The Captain’s Promise, Etienne plans to smuggle Danielle out of France and to safety, but fears the potential danger of pirates.
Etienne, garbed all in black, his hair loose, his face shaded by the wide-brimmed slouch hat he wore, sat at a table in the far corner of the Faucon d’Or, a tavern on the left bank of the Seine, in one of the more infamous sections of the city. He’d been there almost two hours, pretending to drink more than he actually had. Four of his most trusted men were scattered among the crowd, ready to come to his assistance should it be required. Two others were in back with the proprietress. On the table in front of him sat a pewter stein of ale and the remnants of a capon he’d consumed.
He continued to mull over the words Beauclair had spoken earlier in the day. There were very few of those sailing with him whom he didn’t know well. Leo, the doctor, his newest crew member, had been with him only two years, but he trusted him implicitly. The man had saved his life. Since each of the others had been hand-picked from among his own soldiers, Etienne didn’t see how they could be the problem. No. If there was a rat, he was aboard another ship. Possibly, they’d be preyed upon by pirates in coastal waters—either when they reached the New World or coming up from the Barbary Coast. For a price, the Barbary pirates would take on any unsavory chore. He couldn’t risk being captured by them. They dealt heavily in the slave trade, and white women, like the crew’s wives, daughters, and Filles du Roi, especially a woman as beautiful as Danielle, would be a great prize for them. If he were to change course, he’d have to go north, not south.
He thought of the corsairs, funded by those who sought to see the venture fail. They were supposed to protect the Belle Rose. They were heavily gunned, and he didn’t trust Valois or Lemieux. The informant could easily be a member of the crew aboard one of those ships. It would be a simple matter to slip aboard his vessel one night if they were moored within hailing distance. Maybe he’d be wise to lose his escorts while he could.
He’d been spending the last few nights in a room upstairs, pretending to be a merchant from Toulon in Paris to restock his supplies. Three wagons of goods sat in the stable guarded by four of his crew members. The supplies were for the ship, and provided an excellent cover. Hidden under a few bales of fabric and bags of dry goods were several casks of powder and heavy shot for the cannons, far more than anyone knew the ship carried. If someone were going to ambush him, he and his men would be ready to fight. He’d discussed the matter with his senior officers, and they’d agreed to give their escorts the slip. The ocean was vast, and they could take a few liberties with their heading. As well, although it would take an extra week or so, they could go to Martinique first. He’d acquired the necessary charts, just in case, and the men had taken on additional food and water. At the moment though, his ship was the last thing he should be focusing on.
That’s it. Come back tomorrow for the letter Q!
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Have a great day!