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Authors: Jack Higgins

Pay the Devil (v5)

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Praise for Jack Higgins and his bestselling novels . . .

FLIGHT OF EAGLES

In the early days of WWII, two brothers, separated as boys, meet as enemies in the deadly skies above Europe . . .

 

“A tightly wound, old-fashioned tale of brave men (and women) who fight with consummate honor and who meet death, when it comes, with a rueful grin.”

—Publishers Weekly

 

“A finely wrought saga of honor and family in an era long gone—but not at all forgotten.”

—People

 

THE PRESIDENT’S DAUGHTER

Three heroic agents race to stop a group of extremists before they can force the United States to launch a nuclear attack against the Middle East . . .

 

“All of Higgins’s skill in weaving together a tight story with plenty of action, appealing heroes, and dastardly villains is exhibited in
The President’s Daughter
, making it another worthy addition to his prolific repertoire.”

—Chattanooga Free Press

 

NIGHT JUDGEMENT AT SINOS

On the prison island of Sinos, one man holds the fate of thousands in his hands . . .

 

“This is one you won’t put down.”

—New York Times

 

DRINK WITH THE DEVIL

The blockbuster
New York Times
bestseller—two adversaries search for stolen gold in a deadly treasure hunt with worldwide consequences . . .

 

“A most intoxicating thriller.”

—Associated Press

 

“It is Dillon’s likability and the author’s adroitness in giving his character the room he needs that make Higgins’s novels so readable.”

—Washington Times

 

YEAR OF THE TIGER

Higgins’s novel of Cold War espionage and blistering
suspense. A scientist holding the key to the Space
Race becomes the object of a worldwide manhunt . . .

 

“Higgins spins as mean a tale as Ludlum, Forsythe, or any of them.”

—Philadelphia Daily News

 

“A seasoned pro . . . Mr. Higgins knows how to tell a story.”

—New York Times Book Review

 

 

ANGEL OF DEATH

Jack Higgins’s electrifying bestseller—a mysterious
terrorist group plots an assassination that will plunge
Ireland into civil war . . .

 

“Pulsing excitement . . . Higgins makes the pages fly.”

—New York Daily News

 

“Jack Higgins has a new thriller, and like its long list of predecessors, it’s a terrific read.”

—Associated Press

 

 

MIDNIGHT MAN
(also published as
Eye of the Storm
)

A duel between two masters of espionage culminates in an attempted mortar attack on the British war cabinet—in this shocking thriller that blends fact and fiction . . .

 

“A heart-stopping cat-and-mouse game . . . spectacular and surprising.”

—Abilene Reporter-News

 

“Will leave readers happily breathless.”

—Kirkus Reviews

 

“Razor-edged . . . It’s a winner.”

—Tulsa World

 

ON DANGEROUS GROUND

Jack Higgins’s explosive thriller—the desperate search for a secret document that could change the fate of Hong Kong, China, and the world . . .

 

“It’s a whirlwind of action, with a hero who can out-Bond old James with one hand tied behind his back . . . It’s told in the author’s best style, with never a pause for breath.”

—New York Times Book Review

 

“A powerhouse tale of action and adventure.”

—Tampa Tribune-Times

 

 

SHEBA

His most powerful novel of Nazi intrigue—the shattering story of an archaeologist who discovers a legendary temple . . . and a Nazi plot to turn the landmark into Hitler’s secret stronghold . . .

 

“Jack Higgins is the master . . . ”

—Tom Clancy

 

“When it comes to thriller writers, one name stands well above the crowd—Jack Higgins.”

—Associated Press

 

 

THUNDER POINT

The shattering bestseller about the search for Martin
Bormann’s missing files—in a sunken U-boat on the
bottom of the Caribbean . . .

 

“Dramatic . . . authentic . . . one of the author’s best.”

—New York Times

 

“A rollicking adventure that twists and turns.”

—San Diego Union-Tribune

Also by Jack Higgins

THE WHITE HOUSE CONNECTION
EAST OF DESOLATION
THE PRESIDENT’S DAUGHTER
YEAR OF THE TIGER
DRINK WITH THE DEVIL
ANGEL OF DEATH
SHEBA
ON DANGEROUS GROUND
THUNDER POINT
MIDNIGHT MAN (also published as
EYE OF THE STORM)
THE EAGLE HAS FLOWN
COLD HARBOUR
MEMORIES OF A DANCE-HALL ROMEO
A SEASON IN HELL
NIGHT OF THE FOX
CONFESSIONAL
EXOCET
TOUCH THE DEVIL
LUCIANO’S LUCK
SOLO
DAY OF JUDGEMENT
STORM WARNING
THE LAST PLACE GOD MADE
A PRAYER FOR THE DYING
THE EAGLE HAS LANDED
THE RUN TO MORNING
DILLINGER
TO CATCH A KING
THE VALHALLA EXCHANGE

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

 

PAY THE DEVIL

 

A Berkley Book / published by arrangement with
the author

 

PRINTING HISTORY
Berkley edition / November 1999

 

All rights reserved.

Copyright © 1999 by Jack Higgins.

This book may not be reproduced in whole or in part,
by mimeograph or any other means, without permission.
For information address: The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Putnam Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

 

The Penguin Putnam Inc. World Wide Web site address is
http://www.penguinputnam.com

 

eISBN : 978-1-101-05305-8

 

BERKLEY®
Berkley Books are published
by The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Putnam Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
BERKLEY and the “B” logo are trademarks
belonging to Penguin Putnam Inc.

 

 

 

http://us.penguingroup.com

Take care, for after raising him, it becomes necessary to pay the Devil his due.

 

Irish saying

APPOMATTOX STATION

1865

PROLOGUE

They were hanging a man on the bridge below as Clay Fitzgerald rode through the trees on the hill. It was raining heavily, dripping from his felt campaign hat, soaking into the caped shoulders of his shabby grey military greatcoat.

The man who followed him was black, of middle years, tall and thin with aquiline features that hinted at mixed blood. Like Clay, he wore a felt hat and a frieze coat crossed by a bandolier of shotgun shells.

“We got a problem, General?”

“I’d say so, Josh. Let me have that spyglass of yours, and I wish you wouldn’t call me general. I only had one hundred and twenty-three men left in the brigade when General Lee gave me the appointment. Now it’s more like twenty.”

Behind them a young horseman eased out of the trees wearing a long cavalry coat in oilskin, Fitzgerald’s galloper, Corporal Tyree.

“Trouble, General?”

“Could be. Stay close.”

Clay Fitzgerald took the spyglass then produced a silver box from a pocket, selected a black cheroot and lit it with a lucifer match. He dismounted and walked to the edge of the trees. Black eyes brooded in a tanned face, the skin stretched tightly over prominent cheekbones, one of them disfigured by a sabre scar. It was a hard face, the face of a man few would care to offend, and there was a quality of calm about him, of complete self-possession, that was disturbing.

Eight men on horseback advanced on the bridge below, hooves drumming on the wooden planks. At that stage in the war, it was difficult to distinguish which uniforms they wore, and it was the same with the two prisoners dragged behind, ropes around their necks.

As Clay watched, there was laughter and then a rope was thrown over a bridge support beam, a rider urged his horse away and one of the prisoners went up kicking. There was more laughter, flat in the rain. Clay Fitzgerald swung into the saddle.

He said to Tyree, “Find the men and fast.” Tyree turned his horse and was away.

Josh said, “Are you going to be foolish again?”

“I’ve never been good at standing by, you know that. Wait here.”

Josh said, “With the general’s permission, I’d like to point out that when your daddy made me your body servant, you was eight years old. I’ve whipped your backside more than once, but only when you needed it, and I’ve gone through four years of stinking war with you.”

“So what are you trying to say? That you always got your own way?”

“Of course, so let’s do it,” and Josh put his heels to his horse.

 

They went down fast, pulled in and cantered onto the bridge. The eight men, milling around the remaining prisoner, laughing and shouting, settled down and turned. They were all bearded and of a rough turn and armed to the teeth, the uniforms so worn that it was difficult to determine whether they were blue or grey.

The prisoner on the end of a rope was very young and wore a shabby Confederate uniform.

He was soaked to the skin, blue with cold and despairing, shaking with fear.

Clay and Joshua reined in. Clay sat there, the cheroot in his teeth; Josh kept slightly back, his right hand in the capacious pocket of his frieze coat. The man who urged his horse toward them wore a long riding coat over whatever uniform. His face was hard, empty of any emotion, black-bearded. He reined up and took in Clay’s rank insignia on his collar.

“Well, now, boys, what have we got here? A Reb cavalry colonel.”

“Hey, he could be worth money,” one of the men said.

It was quiet, the rain rushing down. Clay said, “Who am I dealing with?”

“Name’s Harker; and who might you be?”

It was Josh who answered. “This here is Brigadier General Clay Fitzgerald, so you mind your manners.”

“And you mind your mouth, nigger,” Harker told him. He turned back to Clay. “So what do you want, General?”

“The boy here,” Clay said. “Just give me the boy.”

Harker laughed out loud. “The boy? Sure. My pleasure.”

He snatched the rope holding the young prisoner from one of the men, urged his horse forward and reined in, kicking the boy over the edge of the bridge. The rope tightened.

He turned. “How do you like that, General?”

Clay pulled out his sabre and sliced the rope left-handed. His right came up from under the cavalry greatcoat, holding a Dragoon Colt. He shot Harker between the eyes, turned his horse and shot the rifleman behind him. Josh pulled a sawn-off shotgun from the pocket of the frieze coat, shot one man on his left in the face, then as fire was returned, ducked low in the saddle and fired again beneath his mount’s neck. At the same moment, there was a chorus of rebel yells, and Tyree and a scattering of horsemen came down the hill.

The four men left on the bridge turned to gallop away, and a volley of shots emptied their saddles. The riders milled around, one of them a small man with sergeant’s stripes on a battered grey uniform.

“General?”

“Good man, Jackson.” Clay pulled his mount in at the edge of the bridge and looked down. The boy was on his hands and knees on a sand-bank, wrists still tied. “Send someone down to retrieve him.”

Jackson wheeled away to give the order and Josh, who was talking to the cavalrymen, came over.

“Don’t do that to me again, General. This war is over.”

“You sure about that?”

“General Lee’s been pushing toward Appomattox Station looking for supplies and relief, only our boys have found there’s nothing there: Lee’s got twenty thousand men left. Grant’s got sixty. It’s over, General.”

“And where’s Lee now?”

“Place called Turk’s Crossing. He’s overnighting there.”

Clay looked over the rail of the bridge, where three of his men had reached the boy. “Good,” he said. “Then let’s go and find him.”

 

When he and his men slipped through the Yankee lines, it was raining heavily. Turk’s Crossing was a poor sort of place. General Lee was billeted in a small farmhouse, had preferred the barn. The doors stood open and someone had lit a fire inside. The staff, and what was left of his men, were camped around in field tents.

When Clay and his men moved in, Tyree had the day’s password when the pickets challenged them. It was always a difficult moment. After all, it was Confederate pickets who had killed General Stonewall Jackson after Chancellorsville.

Clay reined in beside the farm and turned to Sergeant Jackson. “You and the boys find some food. I’ll see you later.”

The riders moved away. Josh dismounted and held his bridle and Clay’s. “What now?”

A young aide moved out of the barn. “General Fitzgerald?”

“That’s right.”

“General Lee would be delighted to see you, sir. We thought we’d lost you.”

Josh said, “I’ll hang around, General. You might need me.”

 

Lee was surprisingly well-dressed in an excellent Confederate uniform, and sat at a table his staff had set up by the fire, his hair very white.

Clay Fitzgerald walked in. “General.”

Lee said, “Sorry I can’t call
you
general any longer, Clay. Couldn’t get your brigade command ratified. We’re into the final end of things, so you’re back to colonel. Heard you’ve been in action again.”

“One of those things.”

“Always is, with you.”

At that moment, a young captain came out of the shadows. He wore a grey frock coat over his shoulders, his left arm in a sling, and carried a paper, which he handed to Lee.

“Latest report, General. The army’s fading away. Lucky if we’ve got fifteen thousand left.”

He swayed and almost fell. Lee said, “Sit down, Brown. The arm, not good?”

“Terrible, General.”

“Well, you’re in luck. I have here the only general cavalry officer in the Confederate army, Colonel Clay Fitzgerald, who’s also a surgeon.”

Brown turned to Clay. “Colonel? I had a message for you,” and then he slumped to one knee.

Clay got him to a chair, turned and called, “Josh—my surgical bag and fast.”

 

The wound was nasty, obviously a sabre slash. Brown was sweating and in great pain.

“I’d say ten stitches,” Clay said. “And whiskey, just to clean the wound.”

“Some men might say that’s a waste of good liquor,” Lee said.

“Well, it seems to work, General.” Clay turned as Josh came in with the surgical bag. “Should be some laudanum left in there.”

Lee said, “So you’re still around, Josh. It’s a miracle.”

“You, me and Colonel Clay, sir. Lot of water under the bridge.”

He opened the bag and Brown said, “No laudanum, Colonel.”

“It could put you out if I give you enough, Captain. Kill the pain.”

“No, thanks. I must have my brain working.

The general needs me. Whiskey will do fine, Colonel. Let’s get on with it.”

Clay glanced at Lee, who nodded. “A brave boy, and he’s entitled to his choice. Just do it, Colonel,” and there was iron in his voice.

“Then with your permission, sir.”

He nodded to Josh, who took the bottle of whiskey that stood on Lee’s table, uncorked it and held it to Brown’s lips.

“Much as you can take, Captain.”

Brown nodded, swallowed, then swallowed again. He nodded. “Enough.”

Clay said, “Thread a needle, Josh.” He bared Brown’s arm. “You’ll feel this. Just hang in there.”

He poured raw whiskey over the open wound, and the young captain cried out. Josh passed over the curved needle threaded with silk.

Clay said, “Stand behind the chair and hold him.”

Josh did as he was told, and as General Lee watched impassively, Clay poured whiskey over his hands, the needle and the thread, held the lips of the wound together and passed the needle through the flesh, and mercifully at that first stroke, Brown cried out again and fainted.

 

An hour later, after a meal of some sort of beef stew, Clay and Lee sat at the table and enjoyed a whiskey. Outside, the rain poured relentlessly.

“Well, here we are at the last end of the night on the road to nowhere,” Lee said.

Clay nodded. “General, it’s a known fact that President Lincoln offered you command of the Yankee army on the outbreak of hostilities. No one disputes your position as the greatest general of the war.” He helped himself to another whiskey. “I wonder how different things might have been?”

“Waste of time thinking that way, Clay,” Lee told him. “My fellow Virginians were going to war. I couldn’t desert them. After all, what about you? You’re from good Irish American stock, your father and that brother of his. You went to Europe, medical schools in London and Paris. You’re a brilliant surgeon, yet you chose my path.”

Clay laughed. “Yes, but I’m Georgia-born, General, so, like you, I had no choice.”

“You’re too much like your father. I was sorry to hear of his death. Three months ago, I believe.”

“Well, everybody knew he’d been operating schooners out of the Bahamas, blockade-running. He took the pitcher to the well too often. He was on one of his own boats when they ran into a Yankee frigate. It went down with all hands.”

Lee nodded gravely. “Your mother died early. I remember her well. Your father, as I recall, was somewhat of a duellist.”

“That’s an understatement.”

“And the elder brother, your uncle?”

“On my grandfather’s death, he inherited an estate in the west of Ireland. He had a plantation only twenty miles from here. Left it in the hands of a manager.”

“So what happens now?” Lee asked.

“God knows, General. What happens to all of us?”

“It’s simple, Clay. I’ve had contact with Grant. We meet at Appomattox tomorrow to discuss surrender terms.” He brooded. “Grant and I served in the Mexican Wars together. Ironic it’s ended this way.” He shrugged. “He’s a good soldier and an honorable man. I’ve already made it clear in a communication that I want all of my men who own their own horses to keep them.”

“And he’s agreed?”

“Yes.”

There was a moan from Brown lying on the truckle bed in the corner. Josh, who had been sitting on watch, got an arm around him as the young captain sat up. Clay went to him at once.

“How do you feel?”

“Terrible.”

“Come and sit by the fire.”

“I’ll get him some coffee,” Josh said, and went out.

Brown slumped into a chair, and Lee asked, “Are you all right, boy?”

“Fine, sir. Hurts like hell, but there it is.” He turned to Clay. “My thanks, Colonel.”

“My pleasure.”

“I was hoping to meet you. Your uncle had a house near here. Fairoaks?”

“That’s right. He went to Ireland and left a manager in charge.”

“Well, he used to have a house. Burned to the ground by Yankee cavalry. I passed it two days ago. One of the field hands had a letter. Some lawyer from Savannah called, looking for you. Said he’d be at Butler’s Tavern for a week. Name of Regan.”

“I know Butler’s Tavern. It’s about thirty miles from here.”

“The letter said if he couldn’t get you there, he’d be in Savannah. You know this man?”

Clay nodded. “My father was a blockade-runner. Regan managed his affairs.”

“Sorry I don’t have the letter, Colonel. We were in a skirmish with Yankee cavalry just after I got it, and it disappeared.”

“That’s fine,” Clay said. “You’ve told me what I need to know.”

Josh came in with coffee in a tin cup and gave it to Brown. Clay turned to Lee. “What now, sir?”

“For me, Clay, Appomattox and the final end of our cause. Humiliation, of course, but I see no need for you and your men to endure it. You have family business to attend to. I think I’d prefer it if you and your men simply faded into the night. I should think that in ones and twos you’d have little difficulty in passing through the Yankee lines, especially in such wooded country.”

“Is that your order, General?”

“My suggestion.” Lee held out a hand. “We ran a good course, my friend. Just go.”

The emotion was hard to bear. Clay shook hands. “General.” He turned and walked out and Josh followed.

 

He found his men under the trees, sheltering under two stretched tarpaulins beside a fire. Sergeant Jackson stood up.

“What’s happening, General?”

BOOK: Pay the Devil (v5)
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