The Butcher's Daughter:
(A Journey Between Worlds)
by Mr. Mark M. McMillin
Genre: Historical Nautical Fiction (Elizabethan Era, Spanish Armada) , Adventure, Romance, War, New World
The King of Spain is assembling the most powerful armada the world has ever seen - an enormous beast - to invade England and depose the Protestant "heretic queen." To have any chance against the wealth and might of Spain, England will need every warship, she will need every able captain. To this purpose, Queen Elizabeth spares Mary from the headman's axe for past sins in exchange for her loyalty, her ships and men.
Based on true historical events, this is a tale about war, adventure, love and betrayal. This is a story about vengeance, this is a tale of heartbreak...
This is a prequel to Gather the Shadowmen (the Lords of the Ocean), Prince of the Atlantic and Nampoleon's Gold.
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“Why, Captain Dowlin,” I said and laughed, “you’ve gone and pissed yourself I see! You’ve gone and soiled my deck! And my crew scrubbed these planks down with holystones just this morning. They put their backs into it let me tell you. They scrubbed this deck down clean.”
“Please,” Dowlin pleaded, whimpering with spittle and snot running down his long beard. His eyes were nearly swollen shut from the good drubbing my men had given him. “Please, please, please...” he repeated over and over again.
“Please?” I asked. “Is that all you can say? How pathetic. I pray you can beg far better than that, especially when it is your own, pitiful life hanging in the balance. Come now, I know you can do better and I promised my lads a bit of entertainment tonight before supper.”
“Please, my lady, please spare my life. For mercy’s sake. I have gold. I have much gold!”
“For mercy’s sake?” I asked. “No, I think not for mercy’s sake. But for gold you say? Well now, you’ve piqued my curiosity there. And how much glittering gold is your miserable life worth to you, Dowlin?”
“Anything, name your price!”
I looked over at what was left of Dowlin’s bloodied and beaten crew herded around the main mast in a tight circle. They were bound in chains, intently watching my every move, soaking in my every word. After today they would be my men.
My own lads knew the drill. They forced Dowlin down lower, exposing the back of his soft neck to me.
I stood to the side and drew my sword. “The price Dowlin - is your head!”
“Nooooooooooooo…” Dowlin screamed just before I cleaved my way through flesh and bone. With one, clean stroke, his severed head rolled grotesquely across my deck until it came to rest at the feet of his defeated crew.
And then I pointed my sword at them, the bright, steel blade now dripping with Dowlin’s fresh blood. “As my men will vouch,” I told them, “I’m no purveyor of lies and because I do not lie I cannot say to you that killing gives me no pleasure. Your master was a wretched pig and it gave me great pleasure to kill him. Now you know why some call me Bloody Mary. Now you serve me and this ship - or not. You are free to choose.”
The upshot of my touch of drama was grand. The prisoners all at once dropped to their knees and groveled at my feet. They all at once pledged their undying loyalty to me.
“Introduce the new lads to our ways.”
“With pleasure, Mum, with pleasure!”
Thomas Gilley was my rock. He had been with me from the beginning. For nearly two years we had crisscrossed the vast and perilous oceans together. For the past year we had sailed under Dowlin’s cruel shadow.
“And our course, Mum?”
“The new lads will tell you - gladly now I should think - what our new heading is to be.”
And by that of course I meant that Dowlin’s men would tell us where Dowlin’s gold was stashed away, or pay the awful price for their silence.
As my men went about their labors, securing the heavy guns and making repairs to shattered planks, to torn lines and sail, I went below to my great cabin, content with a good day’s work. Dowlin had thoughtlessly, and without good purpose, brutalized any who had crossed his path. Men, women, children, he cared not. Yes, Dowlin was a wretched, stinking pig who often killed for sport. I had done mankind a favor by dispatching him. But in my world, Dowlin had also been a lord and master, a prince. His death I knew could not be cheaply bought.
“An inspiring performance, Mum!” a voice called out, startling me as I stepped into my great cabin. The voice popped out from behind the door, closed it quickly and slid the bolt back inside the socket.
I would not give the intruder the satisfaction of knowing that he had, for once, caught me unawares. “I’m glad you were amused,” I told him flatly.
He slipped an arm around my waist and pulled me close against him. “Do you,” he asked with a smile, “despise all men?”
“All but one or two,” I replied and kissed him lightly on the lips. Then I reached down between his legs and grabbed him by his privates. He was already stiff and eager. I couldn’t help myself and moaned with anticipation.
“Only one or two?” he inquired. “Dare I ask who?”
“Ah, you are safe for now my dearest,” I answered, batting my eyes flirtatiously. “Well, at least for a night or two. You have skills, remarkable skills worth keeping.”
“Aye, it was a splendid day indeed. I’ve always been exceptionally good at fighting, equally talented with sword, knife, a musket or explosives. I suppose one could say I was born to it.”
“You are a great warrior, James Hunter,” I replied honestly and squeezed him even harder. “But those are not the skills that interest me tonight. I dare say you have other skills that I’ve taken quite a fancy to, skills I wish to test.”
“Ah, now, that is why I’m here my lady,” Hunter replied and flashed his brilliant smile for me. “Not too tired from all that killing?”
“Shut up and take me you fool. Ravish me - I am hot for your wicked touch…”
Hunter obliged me gladly, with all he had to give.
In 1986, Mark received his J.D. degree from The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois and began his legal career with a law firm in White Plains, New York focusing his attention on general corporate law. In 1994, Mark moved to Virginia and ventured out into hazardous world of litigation where, in 1999, he won what was reported to be at the time one of the largest and longest federal criminal trials in Virginia's history. Mark thereafter moved to Georgia where he resumed his general corporate practice and served as general counsel for several companies, including a $1B publicly-traded airline.
Mark has been a life-long student of military history. And he has always had a passion for reading and love for writing and wanted to someday write his own book. But write a book about what? Mark had no desire to write about some subject that 100 authors before him had already delved into. And then, almost by accident, this fascinating, little known story of Captain Luke Ryan fell into his lap. It was an opportunity was too good to pass on and so Mark began the long and tedious journey of researching, writing and rewriting. The twelve year project ended in 2011 with Gather the Shadowmen (The Lords of the Ocean), Prince of the Atlantic and Napoleon's Gold.
Mark currently lives in the Southeastern part of the United States.
A few of Mark's favorite books include: Robert Fagel's two brilliant translations of Homer's Odyssey and the Iliad, Tolkien's wonderful Lord of the Rings trilogy, Table in the Wilderness by Norton S. Parker, Irving Stone's The Agony and the Ecstasy, Herman Wouk's The Winds of War, Tom Clancy's The Hunt for the Red October, Vincent Bugliosi's riveting And The Sea Will Tell and Steven Pressfield's beautifully written Gates of Fire.
Please visit Mark's website at wwwPrivateerLukeRyan.com for more information.
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