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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Of pirates and highwaymen

As a kid, I just loved to read books or see film in which either highwaymen or pirates occured. I believe I've already told you how I loved Errol Flynn playing Captain Blood, right? And you must admit, Johnny Depp makes a great pirate, either.

I once met Depp while skiing in Colorado, but that's another story. I was talking about pirates. They are not supposed to be good fellas but they make a great theme in a book.

Just the same with highwaymen (or in other words: robbers). That's how you'd imagine them:

Someone to be afraid of, someone to fear. They'd not only take your money, but could also want your life if you resisted them.

But bad men make a great theme in a book or film. In these they get a sort of status. Just like in real life, not all robbers are truly bad. It's said that Patrick Haemers (perhaps our best known gangster) was a kind man and very sweet with children. Just like Black Jack. He makes his living the coaches of the rich, not to help the poor but to enrich himself. That's fine, he doesn't kill anyone while riding out at night.

But one night he finds a deserted coach, and some bodies next to it. Apparently something violent has happened, he can feel the evil in the air. An evil far worse than what he does to people. He only takes away some baubles, this other evil kills innocents. And then he hears a faint whailing... To his big surprise, he finds a baby girl inside the coach, protected by her mother's body.

And now we learn Jack also has a kind heart, because he decides then and there to give the baby a new home and raise her as his own. Justine grows up much like a tommy girl, especially when she learns how her father brings in his money. She decided to join him on his adventures, but her inexperience brings  her in danger. Jack wants to protect his adopted daughter by leaving England for the colonies, where they can start a new life.

They board a ship but in the Caribbean they fall prey to pirates. Introducing someone like Captain Hook and Neil, his second in command. Neil is not quite the ordinary pirate. He's an English gentleman, needing to escape a death penalty in his country for high treason (which he has not committed, but who does believe him?) and he has an agenda. Jack and his son (Justine poses as a boy, because it is thought better) will help him. Little does he know that Jack has an agenda of his own... and that nothing is at it seems.

Curious how this is going to end? Then I can only advise you to read The Haversham Legacy, my novel set in the late seventeenth century, with locations in England, America and the Caribbean.

Available from Amazon!

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