A Reissued Classic Thriller - In this Higgins adventure classic, an Allied spy operation is suddenly jeopardized just as it's about to discover Rommel's plans for defeating the D-Day invasion.
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December 22, 2003
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Excerpt from Cold Harbour by Jack Higgins
There were bodies all around, clear in the moonlight, some in lifejackets, some not. Way beyond, the sea was on fire with burning oil and as Martin Hare lifted on the crest of a wave, he saw what was left of the destroyer, her prow already under the water. There was a dull explosion, her stern lifted and she started to go. He skidded down the other side of the wave, buoyant in his lifejacket, and then another washed over him and he choked, half-fainting as he struggled for breath, aware of the intense pain from the shrapnel in his chest.
The sea was running very fast in the slot between the islands, six or seven knots at least. It seemed to take hold of him, carrying him along at an incredible rate, the cries of the dying faded into the night behind. Again he was lifted higher on a wave, paused for a moment, half blind from the salt, then swept down very fast and cannoned into a liferaft.
He grabbed at one of the rope handles and looked up. A man crouched there, a Japanese officer in uniform. His feet were bare; Hare noticed that. They stared at each other for a long moment and then Hare tried to pull himself up. But he had no strength left.
The Japanese crawled forward without a word, reached down, caught him by the lifejacket and hauled him on to the raft. At the same moment the raft spun like a top, caught by an eddy, and the Japanese pitched headfirst into the sea.
Within seconds he was ten yards away, his face clear in the moonlight. He started to swim back towards the raft and then behind him, cutting through the white froth between the waves, Hare saw a shark's fin. The Japanese didn't even cry out, simply threw up his arms and disappeared. And it was Hare who screamed, as he always did, coming bolt upright in the bed, his body soaked in sweat.
* * *
The duty nurse was McPherson, a tough, no-nonsense lady of fifty, a widow with two sons in the Marines fighting their way through the islands. She came in now and stood looking at him, hands on hips.
"The dream again?"
Hare swung his legs to the floor and reached for his robe. "That's it. Who's the doctor tonight?"
"Commander Lawrence, but he won't do you any good. Another couple of pills so you'll sleep some more like you've slept all afternoon already."
"What time is it?"
"Seven o'clock. Why don't you have a shower and I'll lay out that nice new uniform for you. You can come down to dinner. It'll do you good."
"I don't think so."
He looked in the mirror and ran his fingers through the unruly black hair that was streaked with grey, although at forty-six you had to expect that. The face was handsome enough, pale from months of hospitalisation. But it was in the eyes that the lack of hope showed, no expression there at all.