A new Sea Witch Nautical Adventure has recently been launched!
The Sixth Voyage of Captain Jesamiah Acorne
By Helen Hollick
Where the Past haunts the future…
Damage to her mast means Sea Witch has to be repaired, but the nearest shipyard is at Gibraltar. Unfortunately for Captain Jesamiah Acorne, several men he does not want to meet are also there, among them, Captain Edward Vernon of the Royal Navy, who would rather see Jesamiah hang.
Then there is the spy, Richie Tearle, and manipulative Ascham Doone who has dubious plans of his own. Plans that involve Jesamiah, who, beyond unravelling the puzzle of a dead person who may not be dead, has a priority concern regarding the wellbeing of his pregnant wife, the white witch, Tiola.
Forced to sail to England without Jesamiah, Tiola must keep herself and others close to her safe, but memories of the past, and the shadow of the gallows haunt her. Dreams disturb her, like a discordant lament at a wake.
But is this the past calling, or the future?
From the first review of Gallows Wake:
“Hollick’s writing is crisp and clear, and her ear for dialogue and ability to reveal character in a few brief sentences is enviable. While several of the characters in Gallows Wake have returned from previous books, I felt no need to have read those books to understand them. The paranormal side of the story—Tiola is a white witch, with powers of precognition and more, and one of the characters is not quite human—blends with the story beautifully, handled so matter-of-factly. This is simply Jesamiah’s reality, and he accepts it, as does the reader.”
Author Marian L. Thorpe.
Enjoy an excerpt picked by Helen:
It was a hard choice to select which scene to use as an excerpt, but I decided on the opening of Chapter Four. My lead character, Captain Jesamiah Acorne’s ship, Sea Witch needs repairing, which Jesamiah is not happy about. He is joined in a Gibraltar tavern by Ascham Doone – which he is even unhappier about.
In a previous Voyage in the series (Ripples In The Sand) much of the adventure takes place in North Devon, near Exmoor, which is where R.D. Blackmore set his famous novel, Lorna Doone – so I blatantly borrowed the name and invented some fictional descendants. I had great fun with the Doones – they make ideal enemies for my Jesamiah!
“A bit of bad luck, I hear?”
Jesamiah looked up from trying to read the top page of a pile of papers, a scrawled tally sheet of figures for the estimated repair cost. He squinted through the fug of tobacco smoke at the fastidiously dressed young man who, uninvited, sat down opposite, and making himself comfortable, set his hat and cane on the table. He slid the empty platter which had hosted Jesamiah’s breakfast of gammon and a rather tasty apple chutney, to one side.
“None of your business, Doone.” Jesamiah wiped a damp ring of spilt coffee from the table with his coat sleeve and set the papers down. Pointedly did not wave the potboy over to fetch more coffee for his unwelcome companion.
Ascham Doone ignored the rudeness, called for a fresh pot. He picked up the pile of papers and glanced through the column of figures on the top sheet, raised one eyebrow. “Rather a hefty bill.” He shuffled through the bundle, glancing at estimates and diagrams, his left eyebrow rising even higher. “Is all this work to repair your ship necessary?”
It was not, but Jesamiah had no intention of sharing his thoughts with this upstart.
Doone shrugged, tapped the sheaf of papers together to make a neat pile, but clumsily dropped them to the floor. He bent, retrieved them, tidied them again and handed them back to Jesamiah.
“He is cheating you, Acorne.”
Folding the pages and stuffing them into his coat pocket Jesamiah glowered. He had never liked this arrogant pop-cock and did not particularly appreciate being told the obvious. “I want the job done quickly. It pays to overpay. And since when have you known about the cost of repairs to a ship?”
Ascham Doone was near the same age as Jesamiah, mid-twenties, although he looked much younger – a youth in his first flush of maturity, but there any similarity ended. The only grandson of Sir Ailie Doone, self-styled Earl of Exmoor, Ascham revelled in the position of arrogant superiority that he held, or fancied he held, over lesser mortals. A position aided by his clandestine lieutenancy to England’s Spymaster General, Lord Harley, and his personal, wholly private, ambition of replacing the old fool when opportunity arose.
Doone felt in his pocket for his pipe and tobacco pouch, said as he filled the bowl with sweet-scented Virginia, “I am expected to do the accounts for my grandfather when I am at home. John Benson also handles our shipping repairs. I am surprised your mast has suffered damage, he should have spotted it whilst attending your vessel after it ran aground near Appledore – what, four, five months back?” He puffed at his pipe, sending a cloud of blue-grey smoke upward to join the drifting cloud loitering beneath the low roof beams; the ceiling boards in between were a dirty yellow. Added, “But then, I have always considered Benson to never quite stand on the right side of honesty. I would take the issue up with him, were I you, when you return to North Devon.”
Jesamiah was tempted to respond that he had no intention of returning to Devon, or England. Aside from that, Benson was the most honest man he knew, and it would have been almost impossible to predict the damage after the events of that dreadful night, but he decided against wasting his breath on pointless verbal sparring with this obnoxious scut.
He did say, however, “You know perfectly well that Sea Witch foundered in a storm. The man who holds your leash, Harley, ensured the militia were waiting for us ashore and your own father was conveniently murdered in the fight which followed. Nor have I yet decided how much you were behind it all, not Harley.”
Doone narrowed his eyes into mere slits. “Are you suggesting that I arranged for your ship to run aground? I find that an insulting accusation. Deliberate wrecking is a hanging offence.”
Jesamiah was suggesting precisely that but staring back, his features expressionless, he shook his head, did not want to enter into an argument that he would never win against this man who twisted everything to suit his own advantage. He had better things to do this day.
SEA WITCH Voyage one
PIRATE CODE Voyage two
BRING IT CLOSE Voyage three
RIPPLES IN THE SAND Voyage four
ON THE ACCOUNT Voyage five
WHEN THE MERMAID SINGS A prequel to the series (short-read novella)
And just published…
GALLOWS WAKE voyage six
Amazon Author Page (Universal link) https://viewauthor.at/HelenHollick
Where you will find the entire series waiting at anchor in your nearest Amazon harbour – do come aboard and share Jesamiah’s derring-do nautical adventures!
(available Kindle, Kindle Unlimited and in paperback)
Or order a paperback copy from your local bookstore!
ABOUT HELEN HOLLICK
First accepted for traditional publication in 1993, Helen became a USA Today Bestseller with her historical novel, The Forever Queen (titled A Hollow Crown in the UK) with the sequel, Harold the King (US: I Am The Chosen King) being novels that explore the events that led to the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Her Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy is a fifth-century version of the Arthurian legend, and she writes a nautical adventure/fantasy series, The Sea Witch Voyages. She is now also branching out into the quick read novella, ‘Cosy Mystery’ genre with her Jan Christopher Murder Mysteries, set in the 1970s, with the first in the series, A Mirror Murder incorporating her, often hilarious, memories of working as a library assistant.
Her non-fiction books are Pirates: Truth and Tales and Life of A Smuggler. She lives with her family in an eighteenth-century farmhouse in North Devon and occasionally gets time to write…
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