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By David Donachie

London 1793: younger firebrand John Pearce is illegally pressganged from the shelter of the Pelican tavern to a brutal lifestyles aboard HMS really good, a frigate on its solution to struggle. within the first few days Pearce discovers the military is an international within which he can prosper. yet he isn't on my own; he's interested in a bunch of fellows - fly Charlie Taverner; quiet Ben Walker; drained outdated Abel Scrivens; the bairn of the gang, Rufus Dommet; the droll, difficult Irish laborer, Michael O'Hagan; and the bumptious Gherson - pressed males like him, who ultimately shape an unique gun team, the Pelicans, with Pearce their elected chief. in the course of an action-packed weeks, as HMS incredible chases a French privateer around the English Channel, this disparate workforce of fellows shape friendships that would final a life-time. David Donachie cleverly weaves those fictional characters into real old occasions to supply a compelling and totally soaking up introductory novel.

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Sample text

Give in easy, " the other one added. He was also smiling, and Pearce thought it strange that there was no malice in his look, no desire to inflict pain. " "There's another one getting away, " the commanding voice outside called. "He's in his prime. " Still backing away towards that sound, Pearce emerged into a few feet of clear space, but there was still much wrestling going on at either end of what was no more than a wide alley, lit by the flaming torches of the sailors who closed off each end, allowing through only those that were of no use.

Surely there must also be a door to the outside that did not oblige anyone from that part of the building to make their way through the main tap room. He pushed his way into a space between two groups of men, engrossed in their own talk, in a place that allowed him, back to the wall, to keep his eyes on the main door. Then, elbows employed to increase the available room, he rested his back against the wall, and some of the tension that had sustained him since early that morning drained away. " His neighbour's expression was more arch than angry, for Pearce had forced him to move.

Pearce knew if he stood still he was done for. Raising the wooden lever, he started to swing it over his head, running towards those coming to take him, to try and force a passage, heading slightly uphill and away from the river. The tars fell away on both sides, backs pressed to the wall, leaving what looked like a clear route to freedom, with only a torchbearer to stand in his way, a man who would have to be a fool to try and stop him. What killed his hope of escape was no more than a flash of white below his eye line.

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