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In the King's Name The Cruise of the "Kestrel"   By: (1831-1909)

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In the King's Name; or, The Cruise of the Kestrel, by George Manville Fenn.

This is quite a long book, and one of G.M. Fenn's very best, for his hero gets into all sorts of tight corners, from which there appears no possible escape, just in the manner of most of Fenn's books, for he is the very master of suspense.

It starts off with a coastguard vessel, the "Kestrel", on patrol looking for smugglers, Jacobites, or anything else that appears suspicious.

Most of the action, however, takes place on the land, though sometimes in smugglers' caves near the shore.

It makes a brilliant audiobook for your enjoyment.




Morning on board the Kestrel , his Britannic majesty's cutter, lying on and off the south coast on the lookout for larks, or what were to her the dainty little birds that the little falcon, her namesake, would pick up. For the Kestrel's wings were widespread to the soft south easterly breeze that barely rippled the water; and mainsail, gaff topsail, staysail, and jib were so new and white that they seemed to shine like silver in the sun.

The larks the hover winged Kestrel was on the watch to pick up were smuggling boats of any sort or size, or Jacobite messages, or exiles, or fugitives anything, in fact, that was not in accordance with the laws of his most gracious majesty King George the Second, whose troops had not long before dealt that fatal blow to the young Pretender's hopes at the battle of Culloden.

The sea was as bright and blue as the sea can look in the Channel when the bright sun is shining, and the arch above reflects itself in its bosom. The gulls floated half asleep on the water, with one eye open and the other closed; and the pale grey kittiwakes seemed to glide about on the wing, to dip down here and there and cleverly snatch a tiny fish from the surface of the softly heaving sea.

On the deck of the little cutter all was in that well known apple pie order customary on board a man of war, for so Lieutenant Lipscombe in command always took care to call it, and in this he was diligently echoed by the young gentleman who acted as his first officer, and, truth to say, second and third officer as well, for he was the only one to wit, Hilary Leigh, midshipman, lately drafted to this duty, to his great disgust, from on board the dashing frigate Golden Fleece .

"Man o' war!" he had said in disgust; "a contemptible little cock boat. They ought to have called her a boy o' war a little boy o' war. I shall walk overboard the first time I try to stretch my legs."

But somehow he had soon settled down on board the swift little craft with its very modest crew, and felt no small pride in the importance of his position, feeling quite a first lieutenant in his way, and for the greater part of the time almost entirely commanding the vessel.

She was just about the cut of a goodsized modern yacht, and though not so swift, a splendid sailer, carrying immense spars for her tonnage, and spreading canvas enough to have swamped a less deeply built craft.

The decks were as white as holystone could make them, the sails and the bell shone in the morning sun like gold, and there was not a speck to be seen on the cabin skylight any more than upon either of the three brass guns, a long and two shorts, as Billy Waters, who was gunner and gunner's mate all in one, used to call them.

Upon this bright summer morning Hilary Leigh was sitting, with his legs dangling over the side and his back against a stay, holding a fishing line, which, with a tiny silvery slip off the tail end of a mackerel, was trailing behind the cutter, fathoms away, waving and playing about in the vessel's wake, to tempt some ripple sided mackerel to dart at it, do a little bit of cannibalism, and die in the act... Continue reading book >>

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