Harold Pederson’s discovery ships are in trouble. Specializing in exploring remote estuaries and photographing endangered wildlife in South East Asia and the western Pacific, his fleet ventures into waters that are rife with pirates.
When Jerry Giacomo is hired by Pederson to make his ships look bullet-proof, he finds that the situation is even more precarious than expected. The Jihadist breakaway group Abu Sayyaf is operating in the South China Sea, and their brutality is notorious, with filmed beheadings as well as outrageous ransom demands. Because of the threat the terrorists present, Storm Swept, with all the Bacchantes on board, is requisitioned by the British navy, to take part in an exercise up a remote river in Borneo, where the pirates have their lair.
A raging hurricane. A tiny fishing village in a distant land. A London nightclub dancer stumbles into the local clinic with the famous fire-fighter who carried her to New Zealand. The wife of an American shipping tycoon is on board his new luxury yacht as it battles the storm to reach the village. The young wife of a wine-maker struggles through mud, wind and rain to call for help, as her husband has been mortally hurt.
All three women are in labor. All three women give birth to baby girls. The clinic is destroyed by the storm, so no records survive. No one knows which baby belongs to which mother.
Twenty-one years later, the American billionaire kidnaps all three young women, along with the men who were there when they were born, and takes them to sea on his yacht, convinced that his wife claimed the wrong baby. He is determined to find which girl is really his daughter.
This cross-continental journey had proved very pleasant, particularly considering that he was dead. Or so Timothy ironically mused…
The year is 1905, and the heyday of Thames, in the goldfields of New Zealand. Back in 1867, Captain Jake Dexter, a flamboyant adventurer and pirate, and his mistress, the actress Harriet Gray, invested the fortune they made during the gold rushes of California and Australia in a theatre and hotel called the Golden Goose, which has become an internationally acclaimed tourist venue, famous for its Murder Mystery Weekends. Guests gather, and a fake murder is staged, and it is up to them to find the killer. But this hugely successful venture is now at great risk. Timothy Dexter, an American of dubious ancestry, threatens the inheritance of the Golden Goose Hotel, and the Gray family gathers to hold a council of war, interrupted when a real murder intervenes. And a young tourist, Cissy Miller, entrusted with a Harlequin costume and a very strange mission, may be the only one to hold the key to the mystery.
Money ships were wrecks of treasure-galleons belched up from the bottom of the sea after tremendous storms, yielding doubloons and all kinds of precious treasure … gold bars and bullion, chests of brilliant gems.
Oriental adventurer Captain Rochester spun an entrancing tale to Jerusha, seafaring daughter of Captain Michael Gardiner — a story of a money ship, hidden in the turquoise waters of the South China Sea, which was nothing less than the lost trove of the pirate Hochman. As Jerusha was to find, though, the clues that pointed the way to fabled riches were strange indeed — a haunted islet on an estuary in Borneo, an obelisk with a carving of a rampant dragon, a legend of kings and native priests at war, and of magically triggered tempests that swept warriors upriver. And even if the clues were solved, the route to riches was tortuous, involving treachery, adultery, murder, labyrinthine Malayan politics … and, ultimately, Jerusha’s own arranged marriage.
It was not just the men who lived on the brink of peril when under sail at sea. Lucretia Jansz, who was enslaved as a concubine in 1629, was just one woman who endured a castaway experience. Award-winning historian Joan Druett (Island of the Lost, The Elephant Voyage), relates the stories of women who survived remarkable challenges, from heroines like Mary Ann Jewell, the “governess” of Auckland Island in the icy sub-Antarctic, to Millie Jenkins, whose ship was sunk by a whale.
TUPAIA, THE REMARKABLE STORY OF CAPTAIN COOK’S POLYNESIAN NAVIGATOR will be published in February 2015 by LOCUS PUBLISHING, Taiwan.
It will be a featured book at the Taipei International Book Exhibition (TIBE) in February, where New Zealand is the honored guest and theme country.
It was 1799, and French privateers lurked in the Atlantic and the Bay of Bengal. Yet Eleanor Reid, newly married and just twentyone years old, made up her mind to sail with her husband, Captain Hugh Reid, to the penal colony of New South Wales, the Spice Islands and India. Danger threatened not just from the barely charted seas they would be sailing, yet, confident in her love and her husband’s seamanship, Eleanor insisted on going along. Joan Druett, writer of many books about the sea, including the bestseller Island of the Lost and the groundbreaking story of women under sail, Hen Frigates, embellishes Eleanor’s journal with a commentary that illuminates the strange story of a remarkable young woman. ISBN 978-0-9941152-1-8
THE ELEPHANT VOYAGE – After their boats are blown offshore from one of the most icy and hostile islands in the sub-Antarctic ocean, twelve men are left to live or die by their own wits and stamina. Six survive, to be carried to New Zealand—where the inquiry and court case that follow become an international controversy, with repercussions that reach as far as the desk of the president of the United States.
Judas Island, the first book of the Promise of Gold trilogy.
As she stood on the deck of the brig Gosling, Harriet Gray was forced to face an unhappy truth. She had been duped, yet again. At eighteen, the lovely English actress had already known more than her share of betrayal. And now, a dishonest shipmaster had stranded her on board a ship that was manned by a lusty, treasure-hunting crew, with a pirate captain whose dangerous smile barely concealed his fury. And whose quest for the dark secret of Judas Island was about to unveil an ancient tragedy…
Calafia’s Kingdom – Book two of the Promise of Gold trilogy.
Like a phantom dogging Harriet Gray’s trail, Frank Sefton is polished, charming—and utterly ruthless. Once, he abandoned the actress to a miserable fate on the far-flung shores of New Zealand. Now, he is back in her life—full of devious schemes to rob and mortify her, far from the protection of Captain Jake Dexter, and his gold-seeking crew.
Dearest Enemy – Book three of the Promise of Gold trilogy.
That the Gosling Company should become a theatrical company was a preposterous idea—as crazy as the actual fact that Captain Jake Dexter, once a respectable Yankee mariner, was now an infamous pirate. Yet, he had already traveled such a long, strange path as a fortune-hunting adventurer that metamorphosing into the manager of the first theatre in Sacramento was just another step. But Jake Dexter could never imagine the danger that this involved for Harriet Gray, the young actress he secretly adored, or that his own life would be so threatened.
THE BECKONING ICE – The fifth in the Wiki Coffin series finds the U. S. Exploring Expedition off Cape Horn, a grim outpost made still more threatening by the report of a corpse on a drifting iceberg, closely followed by a gruesome death on board. Was it suicide, or a particularly brutal murder? Wiki investigates, only to find himself fighting desperately for his own life.
“Combining historical and nautical accuracy with a fast paced mystery thriller has produced a marvelous book which is highly recommended.” — David Hayes, Historic Naval Fiction
A Love of Adventure by Joan Druett – Born at sea and raised on shipboard, adventurous young Abigail Sherman wants nothing more than to be wedded to the ocean for life. Like her mother, a pioneer seafaring woman, Abigail is convinced that her destiny is to be a captain’s wife at sea. Instead, fate conspires against her. A Love of Adventure steers the reader through Abigail’s incident-ridden voyage to a nail-biting conclusion, with many exotic landfalls on the way.