Read The Guns of Tortuga Online

Authors: Brad Strickland,Thomas E. Fuller

The Guns of Tortuga

The Guns of Tortuga

If you purchased this book without a cover, you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher, and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.”

“QUIET!” HUNTER SHOUTER IN A VOICE OF COMMAND THAT MADE BOTH OF US HUSH

He then said, “Later we'll have a council of war. But the first thing to do is get the ship safely to sea!”

Already sails were dropping and filling with the night breeze, and already the
Aurora
was gliding away from the wharf. The moon went behind a cloud. I heard, or imagined I heard, the clatter of hooves from somewhere ashore. But if it was Steele, or Steele's men, they were too late. The
Aurora
and those who sailed on her were safe.

At least for the moment.

Read all of the Pirate Hunter stories.

Book One: Mutiny!

Book Two: The Guns of Tortuga

Book Three: Heart of Steele
(coming soon)

 

Affectionately dedicated to my middle son, Anthony Ramón Fuller

—Thomas E. Fuller

And to Amy, “the pirate's daughter”

—Brad Strickland

http://www.piratehunter.info

If you purchased this book without a cover, you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher, and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.”

This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real locales are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author's imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

First Aladdin Paperbacks edition March 2003

Text copyright © 2003 by Brad Strickland and Thomas E. Fuller

Illustrations copyright © 2003 by Dominic Saponaro

ALADDIN PAPERBACKS
An imprint of Simon & Schuster
Children's Publishing Division
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020

www.SimonandSchuster.com

All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.

Designed by Debra Sfetsios

The text of this book was set in Minion.

Printed in the United States of America

2 4 6 8 10 9 7 5 3 1

Library of Congress Control Number 2002108582

ISBN 0-689-85297-5
ISBN 13: 978-0-689-85297-8
eISBN 13: 978-1-439-10463-7

The Guns of Tortuga PROLOGUE

Under the Pirate Flag

MY NAME IS DAVID SHEA,
though I make do with “Davy.” When my mother died of smallpox in March, 1687, I was sent to Port Royal, Jamaica, where my uncle Patrick Shea was a surgeon. In truth, we had a rocky beginning, but before long my uncle decided to make me his apprentice.

Two of his patients impressed me. The first was Sir Henry Morgan, the famous old sea dog. Though he had aged and become merely an ailing politician and planter, he filled my head with tales of buccaneers and booty. The second patient was Lieutenant William Hunter of His Majesty's Navy, recovering from grave wounds he had got fighting
Captain Jack Steele, the fearsome pirate.

When Lieutenant Hunter went back to sea, aboard the Navy frigate
Retribution,
my uncle shipped as surgeon, and I went as his loblolly boy. That meant, as I learned, a doctor's assistant. To my horror, Hunter led a mutiny against the stern Captain Brixton. He and the mutineers, including my uncle, were captured and sentenced to death.

But on the very day they were to hang, the twenty-odd mutineers escaped, and I was swept along with them, like a leaf in a windstorm. Days later we met Sir Henry Morgan once again. He gave us more men, nearly two hundred hardened old sailors, and the fine French-built frigate
Aurora.
Only then did I learn the truth: Hunter and my uncle were not really pirates, but pirate hunters. They had become mutineers as a disguise, so they could search out and sink the pirates that plagued American waters.

And sure, I joined with them, for an orphan like me had nowhere else to go. It was a fine life.

At least, it was until the morning we met the murderous big Spanish warship….

Broadsides


ROUSE YOURSELF,
lad! That bloody fool Hunter is going to get us all killed, and I don't want you to miss it!”

My uncle Patch stood roaring in the open door-way, tall, massive, and looking as well groomed as an unmade bed. Groggy and disoriented, I tumbled out of my hammock and onto the scrubbed deck of the
Aurora'
s sick berth, for Uncle Patch—or Patrick Shea, to give him his proper name—was the surgeon of the vessel and I was his servant, the loblolly boy.

From the deck above, I could hear the pounding of boots and bare feet and the rolling of the
drum as the crew rushed to their battle stations. This had happened before. In September 1687, Captain William Hunter had taken the
Aurora
from the former buccaneer Henry Morgan and had set out in it to be a pirate. Or so all the world thought. We on the ship knew that she was actually a pirate hunter, and her goal was to bring to justice Jack Steele, a deadly enemy to King James II of England and to all of His Majesty's ships and subjects.

Now it was January, 1688, and since September, we had taken five Spanish privateers, all of them small vessels that had given up without firing so much as a shot. The
Aurora'
s fame was growing, and it was Hunter's hope that before long Steele would come to believe we were pirates and so would let down his guard.

“Hurry, Davy,” snapped my uncle again. “This time Hunter's caught a tiger, and he will neither let go of it nor show it a clean pair of heels!”

I shook my head and tried to clear it. In the distance, something that sounded like thunder boomed in across the sea. The shouts from above were now loud with laughter. I wondered about our crew, some of them navy men but most of
them middle-aged retired buccaneers, friends of Henry Morgan's. What was it about danger that made them laugh so much?

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