being in need of a replacement mainmast, Jesamiah finds himself reluctantly kicking his heels in the Royal Navy port of Gibraltar.
His wife, Tiola, is happy to spend time relaxing and enjoying the sunshine and stunning views, but the conniving antagonist, Ascham Doone, who wants Jesamiah out of his way, has other ideas. Ideas which could lead both Jesamiah and Tiola to the gallows.
With Jesamiah press-ganged into the Navy and Tiola at Doone's vicious mercy, there is no one to rescue them…
Or is there?
Excerpt : chapter 5 (unedited draft version)
At Sea - off the English Coast
Curiosity was not one of Jesamiah's faults, especially when it involved taking onboard people he did not know and did not want to know. If whoever it was desired a free passage to Bideford he could bide his time on deck. There was no code that decreed a ship's captain had to be polite to irritating and unwelcome passengers.
To add to his annoyance, as he stepped into his cabin Tiola was dressed and about to throw a cloak around her shoulders.
"You can take that off and sit yourself down, young miss. I told you, it's cold out there, and you are not well."
Ignoring him, she wound a shawl over her head and opened the door. "I need fresh air Jesamiah. I'll stay in the waist, not go for'ard or on the quarterdeck. No steps or ladders."
Sighing, Jesamiah retrieved his hat and coat which he had tossed on to the table, already cleared of the breakfast debris. "I'd better come with you then."
Tiola reached up to place a delicate kiss on his cheek. "Don't be silly, I will be perfectly all right. Look here's Finch with coffee for you."
She ducked out as Finch came in, pre-empting any more protests. Jesamiah meant well but she wanted to be alone, wanted the fresh, crisp, air that might clear her aching head and give her a chance to think.
"You fuss more'n a mother 'en you do." Finch stated. " Leave the lass be, she needs a bit o' space round her."
"When I want your advice I will ask for it. Does that liquid you're pouring actually have any coffee in it? Or does it taste as revolting as it looks?" For all his grumbling, Jesamiah took the proffered cup and sat at the desk shaped into the curve of the bulk head - light oak wood to match the rest of the panelling, with oak leaves and acorns carved here and there. This cabin was one of the things that had attracted him to the ship in the first place, that and she was the most beautiful vessel he had ever seen. He had won her in a card game, although he had ended up stealing her for the owner had gone back on his word.
Water under the bridge now. The man was dead, and Sea Witch was unequivocally Jesamiah's. As much a part of him as his soul.
"Gallows Wake" by Helen Hollick
"Hollick deftly weaves magic with history to create a spellbinding account of Blackbeard's last days, leaving the reader filled with awe, remorse, wonder, and horror."
Editor, Pirates and Privateers
"Helen Hollick's writing is very rich and lush. I'm very impressed."
Author of spellcrackers.com fantasy novels