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E. Michael Fisher & James C. Bird
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There’s adventure aplenty when an Anglican priest, Maynard Hyghcock, is forced to become a whiskey smuggler to support his church in 1680’s colonial America. Pirates and smugglers, Indians and African slaves, a co-conspirator beautiful widow who runs the local tavern and a British Naval officer determined to capture and hang our good priest as a pirate make for an exciting cast of characters. Authors E Michael Fisher and James C Bird’s America of the 1680s is vibrant and alive, and THE HYGHCOCK CHRONICLES is a thrilling adventure you’ll long remember!
“November 30, in the year of our Lord 1683
Parish of Murderkill Hundred, Province of Pennsylvania
Dear Lord, did you torment Job to this extent that you torture me? You have seen me raised from a commoner to a gentleman with a living as a parish priest only to take it away from me. Then when I farmed, you allowed my crops to grow almost to harvest, but then tore them from the ground with the fury of your storms. Is this your way to always build me up just to tear me down? What course would you have me follow that you would not smite me? Give me a sign that you may yet look upon me with favor…”
The Reverend Maynard Hyghcock’s answer came in the form of a barrel of untaxed whisky floating in the river. The events leading from the destitute reverend’s recovery of this sign from God, led him into the life of a buccaneer to keep body and soul together and continue his ministry.
The Reverend and the Water of Life
The hackney-coach deposited Maynard Hyghcock in London at the docks. He had traveled for two days upon the post-chaise, from Yorkshire to the northern outskirts of the largest city in Europe, then transferred to the hack that carried him to the banks of the Thames through the greatest concentration of humanity he’d ever seen.
Eager to be about his business, Maynard paid the driver, engaged a porter to load his baggage upon a wheelbarrow, and set out for the lodgings the shipping agent had arranged for him to occupy while waiting for his ship to sail.
“You will have to share a bed,” the innkeeper told Maynard after he arrived at Drake’s Respite, a tavern and knocking shop right on the docks. Seeing the momentary distress of the young traveler, he added, “Not to worry, he be a gentleman like yerself, not some common wharf rat. In fact, he will be sailin’ on the same ship yer booked on.”
Hyghcock swelled with pride. This was the first time anyone had referred to him as a gentleman, and even if the word had been spoken by a slovenly, soiled, ill-clad hosteller, he felt as if he’d been knighted by the king.
Maynard settled into his temporary digs, but there was no sign of the roommate, save for his baggage. With several days before his ship set sail, Hyghcock thought it a good time to get out and see something of the first large city he’d ever visited.
He took off his traveling clothes and donned garments worthy of a young man of means. He had been outfitted by the Duke of York’s own tailor, with cloth and styles suggested by him—not too fine, but wholly suitable for a respectable parson such as himself.
Maynard wore brown woolen breeches, buckled below the knees over linen stockings, and a brown serge frock coat over a green waistcoat and linen shirt with a short collar and modest cravat. He traded his traveling boots for sturdy black leather shoes with polished brass buckles. A short sword hung at his side as he took up the walking stick the Duke had given him with the admonition, “A gentleman never goes about town on foot without his walking stick to deal with gutter-snipes, street urchins, and dogs.”
Putting on his wide-brimmed hat of felted beaver, Maynard set out.
It was a March afternoon in 1680. The bitterly cold air was filled with thick acrid smoke from coal fires, and the feculent stench of the human and horse excrement that lay upon the narrow London streets.
The buildings for blocks around were all the same age, the area having been burned in the great fire of 1666. The flames had cleansed away the stench of death left by devastating plague the previous year. Twenty percent of the population had died and another forty percent had fled the city.
Maynard was shocked by the ragged and emaciated appearance of those he encountered. The sturdy yeomen of home, though poor, at least were well fed from their small farmsteads and well treated by their lord, the Duke of York. The denizens of this metropolis had the look of feral dogs.
London was the capital of the most powerful country in the world, but England’s incessant wars, both internal as well as external, had left the general populace impoverished. What little they made from their irregular jobs was heavily taxed.
Turning a corner, he stopped to observe the tableau of degenerate urbanity before him. Without calling any warning, a housewife threw a pot of slops down upon him from a second story window. Exasperated and soiled beyond comprehension, he returned to his lodgings to find his roommate had returned.
“I see you are not used to the dangers of large towns; anytime you hear a window thrown open it’s time to duck and dodge.” The roommate extended his hand and said, “I am Trevor Trimble, Vicar of Charles Towne Parish in the colony of Carolina.”
"Set in the 1680’s The Hyghcock Chronicles by E. Michael Fisher and James C. Bird is a rollicking story of illicit trade and tax evasion in the newly formed colonies of New York.
Birds, boats, a tannery, illicit trade, tax evasion, Swedes, Dutch, Finns, English, Native Indians, and the African, Kwami, a hurrican, all deliver an enthralling story of adventure. Constable Archie Dunphy would like nothing more than peace to be upheld at Bertrand’s landing, but it is not to be.
The characters of this story are strong and individual and the authors E. Michael Fisher and James C. Bird deliver a sense of reality from early settlement days. The Hyghcock Chronicles - Published by Whiskey Creek Press - is well worth the read!" - Reviewed By: Dakota Wind October 2007 ©Rolling Seas Reviews
"Set in the 1680's, The Hyghcock Chronicles by E. Michael Fisher and James C. Bird is a rollicking story of illicit trade and tax evasion in the newly formed colonies of New York. Birds, boats, a tannery, illicit trade, tax evasion, Swedes, Dutch, Finns, English, Native Indians, and the African, Kwami, a hurrican, all deliver an enthralling story of adventure. Constable Archie Dunphy would like nothing more than peace to be upheld at Bertrand's landing, but it is not to be. The characters of this story are strong and individual and the authors E. Michael Fisher and James C. Bird deliver a sense of reality from early settlement days. The Hyghcock Chronicle, published by Whiskey Creek Press, is well worth the read!"--Dakota Wind, Rolling Seas Reviews
Book Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
No. of Pages: 382
Paper Weight (lb): 16.0
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