Dewey Lambdin presents a new short story starring the most colorful captain of the Royal Navy, Alan Lewrie.
Capt. Lewrie of the HMS Reliant has been stuck in Nassau Harbor, biding his time after ferreting out pirates on the coast of Spanish Florida. Until, that is, one of his brig sloops comes into harbor with an unexpected cargo of survivors from an American brig. Their ship, the Santee out of Charleston, South Carolina, has been taken by a Spanish privateer far down in the Bahamas near the Crooked Island passage.
With this news of more pirates at large, Lewrie has a chance to get out of dodge, have some fun, and maybe even capture a prize. But he's about to learn that there's another, much boozier side to the Americans' story.
As this is only available as an ebook, if you do not own one a brief teaser is available below.
Author: Dewey Lambdin
Title: Lewrie and the Hogsheads
Series: Alan Lewrie Naval Adventures
First Published by: Thomas Dunne Books
Date: 25 December 2012
An Excerpt from 'Lewrie and the Hogsheads' by Dewey Lambdin, Copyright © 2012 Dewey Lambdin, reproduced here with the publishers permission.
"Damme, but this is boresome," Captain Sir Alan Lewrie, Baronet, muttered to himself as he took the morning air on his quarterdeck, at anchor in West Bay of Nassau Harbour. Being the temporary, and most unwilling, Senior Naval Officer Present in the Bahamas was turning out to be a dullity, and a constant round of paper shuffling and ink smudges, to boot. His fine 38-gun Fifth Rate frigate, HMS Reliant, had been anchored and idle since the Admiral commanding at Antigua far to the South, had sent orders appointing him to the command.
Reliant, in point of fact, was anchored just about where HMS Mersey, the former flagship of the recently disgraced Commodore Francis Forrester, had been, atop Mersey's reef of beef and pork bones and all her ordure. . . . For God's sake, Reliant was so idle that she had awnings rigged over the quarterdeck, and it was his inherited brig-sloops and small vessels Below the Rates which were doing the interesting work patrolling for enemy privateers or the first sight of the rumoured French squadron under Admiral Missiessy, said to be raiding the isles down South.
"For tuppence, I'd weigh anchor and go lookin' for him, come Hell or high water," Lewrie told Bisquit, the ship's dog, which padded along beside him. "What say ye t'that, hey?"
Bisquit perked his ears erect and nuzzled Lewrie's left knee.
"Didn't think so," Lewrie said with a sigh. "I leave harbour, and all Nassau'd shit their breeches."
He looked shoreward to the town, which hadn't changed one whit since the night before, then peered North over low-lying Hog Cay to the glittering open channel, where he really longed to be. The local fishing boats were out, and there was a brig-rigged vessel just visible, hull-down, sailing down the Nor'east Providence Channel, bound for port. No enemy, no threat, no excitement.
Lewrie had done several time-killing laps of his ship, from the stern taffrails to the forecastle and back, but loath as he was to go below and deal with the day's paperwork, there was no avoiding it. Perhaps when he was done he could take a good long nap.
"Well, the expenditures seem above-board, sir," Reliant's Purser, Mr. Cadbury, allowed after hemming and hawing over the chits submitted by the Pursers of several other ships of the squadron. Loath as he was to speak ill of a fellow Purser, Mr. Cadbury had become, willing or not, the final arbiter of his peers' honesty in their dealings. Pursers were not universally demeaned as "Nip-Cheese" for nothing, or people who could "make dead men chew tobacco." Few of them died in debtors' prisons or poverty—only the honest ones.
"Rather a lot o' salt-beef for such a wee ship as Squirrel, though, ain't it?" Lewrie asked, squinting dubiously. "And where on Eleuthera did they find that much?"
"Several of her casks had gone over, sir, and were condemned," Cadbury explained. "The tropic heat? To obtain fresher, they had to pay dear."
"And sell the bad on the sly to planters t'feed their slaves?" Lewrie posed with a quizzical brow up.
"Well, sir, I don't know the final disposition of . . ." Cadbury began to quibble, but he was interrupted by a shout from the Marine sentry guarding the great-cabin door.
"Midshipman o' th' watch, Mister Grainger, SAH!"
"Come!" Lewrie called back, eager for anything to bring him to full wakefulness; all the "bumf" had half-glazed his eyes over.
"Sir!" Grainger said as he entered the great-cabins, hat under his arm, and approached the desk in the day-cabin. "Fulmar is entering port, sir, and she's flying 'Have Survivors Aboard.'"
"Survivors of what?" Lewrie gawped, sitting more erect. "Send her 'Captain Repair On Board,' Mister Grainger, and I will be on deck directly."
"That's enough for today, Mister Cadbury," Lewrie said, rising from his desk. "Enough for a fortnight, more-like. Perhaps you should only report the worst, and most suspect, expenditures to me from now on. I trust you with the King's Shillings."
"Very well, sir," Cadbury replied, sounding much relieved.
I don't, really, but Pursers will be Pursers, Lewrie thought; and there's little I can do about their ways.
"Hat and coat, Pettus," Lewrie bade his cabin steward. "Then, we'll see what Fulmar's turned up."