ON THE HORIZON

ship approaching

There, off the bow! The mystery soon to be unraveled, the story told, the plot revealed. CAPTAIN’S CROSS, the first in the historical action/adventure novels to join my previous crime/detective releases is almost here. Part history, part mystery and all fun action packed adventure on the sea and the mountains of the colonial American frontier. Heroes, villains, drama and even a little romance set in the run up to the French and Indian War. And just enough real history to make it ring true.

From the pages of CAPTAIN’S CROSS:

“They have her wedged in, Captain. Driving her into the island.” Ben raced back up to Thomas and took the glass again. Another cannon shot rumble passed over them, much louder now.

Ben looked out at them and said, “A British schooner in trouble. “Looks like a French brig and a sloop pushing her. Let’s get under way and see what we can do. Come down, you have to help on deck.”

They both reached the deck as Wills and Hans shook out the foresail and the lines to the dock were hauled in. Bear took charge at the main and they hauled it up as Annabelle heeled over in the wind and moved away from the dock. Once the sails were set, the men armed themselves and moved to the guns. Ben was at the wheel and told Thomas to get ready to haul up the flag.

“We’ll show the British flag today, but have our Huguenot flag ready to show, too.” The distance to the schooner in trouble closed and Ben had Thomas run up the cross of St. George flag.

“Bear, we’ll cut out the sloop blocking her and then see if we can outrun the brig!”

Bear waved and got the slow match going. Thomas grabbed Draco’s sand bucket and spread some around the cannons on both sides to help the footing. The swivels were both mounted on the quarterdeck and Thomas primed the locks with his powder horn. One of Ben’s pistols was in his belt next to his knife and the short sword.

Not happy with the odds, Ben knew what he had to do. Between the choices of trapped at the dock or running off, his conscience would not let him leave the British warship to die. So they went into it. The French sloop was faster than the British schooner and wouldn’t allow the schooner to turn away from the wind while staying just out of the line of the British starboard guns. Eventually the British captain would have to turn and face the cannons of both ships or run aground. The French were trying to slow him down by shooting at his rigging with the brig’s bow chaser but with little success so far. The schooner was doomed unless Ben could do something.

Ben pointed the bow at the schooner and his speed built as the wind bit into his sails. Speed was his best weapon and his best defense. The men on the deck were straining to see the oncoming ships. Draco was up with his nose in the wind and Thomas saw the hair on his back standing on end and quivering. The French cannon boomed again and they were close enough that Thomas could see crewmen on the schooner and the sloop. The French brig was blocked from their view except for their larger sails visible behind.

Ben turned to Thomas and shouted, “Run up the British red cross, Thomas. Let them know who we are!” Ben’s Huguenot flag joined the British cross at the top for everyone to see.

Ben shouted, “Ready starboard!” Bear now knew what Ben planned. Similar to how they handled the privateer. The French sloop was aft of the British broadside and Ben sailed down the starboard side of the British ship passing close enough for an officer on the quarterdeck to shout through a speaking trumpet at them. They could not make out what he said but it sounded like “Are you insane?”

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