5 September 2017

Pirates and Mermaids…


published by s-books as e-book
by Helen Hollick

a prequel Jesamiah Acorne Adventure!

As followers of Jesamiah Acorne’s various nautical adventures know, the series of Sea Witch Voyages starts in January 1716 with Jesamiah, not yet a Captain of his own ship, about to take part in a pirate ‘Chase’ and a fight at sea with a prospective Prize.

He is aboard the Mermaid, with Captain Malachias Taylor in charge, and the opening scene, set off the coast of Africa, leads the way to what will be a turning point in Jesamiah’s life.

But what of his life before the events of Sea Witch? We know from the backstory that he fled his home in Virginia to escape the vicious bullying of his half-brother, Phillipe, and then crewed with Taylor, but how did that happen?

How did he learn how to be the experienced seaman - and pirate - that he is?
How did he learn to fight?
What adventures, and risks, did he face in those days of his youth?
How did he develop from the  frightened boy of not quite fifteen years old, to the cocksure, confident Captain that he became?

When The Mermaid Sings is a novella, 
(e-book only)
 which will answer all those questions – and more!

Coming soon – hopefully, the end of September, but watch this space for updates, cover reveal and snippets from the story! Or to get exclusive and pre-public glimpses, sign up for my newsletter! http://tinyletter.com/HelenHollick

And here, for the first time beyond editors or publisher is a glimpse of When The Mermaid Sings!


“You alright, son?”
   A man was bending over him, taking his arm, half-shaking it, half-assisting him to rise. Jesamiah looked up into a face with weatherworn, tanned skin, several teeth missing and a beard that was more grey-grizzled than the brown it had once been. Bright eyes sparkled beneath a three-corner hat that sprouted a feathered plume.
   “You alright?” the man asked again.
   “Yes, I think so,” Jesamiah answered, scrambling to his feet. He was at the harbour – how had he got here? Three ships, in addition to Anna, rested at anchor, the nearest sporting a splendid figurehead with carved seaweed hair draped over her bare breasts; her fishtail curled as if clinging to the bow itself. Mermaid.
   “You sure?” the sailor asked again, his hand still clasped to Jesamiah’s arm.
   “Just a bit dizzy, that’s all.”
   “Not surprising,” the man said with a nod and grim smile. “That’s some cut to your head. You came down quite a wallop.”

Touching his fingers to his temple, Jesamiah looked at the sticky smear of blood left on them.
   “I saw you take the tumble as I were coming ashore. Noticed you earlier, too, with Tom Markham?”
   Jesamiah nodded, then wished he hadn’t. “Aye, from Anna over there.” He pointed her out.
   “Stannis still her bosun?”
   Not risking another nod, Jesamiah confirmed that he was.
   “Nasty piece of work. I’d as soon shoot him as serve with him.”
  Not making a comment that could land him in trouble, Jesamiah answered, tactfully, “You know him, then?”
   The man indicated a scar on his face. “We had a serious falling-out a few years back.”

The dizziness clearing, Jesamiah took a deep breath and was grateful that the man made a grab for him as he again tottered precariously. He attempted a jest: “I’m not sure if it’s the wound or not finding my land-legs yet. The ground’s pitching as much as the deck did.”
   “Ah, you’ll soon adjust, son. Your pa always takes a few hours to do so.”
   That cleared Jesamiah’s head as efficiently as a dousing with a bucket of cold seawater. “My pa?”
   The man studied the boats at anchor in the harbour. “Aye. I take it Charles is not here? No sign of his vessel out there. Has he sent you off to sea?” The man chuckled. “’Bout time, if you ask me.”
   Unexpected tears swam in Jesamiah’s eyes. He rapidly blinked them aside. “My father passed away a few months ago.”
   The man removed his hat, wiped his hand across his mouth and nose, sniffed loudly and blinked as rapidly as Jesamiah had done. “I’m sorry to hear that, lad. Right sorry. He was a good man.”
   Taking a step backwards, the man held out his hand. “You are, of course, Jesamiah? You are the image of Charles. Got your ma’s dark Spanish eyes and hair, though.”
  Initially tentative, Jesamiah hesitated, but took the proffered hand and gripped it in a firm handshake. “My apologies, but you are…?”
   “Taylor. Captain Malachias Taylor of the Mermaid, yonder.”

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  1. This is the story I've been waiting for! How Jesamiah became what he is at the beginning of "Sea Witch"! Can't wait to read it my friend!

    1. Well I need to obtain a couple of reliable reviewers... (just hope you like it!)


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