On Friday, I published the first sample chapter from my new novel "Lost Armada" in advance of the books' availability on Amazon later this year. The story follows the search for a legendary Spanish treasure over 400 years from the wilds of Oregon, a Confederate renaissance in Central America and the modern day Mexican drug wars. New non-sequential chapters will be posted frequently
Taking a break from the normal jackassery on Dogs and Jeans, I have posted a few paragraphs below for your pleasure.
The Pacific Northwest, March 28 - 1556
Four white blades plunged below the still surface, holding fast as eight weathered hands pulled the oars through the brown water. After six straight days of rain, the sediment carried down by the mountain streams had driven the river delta farther out, displacing the green ocean water. The heavy downpour striking the water’s surface provided a background hiss to the creaking of the oarlocks and the grunting that accompanied each pull.
Another few strokes and the boat entered the lee side of the island; the current from the river eased and a northward flow of the ocean pushed them back. Francisco could feel the rowboat’s progress immediately stall each time the oars came out for the next catch. The oarsmen too had grown sluggish after six days of ferrying from ship to the shore. However, their enthusiasm for rowing was buoyed by the knowledge that the task was at an end. Once they reached the island and this load was safely interred within the cave beyond, they would return to the ship and set sail again for the open sea.
Glancing sternward, Francisco Nunez de Pardo watched the galleon San Leandro pull farther away with every stroke. At 104 feet and 220 tons, the ship was not the largest built in Navidad, but the 20 cannons and 115 seasoned men aboard ensured no larger ship would accost it without paying a heavy penalty. Through the water running off the brim of his polished steel morion helmet, he could see the ship’s crew climbing the rigging of the three masts, preparing the sails. Laughter carried across the water as the marineros made ready.
“They sound glad to be leaving this dreary pile of stones,” sighed the man beside him on the wet seat. Shivering, Hernando Alvar blew into his thick hands to warm them. He tugged at the quilted cotton jacket open across his sizable stomach and hunched forward, barely avoiding the heavy knuckles of the rower facing him reaching to take another stroke.
“Yes they do Hernando,” replied Francisco. He closed his brown eyes and tilted his head back to welcome the moisture. “But it’s raining just as much on the ocean as on the beaches. God knows the stench below decks of a crew soaked to the bone is no compensation for the meagre heat from coal stoves and bodies.”
The droplets fell on his face, the skin bronzed from years in the sun. A deep scar ran from the corner of his left eye, over his high cheek bones to his jaw where it disappeared under his meagre beard. This souvenir from an Aztec warrior’s dagger collected the tiny rivulets forming on his left cheek and channelled them towards his chin.
Hernando laughed. “Don’t pretend invoking God’s name will protect you from that lie, Francisco. You haven’t relished the week conveying these chests any more than the rest of us.”
Read the rest of the chapter here: "Lost Armada"
Back tomorrow with regular Dogs and Jeans fun!