POWDER MONKEY

BY ADAM HARDY

(aka SAILOR'S BLOOD)

George Abercrombie Fox decided, not particularly rationally and not at all calmly, that he would first shoot the Master-at-Arms and cut off his head and boil it, would string up the cook and all the bosun's mates he could lay hands on, would in various gory and unbecoming ways dispose of most of the other petty officers, and then would set fire to the ship and dance about in glee as she burned to the waterline and sank.

Fox wasn't much concerned about anybody aboard this King's ship. If anyone did manage to escape his imagined attack long enough to attempt to swim ashore, Fox would push him under. His attitude was understandable, for he was still angered and aching from a whipping. He was only eleven years old and a powder monkey, one of the lowest forms of life afloat. Such was the beginning of Fox's career in the Royal Navy.

In a short time, however, he would rise through the ranks. He would survive the brutality of bigger men and demanding officers. He would acquit himself bravely amidst the crashing chaos of cannonfire and hand-to-hand combat. He would battle the French, the Spanish, the Americans ... any enemy who dared to risk his wake.

He would become the toughest bastard who ever walked the rolling deck of a fighting ship!