Command a King's Ship (The Bolitho Novels) (Volume 6)

Command a King's Ship (The Bolitho Novels) (Volume 6)

Alexander Kent

Language: English

Pages: 352

ISBN: 0935526501

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Spithead, 1784. His Majesty's Frigate, Undine, sets sail for India and the seas beyond. Europe may be at peace—but in colonial waters the promises of statesmen count for little and the bloody struggle for supremacy still goes on.

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hospitable, Mr. Herrick!” Herrick kept his face blank. “I am certain of it, sir.” It was early morning by the time Bolitho had pulled himself wearily into his cot, his mind still reeling from entertaining Capitan Triarte and some of his officers. He had been made to go across to the Nervion where the captain had again made a point of comparing the spacious comfort with Undine ’s over-crowded quarters. It had not helped at all. Now the ship lay quiet again, and he tried to picture Mrs. Raymond

fat merchantman, eh?” Davy had arrived on deck. “But no, it is not possible.” Herrick followed Bolitho down from the shrouds and watched him dubiously. “Shall we join in the chase, sir?” Mudge almost pushed him aside as he barked, “Chase be damned, I say!” They looked at him. “We must stop that mad Don, sir!” He waved his big hand across the nettings. “Off Cape Blanco, sir, there’s a powerful great reef, an’ it runs near on a ’undred miles to seaward. Nervion ’s in risk now, but if ’er

Penn moved slightly to place his lieutenant between him and any possible damage. Herrick laughed aloud. “By God, young Penn has the right idea, sir!” He peered up at the streaming pendant. “The wind is still kind, and this is putting new heart into our people.” Bolitho watched him gravely. Later they would talk about it. But when it was happening, to you, to those around you, it was pointless to discuss anything. You never really knew the man in action. Pride, anger, insanity, it was there, and

pleased!” Bolitho was watching the black shapes of the topmen as they climbed cautiously up the vibrating ratlines. The wind flattened them occasionally against the shrouds, so that they hung motion- less before starting up again for the topsail yards. Mudge yelled, “Th’ quarter boat ’as carried away, sir!” No one paid any heed, and Herrick spluttered in spray before saying, “There goes the foretops’l, sir! Those lads are doing fine.” Something dropped amongst the taut rigging before falling

under. Herrick said dourly, “The damned Frog will be laughing at us. Sitting in harbour under that bloody pirate’s guns.” Bolitho looked at him thoughtfully. The same idea had only left him occasionally, and that when he had needed all his thoughts elsewhere. To parley with the French captain was one thing. To accept that he was serving under Muljadi’s flag meant far more. It would be an open admission of failure. An acceptance that Muljadi’s sovereignty did exist. If Conway agreed to the

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