David Donachie

By the Mast Divided

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London 1793: Young firebrand John Pearce is illegally press-ganged from the refuge of the Pelican tavern to a brutal life aboard HMS Brilliant, a frigate on its way to war. In his first few days Pearce discovers the Navy is a world in which he can prosper. But he is not alone; he is drawn to a group of men — fly Charlie Taverner; quiet Ben Walker; tired old Abel Scrivens; the bairn of the group, Rufus Dommet; the droll, tough Irish labourer, Michael O’Hagan; and the bumptious Gherson — pressed men like him, who eventually form an exclusive gun crew, the Pelicans, with Pearce their elected leader. During an action-packed two weeks, as HMS Brilliant chases a French privateer across the English channel, this disparate group of men form friendships that will last a lifetime.
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524 printed pages
Original publication
2012

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