Havoc's Sword, the eleventh novel in the acclaimed historical-naval adventure series by Dewey Lambdin, cuts a wide and wicked swath through the privateer-infested waters of the Caribbean.
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Thomas Dunne Books
December 01, 2003
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Excerpt from Havoc's Sword by Dewey Lambdin
Sah?" a voice intruded on his dreams, interrupting a matter of great import, the fate of the ship, of England... something that, at that instant, was but seconds from its penultimate deciding, for good or ill. "Sah, time t'wake, sah."
"Grr... ack!" the dreamer exclaimed, which could have stood for "Ease your helm" or "All Hands to the braces" -- to him, anyway, as the "deck" rocked and shuddered alarmingly. "Whazzuh?" he queried.
"Be almos' four o' de mornin', sah," Coxswain Andrews insisted, using his weight upon a knee to jounce the soft, civilian mattress. A hand was pent in indecision above the hero, as he pondered laying hands on a gentleman... or dashing a ladle of cool water from the laving bowl on his head, then run and blame it on a house-servant!
"But...!" Captain Alan Lewrie, RN, commanding officer of HMS Proteus, Fifth Rate frigate, managed in reply, heavily smacking his lips and creaking one eye open to peruse the ceiling, one which he did not in any wise recognise. Too many damn' cherubs, and such!
"G'mornin', sah," Andrews said.
"Aarrr..." Lewrie commented. It had been such a vivid dream, one which might have been mere seconds from revealing or concluding or fulfilling... something. Whatever it had been, it had left him with a cock-stand worthy of a marlingspike. "Time, is it?"
"Aye, sah," Andrews replied, stepping away from the bed. "Dey be coffee belowstairs, black an' hot, Cap'm. Mistah Cashman, he's up already, an' 'is coachman's gettin' de 'quipage hitched."
"Right, then," Lewrie said with a sigh and a yawn, chiding himself for sharing that third bottle of wine with his host, "Kit," after supper. He should have known better, should have kept a soberer head, and...
Damn that ceiling! Lewrie thought, scowling as he sat up in bed: Eros and arrows, bare-titted shepherd girls, and clouds... thought I was gone over to Heaven for a second or two!
He flung back the single sheet that covered him, swung his legs out to plant his bare feet on the naked wood floor... swayed a bit as the last of the wine fumes rose with him, and belched.