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Authors: Craig Parshall

Missing Witness

BOOK: Missing Witness
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HARVEST HOUSE PUBLISHERS

EUGENE, OREGON

The Scripture quotation in chapters 8 and 69 is from 1 Samuel 1:27 and is taken from the New King James Version. Copyright ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

The Scripture quotation in chapter 18 is from 1 Corinthians 15:55 and is taken from the King James Version of the Bible.

The Scripture quotation in chapter 70 is from Jonah 1:3 and is taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION
®
. NIV
®
. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by the Inter-national Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

The Scripture verse later in chapter 70 is paraphrased by the author from Matthew 11:28.

Cover by Left Coast Design, Portland, Oregon

Cover photo © Michael Aw/Photodisc Green/Getty Images

This novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. It is the intent of the author and publisher that all events, locales, organizations, and persons portrayed herein be viewed as fictitious.

MISSING WITNESS

Copyright © 2004 by Craig L. Parshall

Published by Harvest House Publishers

Eugene, Oregon 97402

www.harvesthousepublishers.com

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Parshall, Craig, 1950-

Missing witness / Craig Parshall.

p. cm. — (Chambers of justice ; bk. 4)

ISBN 978-0-7369-1175-7 (pbk.)

ISBN 978-0-7369-6041-0 (eBook)

1. Chambers, Will (Fictitious character)—Fiction. 2. Inheritance and succession—Fiction. 3. Seaside resorts—Fiction. 4. North Carolina—Fiction. 5. Smuggling—Fiction. I. Title.

PS3616.A77M57 2004

813'.54—dc22

2003020632

All rights reserved.
No part of this electronic publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, digital, photocopy, recording, or any other—without the prior written permission of the publisher. The authorized purchaser has been granted a nontransferable, nonexclusive, and noncommercial right to access and view this electronic publication, and purchaser agrees to do so only in accordance with the terms of use under which it was purchased or transmitted. Participation in or encouragement of piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of author's and publisher's rights is strictly prohibited.

Dedication

To the memory and heroism of my distant ancestor, Elias Parshall—a ship's captain in the 1700s in the American colonies who defeated an attack by pirates along the West Indies trade route and saved both his ship and his grateful passengers.

And to my mother and my father, who passed on to me an appreciation for the mysteries of the water—whether the oceans, wild and untamed…or the placid lakes of northern Wisconsin.

Contents

Dedication

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Chapter 44

Chapter 45

Chapter 46

Chapter 47

Chapter 48

Chapter 49

Chapter 50

Chapter 51

Chapter 52

Chapter 53

Chapter 54

Chapter 55

Chapter 56

Chapter 57

Chapter 58

Chapter 59

Chapter 60

Chapter 61

Chapter 62

Chapter 63

Chapter 64

Chapter 65

Chapter 66

Chapter 67

Chapter 68

Chapter 69

Chapter 70

Chapter 71

Chapter 72

Chapter 73

Chapter 74

Chapter 75

Chapter 76

Chapter 77

Chapter 78

About the Author

A Note from the Author

The Chambers of Justice Series

1

November 22, 1718

Naval Battle near Ocracoke Island off the Coast of North Carolina

I
SAAC
J
OPPA WAS NOT THINKING ABOUT
the criminal charges against him. Not now. Instead, it was a question of living—or dying.

Down in the belly of the ship—a large, triple-masted man-of-war called
Adventure,
bristling with heavy cannons—Isaac and the other men could hear the sounds of a ferocious battle being waged up on the deck above them. It would be the bloodiest fifteen minutes of naval warfare ever fought off continental American shores.

They could hear the explosion of pistols overhead, the mad clanging of swords, and the scuffling of feet, followed by the dull thuds of bodies as they fell. And there were the screams of men—hideous and tortured cries—that rose up from those who were wounded and dying.

Joppa was one of the few occupants of the pirate ship still remaining down in the hold. He was standing in the stairway—poised to run topside. But he hesitated.

Though he was only twenty-four years old, he looked older. During the past twelve months, he had lived with the treacherous gang of the most feared pirate in the British colonies. That had transformed him. His time at sea had creased his face, and the sun made his skin dark and leathery—and the terror of the company he had kept had given him a gaunt, harrowing look.

The young man knew that the captain of the
Adventure,
Edward Teach, was up on the top deck. From the Carolinas, across the Spanish Main, and all the way to England, Teach was known as the feared and ruthless
Blackbeard. Now he was ferociously exchanging blows, slashings, stab wounds, and pistol fire with sailors from Britain's Royal Navy.

Joppa had no way of knowing which way the battle above him was turning. But for him, time was running out.

He clutched at something hidden in his shirt. He quickly pulled out a small ceramic plate—only slightly bigger than a doubloon. He frantically studied the miniature portrait of the blond-haired beauty that was painted on the plate, memorizing her delicate ivory features. If Isaac Joppa was going to die, then he wanted her image to be the last thing that occupied his mind's eye.

“You run now, Mister Joppa!”

The command came from Caesar, a large, muscular African pirate who stood with a lighted torch in his hand. He was half hidden in the shadows.

Caesar glanced over at the barrels filled with gunpowder that were next to him. Three men—visitors who had stopped at the ship the night before for a drinking party and had stayed the night—now had Caesar surrounded, and they were slowly closing in, each brandishing a club.

“You run!” Caesar shouted again.

That is when the men rushed him.

Joppa stuffed the little plate inside his sailor's shirt, quickly tied the top laces tight, and fetched a small, short sword in his right hand for the fight above deck. And then he ran up the stairs. He was not moving like a man, but more like some jungle animal—sprinting, arms flailing—into the middle of the battle.

But as he launched out of the stairwell like a cannonball, he slipped on the blood that was pooled on the deck. Flipping up in the air and landing on his back, he narrowly missed the sword of a British sailor who was swinging for his neck.

Joppa kicked the legs out from under the sailor, who tumbled to the ground. Joppa scrambled to his feet.

On the port side of the ship Edward Teach, still standing tall in his long black coat, with his unkempt hair and wild beard flying, was swinging his sword around him like a crazy man—fending off the leader of the English attack, Lieutenant John Maynard, and several of his mates.

Maynard charged him, but Teach sliced his cutlass right through Maynard's sword, breaking it in two. Then the pirate grabbed one of his many pistols from the leather chest belt with his left hand. But before he could fire it point blank at the English officer, a burly sailor in a tartan coat
swung his broadsword from behind and landed a powerful blow to the pirate's neck.

It would soon be over. Joppa could see that now. He looked frantically for an escape. Several pirates were leaping off the starboard side of the ship like rats off a burning boat. The young man threw down his sword and joined them, leaping into the water. As he did, he heard the English sailors firing pistols at them from the ship.

BOOK: Missing Witness
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