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Authors: Alexander Kent

Band of Brothers

BOOK: Band of Brothers
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Table of Contents
This eBook is copyright material and must not be copied, reproduced, transferred, distributed, leased, licensed or publicly performed or used in any way except as specifically permitted in writing by the publishers, as allowed under the terms and conditions under which it was purchased or as strictly permitted by applicable copyright law. Any unauthorised distribution or use of this text may be a direct infringement of the author’s and publisher’s rights and those responsible may be liable in law accordingly.
Epub ISBN: 9781409062172
Version 1.0
Published by Arrow Books in 2006
1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2
Copyright (c) Bolitho Maritime Productions 2005
Alexander Kent has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work
This novel is a work of fiction. Names and characters are the product of the author’s imagination and any resemblance to actual person’s, living or dead, is entirely coincidental
This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser
First published in the United Kingdom in 2005 by Heinemann
Arrow Books Limited
The Random House Group Limited
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Random House Australia (Pty) Limited
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New South Wales 2061, Australia
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Random House (Pty) Limited
Isle of Houghton, Corner of Boundary Road & Carse O’ Gowrie,
Houghton 2198, South Africa
The Random House Group Limited Reg. No. 954009
A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
Papers used by Random House UK are natural, recyclable products made from wood grown in sustainable forests. The manufacturing processes conform to the environmental regulations of the country of origin
ISBN 0 09 943632 9
ISBN-13 978009943 6324
Printed and bound in Great Britain by
Bookmarque Ltd, Croydon, Surrey
The stirring story of the life and times of Richard Bolitho is told in Alexander Kent’s bestselling novels.
1756
Born Falmouth, son of James Bolitho
1768
Entered the King’s service as a Midshipman on
Manxman
1772
Midshipman,
Gorgon
(
Midshipman Bolitho
)
1774
Promoted Lieutenant,
Destiny
: Rio and the Caribbean (
Stand into Danger
)
1775 - 7
Lieutenant,
Trojan
, during the American Revolution. Later appointed prizemaster (
In Gallant Company
)
1778
Promoted Commander,
Sparrow
. Battle of the Chesapeake (
Sloop of War
)
1780
Birth of Adam, illegitimate son of Hugh Bolitho and Karenza Pascoe
1782
Promoted Captain,
Phalarope
; West Indies: Battle of Saints (
To Glory We Steer
)
1784
Captain,
Undine
; India and East Indies (
Command a King’s Ship
)
1787
Captain,
Tempest
; Great South Sea; Tahiti; suffered serious fever (
Passage to Mutiny
)
1792
Captain, the
Nore
; Recruiting (
With All Despatch
)
1793
Captain,
Hyperion
; Mediterranean; Bay of Biscay; West Indies. Adam Pascoe, later Bolitho, enters the King’s service as a midshipman aboard
Hyperion
(
Form Line of Battle!
And
Enemy in Sight
)
1795
Promoted Flag Captain,
Euryalus
; involved in the Great Mutiny; Mediterranean; Promoted Commodore (
The Flag Captain
)
1798
Battle of the Nile (
Signal - Close Action!
)
1800
Promoted Rear-Admiral; Baltic; (
The Inshore Squadron
)
1801
Biscay. Prisoner of war (
A Tradition of Victory
)
1802
Promoted Vice-Admiral; West Indies (
Success to the Brave
)
1803
Mediterranean (
Colours Aloft!
)
1805
Battle of Trafalgar (
Honour This Day
)
1806 - 7
Good Hope and the second battle of Copenhagen (
The Only Victor
)
1808
Shipwrecked off Africa (
Beyond the Reef
)
1809 - 10
Mauritius campaign (
The Darkening Sea
)
1812
Promoted Admiral; Second American War (
For My Country’s Freedom
)
1814
Defence of Canada (
Cross of St. George
)
1815
Richard Bolitho killed in action (
Sword of Honour
) Adam Bolitho, Captain,
Unrivalled
. Mediterranean (
Second to None
)
1816
Anti-slavery patrols, Sierra Leone. Battle of Algiers (
Relentless Pursuit
)
1817
Flag Captain,
Athena
; Antigua and Caribbean (
Man of War
)
1818
Captain,
Onward
; Mediterranean (
Heart of Oak
)
Also by Alexander Kent
Man of War
Midshipman Bolitho
Stand Into Danger
In Gallant Company
Sloop of War
To Glory We Steer
Command a King’s Ship
Passage to Mutiny
With All Despatch
Form Line of Battle!
Enemy in Sight!
The Flag Captain
Signal - Close Action
The Inshore Squadron
A Tradition of Victory
Success to the Brave
Colours Aloft!
Honour This Day
The Only Victor
Beyond the Reef
The Darkening Sea
For My Country’s Freedom
Cross of St George
Sword of Honour
Second to None
Relentless Pursuit
Man of War
For you, Boo, with my love.
Contents
1
The Way Ahead
Midshipman Richard Bolitho threw up one hand to shade his eyes, surprised by the fierce, reflected glare from the water alongside. He waited while two seamen lurched past him half carrying, half dragging, some bulky objects wrapped in canvas toward the open deck and the hard sunlight. After the semi-darkness of
Gorgon
‘s between decks, it only added to his sense of unreality.
He calmed himself.
Another day
. For most people, anyway.
He glanced down at his uniform, his best. He wanted to smile. The
only
uniform that would pass muster and avoid criticism. He flicked off several strands of oakum which he had collected somewhere along the way from the midshipmen’s berth, his home in
Gorgon
for the past year and a half.
Was that really all it was?
He took another deep breath. He was ready; and it was not just another day.
He walked on to the main deck, adjusting his mind to the noise and outward confusion of a ship undergoing the indignities of a badly needed overhaul. Chisels and handsaws, and the constant thud of hammers in the depths of the hull, while elsewhere men swarmed like monkeys high above the decks, repairing the miles of standing and running rigging which gave life to a fighting ship and the sails that drove her. And now it was almost finished. The stench of tar and paint, the heaps of discarded cordage and wood fragments, would soon be a cursed memory. Until the next time.
He gazed across the nearest eighteen-pounders, black muzzles at rest inboard of their ports, still smart, disdaining the disorder around them. And beyond, to the land, hard and sharply etched in the morning light: the rooftops and towers of old Plymouth, with an occasional glitter of glass in the sun. And beyond them the familiar rolling hills, more blue than green at this hour.
He tried not to quicken his pace, to reveal that things were different merely because of this particular day. The new year of 1774 was barely a few days old.
But it
was
different.
Some seamen flaking down halliards glanced at him as he passed. He knew them well enough, but they seemed like strangers. He reached the entry port, where the captain was piped aboard and ashore, and important visitors were greeted with the full ceremonial of a King’s ship. Wardroom officers were also permitted here, but not a midshipman, unless on duty in his proper station. Richard Bolitho was not yet eighteen, and he wanted to laugh, to shout, to share it with someone who was free of doubt or of envy.
Out of the blue and with less than a few days warning, the signal had arrived: the appointment every midshipman knew was inevitable. Welcome, dread, even fear: he might receive it with all or none of these emotions. Others would decide his fate. He would be examined and be subject to their decision, and, if successful, he would receive the King’s commission, and take the monumental step from midshipman to lieutenant.
He watched a schooner passing half a cable or so abeam, her sails hard in the wind, although the waters of Plymouth Sound were yet unbroken, a deep swell lifting the slender vessel as if it were a toy.
‘Ah, here you are, Mr. Bolitho.’
It was Verling, the first lieutenant.
BOOK: Band of Brothers
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