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His Majestyʼs Ship • ISBN: 978-1-934757-70-3 • 288 Pages - 6” X 9” - Paperback •

Jackass Frigate • ISBN: 978-1-934757-73-4 • 244 Pages - 6” X 9” - Paperback •

True Colours • ISBN: 978-1-935585-30-5 • 380 Pages - 6” X 9” - Paperback •

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His Majesty’s Ship a powerful ship, a questionable crew, and a mission that must succeed In the spring of 1795 HMS Vigilant, a 64 gun ship-ofthe-line, is about to leave Spithead as senior escort to a small, seemingly innocent, convoy. The crew is a jumble of trained seamen, volunteers, and the sweepings of the press; yet, somehow, the officers have to mold them into an effective fighting unit before the French discover the convoyʼs true significance. Based on historical fact, His Majestyʼs Ship will take you into the world of Nelsonʼs Navy, and captivate you all the way to itʼs gripping conclusion. “Bond has an extraordinary talent for describing the sights and sounds of an 18th Century man-of-war. When you finish this book you genuinely feel like you have been there—and no novel can receive higher praise than that.”

The First Book in the Fighting Sail Series


His Majesty’s Ship

CHAPTER ONE

“I'll miss you, Rosie.” She stopped folding the clothes and looked at him doubtfully. “Go on, in a couple of days this ship’ll be at sea. You'll have enough to do without thinkin' of me.” “Mebbe you're right.” Jenkins sat back against the smooth oak knee that marked the limit of their small space on the crowded deck and fiddled aimlessly with his tobacco box. It was made of tin, with a horse's head embossed on the lid. It was also empty. He'd had the box more than ten years yet had never really looked at the decoration before. “I could be around when you gets back.” The lower gundeck was filled with a constant clatter of conversation, although her soft words found their mark. “You won't know when that'll be.” “I won't, but I could look out.” “You'll be wi' someone else, most like.” Strange how he couldn't say, “another man”. “Might be, there again...” That was one of the things he always forgot about women. Men teased, but with women there was a sexual edge that definitely raised the stakes. He felt a lump growing in his throat. The ship -1-


men again. Single men, after six weeks of marriage; the longest time Jenkins could remember with one woman. Vigilant had been in commission for almost as long as they had been at war; he'd grown used to both, and didn't suppose the coming trip would hold any surprises. But then there had been many other doxies in his past, and he had thought exactly the same about Rosie. “We had a good time, Clem.” “Didn't get no shore leave.” “Didn't expect none. 'sides, costs less staying on board.” “No privacy.” She met his eye and smiled. “We done all right.” The voice of Clarke, one of the boatswain's mates, cut through their intimacy. “Come on, come on, you got to be off afore the next bell.” He walked through the crowded gundeck, the knotted rope's end of his starter swinging in gentle parody. Without stopping the petty officer swooped down on a piece of discarded female underwear, and swung it aloft, before it was roughly snatched from him with a squeal and some uncouth laughter. Then his eyes travelled to the quiet couple by the knee and for a moment he almost paused. The coarse smile softened and, looking away, he moved on with a maturity and understanding that would have surprised many. “They don't seem a bad bunch,” said Rosie. “No, reckon we're all right. Captain's a seaman, at least.” “Make a difference, does it?” Jenkins nodded. “Well, that's me finished.” She stood up from her bag, and brushed her hands together, her dark hair hardly touching the deckhead. “You're going then?” It was an odd question for a seasoned campaigner and again their eyes met; this time it was the woman who broke the spell. “I have to, 'less I grows a beard and signs on.” Together they made their way to the entry port, and joined the crowd of men and women who waited there. For most of the time they were silent then, as her turn came, he suddenly spoke out. “I don't know how to find you, I mean, where you live, an' all.” Without speaking she pressed a small bone brooch into his hand. -2-


The Jackass Frigate How do you maintain discipline on a ship when someone murders your first lieutenant—and a part of you agrees with their action? December 1796. It was a time of unrest and discontent for Britain, made even worse by the war with Revolutionary France and the possibility of imminent invasion. Fresh from the dockyard, HMS Pandora, a 28-gun frigate, is about to set sail to join the Mediterranean Fleet. For Captain Banks the harsh winter weather and threat of a French invasion are not his only problems. He has an untried ship, a tyrant for a First Lieutenant, a crew that contains at least one murderer, and he is about to sail into one of the biggest naval battles in British history—the Battle of Cape St. Vincent. “Alaric Bond has stepped into the first rank of writers of historic naval fiction.”

The Second Book in the Fighting Sail Series -3-


The Jackass Frigate

CHAPTER ONE

She was fresh from the dockyard, and as King made his way along the lower deck of HMS Pandora, he was conscious of her strangely sweet aroma. It was the scent of tender paint mingled with fresh cut wood and new canvas; quite at odds with the normal shipboard smells of wet rot, bilges and closely packed humanity. What light there was strained through the frigate’s hatches and the grating forward of the main mast, only this and his innate instinct for ship’s architecture told him he was outside the starboard midshipmen’s berth. He opened the screen door and stepped in. It was a dark, narrow room with a deckhead just lower than five feet. Directly opposite, to the other side of the passageway the larboard berth would be a mirror image; together they provided a home for all the midshipmen and master’s mates, as well as an eclectic assortment of other junior warrant officers. At that moment the berth was empty; Pandora was still working up and not yet carrying her full complement. King dropped his ditty bag next to a small table and looked about. His last berth had been the wardroom of a sixty-four where he had carried an order as acting lieutenant for a heady and eventful few weeks. Since then, although he had passed his examination board, his commission was still to be confirmed and his sense of adventure, coloured not a little by hunger and an extreme lack of funds, had persuaded him to volunteer for Pandora at his former rank of midshipman. The table held a half burnt purser’s dip. King -4-


fumbled with a flint and lit the wick. The fat-fed flame burned grubbily, instantly adding a dense cast to the already stuffy cockpit. There was a little consolation in the knowledge that a short distance along what was often, erroneously, called the gundeck, senior and commissioned officers would be sharing similarly uncomfortable conditions in the frigate’s version of the wardroom that was equally inaccurately known as the gunroom. The screen door opened and a marine appeared, looking oddly casual in shirtsleeves and seaman’s duck trousers. “Mr King?” “That’s right.” “Mr Fraiser sent me to see to you, sir.” “Very good. The rest of my dunnage is being taken down.” “Deep storage is for’ard, near t’surgeon’s dispensary. I’ll see to it after sortin’ your berth, sir.” King nodded, although his head was already bent to clear the deckhead and much of the effect was lost. “What’s your name?” “Collins, sir.” Even out of uniform and in the cramped and gloomy conditions, the voice of the marine sounded firm and businesslike. “Very good, Collins. How many other cockpit officers are aboard?” “One master’s mate berths in ’ere, sir. Then there are two other mids and a volunteer; one of them’s a big bastard, but youngsters they are, none the less.” He grew confidential. “Two of ’em will be first voyagers, I reckons, ’spite what it might say in their papers. They’ve taken the larboard berth, along with Mr Manning, who the captain’s trying out as surgeon’s mate; he’s little more’n a squealer hi’self. T’other master’s mates an’ the clerk ’as yet to be appointed. An’ there’s no news of a chaplain.” He grinned suddenly, treating King to a sight of his blackened teeth. “Might ’ave got away there.” Two young midshipmen and a lad, that didn’t auger well for King, who would be in charge of training them up. He decided to leave them to their berth; they would spend enough time together without sharing the same quarters. Where’s the other master’s mate?” “Mr Lewis, sir. He’s in the chart room at present.” “Lewis?” -5-


True Colours The Royal Navy is immobilised by mutiny, and the only thing that’s standing in the way of an invasion is a commander who is communicating with a fleet that isn’t there. While Great Britainʼs major home fleets are immobilised by a vicious mutiny, Adam Duncan, commander of the North Sea Squadron, has to maintain a constant watch over the Dutch coast, where a powerful invasion force is ready to take advantage of Britannia's weakest moment. With ship-to-ship duels and fleet engagements, shipwrecks, storms and groundings, True Colours maintains a relentless pace that culminates in one of the most devastating sea battles of the French Revolutionary War—the Battle of Camperdown. Alaric Bond has stepped into the first rank of writers of historical naval fiction.

The Third Book in the Fighting Sail Series -6-


True Colours

CHAPTER ONE

HE had been asleep for less than an hour and in his mind Lieutenant King was many miles from his cabin in Pandora when the call awoke him. He lay for a moment as the sound of running feet and bellowed orders reverberated about the small enclosed space. It was one he shared with a locker, a washstand that turned into a narrow desk, and a sea chest that doubled as a chair; the shirt and duck trousers he had been wearing lay casually across the latter. He had gone below just before dawn; presumably the onset of daylight had revealed some new and extraordinary problem that only someone of his astonishing intellect, ability and courage would be able to solve. He pulled a face to himself and sighed. Pandora was clearly manoeuvring; and heeled slightly as he swung out of his cot, his bare feet hitting the cold wooden deck that was still a little wet from the previous night’s storm. It was too dark to see, but his chin felt tolerably smooth. His beard was several shades lighter than his short auburn hair and hardly needed the attention of a razor two days out of three; it would certainly suffice for an early call. The ship’s bell rang four times; by rights King had two more hours of precious sleep due to him, two more hours after the nine he had spent in the very teeth of a Biscay tempest. His mood did not improve greatly as he reached for his trousers, and found them still heavy with damp, and he cursed mildly as he remembered the other pair were badly torn. He had two pairs of britches in the sea -7-


chest, although these were only worn when uniform was specifically required. On a small ship like Pandora uniform rules were inclined to be relaxed and Lieutenant King was rarely seen on deck in anything other than blue jacket, white shirt and seaman’s trousers. The shirt was equally moist but now King was fully awake, and gave it little thought as he hunted for his boots, snatched at his hat and jacket and opened the frail deal door that led into the gunroom and, in this instance, the bulk of Adam Fraiser. The sailing master turned his stocky frame and smiled at the younger man. “Seems they canna’ do without us, after all, Thomas.” “Trouble, gentlemen?” Marine Lieutenant Newman looked up from where he sat in his shirtsleeves at the gunroom table, and beamed at them both with the humour of a man who had not spent the previous day and night fighting a storm. King and Fraiser squeezed past him. “Och, it’s probably little more than one of the convoy sailing under the water for a bit of a change.” Fraiser assured him genially. “Nothing trivial, then?” Newman was a man who smiled easily, and despite his own bad temper King found the act infectious. “Nothing that should deny a man his sleep,” he agreed, and collected his stiff, brown watch coat from Crowley, one of the stewards. Outside the gunroom, the berth deck still held the damp, sleeping bodies of the watch below. Clearly it had not been a call for all hands, or even both watches, and so the two officers made their way up, and into the fragile dawn light on the quarterdeck a little more at ease. There was no sign of the captain; Caulfield, the first lieutenant, had the watch. He stood hunched over the traverse board, also wearing a heavy brown coat, although his was dark with moisture and, its owner being relatively short, hung down to well below his knees. “Sorry to disturb your caulk, gentlemen,” Caulfield’s smile took most of the sarcasm from the remark, although he appeared every bit as weary as King felt. “Seems we have company, and the captain thought it better that all shared the sport.” “The captain?” King went to ask more, but a poignant look from Caulfield made him glance upwards. The captain was directly above them, in the crosstrees of the mizzen, with one arm wrapped -8-


Alaric Bond

Alaric Bond was born in Surrey, England, but now lives in Herstmonceux, East Sussex, in a 14th century Wealden Hall House. He is married with two sons. His father was a well-known writer, mainly of novels and biographies, although he also wrote several screenplays. He was also a regular contributor to BBC Radio drama (including Mrs Dale’s Diary!), and a founding writer for the Eagle comic. During much of his early life Alaric was hampered by Dyslexia, although he now considers the lateral view this condition gave him to be an advantage. He has been writing professionally for over twenty years with work covering broadcast comedy (commissioned to BBC Light Entertainment for 3 years), periodicals, children’s stories, television, and the stage. He is also a regular contributor to several nautical magazines and newsletters. His interests include the British Navy 1793-1815 and the RNVR during WWII. He regularly gives talks to groups and organizations and is a member of various historical societies including The Historical Maritime Society and the Society for Nautical Research. He also enjoys Jazz, swing and big band music from 1930-1950 (indeed, he has played trombone for over 40 years), sailing, and driving old SAAB convertibles.

The Fighting Sail Series by Alaric Bond  

The Fighting Sail Series by Alaric Bond

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