On orders to rescue a nurse in German-occupied Belgium, will Lucky Luke find his way through a spider's web of WWI intrigue?
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January 01, 2010
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Excerpt from Nightingale Man by Jane Toombs
Luke strode away, passed between stone pillars at the entrance to the cemetery and headed down the hill. Sensing movement in the distance, he looked past the ruined church to the woods on the far side of the village. Soldiers in gray-green uniforms, pickelhaubes, and spiked helmets, trotted from the trees into the field.
Huns. A squad of Huns.
Crouching, Luke ran, keeping the church's remaining walls between him and the approaching soldiers. From the cemetery he heard the crackle of the blazing Nieuport. Flames and smoke rose like a beacon. With luck they'd think it was his pyre.
The church's rear door gaped open. Unholstering his Colt, he entered cautiously, his gaze darting over the confusion of charred beams and shattered stone from the collapsed wall. Unable to spot a decent hiding place, he climbed across a fallen timber and dropped to one knee behind a pile of rubble. Sunlight glinted red from a triangle of crimson in the broken stained-glass window beside him.
Front door closed. Rear open. He weighed the Colt in his hand. Time passed. A German shouted commands from the direction of the burning plane. Luke hoped they'd think he jumped to his death before it crashed.
No such luck.
"Du schau in der Kirche nach," a voice ordered. Look in the church.
Damn German thoroughness.
He tightened his grip on the revolver. If they searched they'd find him. The only question was how many he'd take with him. He had five rounds in the Colt, another six in his belt. Most airmen downed behind German lines surrendered. The hell with that.