It is 1793. John Pearce and his Pelicans are going home - to gain their freedom and, using the evidence they have, put the treacherous Captain Ralph Barclay in the dock. But first they must take part in the evacuation of Toulon. With the Republican Army at the gates the citizens are panicking, trying to flee the bloody guillotine. Confusion reigns and Pearce must keep his wits about him in order to survive.
This is not the end of the troubles they face: the ship designated to remove the wounded from Lutyens hospital has been deliberately delayed by Admiral Hotham, the whole situation made worse when it is discovered many of the French ships singled out for destruction have been saved by the Spanish; was it naive to expect help from a nation more often an enemy than a friend? Captain Ralph Barclay and his wife Emily are among those on a ship back to England; Pearce must sail in close proximity to both - difficult given his loathing for the Captain, in contrast to his regard for the lovely Emily.
She discovers Pearce has a copy of the lies her husband told at his recent court martial, papers that would ruin his career and her future security. And then comes that dread thing, a fire aboard a wooden ship of war! Cast adrift, Pearce and his Pelicans find help from an unlikely source, yet still they face a pursuit they cannot outrun, with no idea from where help may come. Finally back on British soil, the Pelicans hope they have reached the end of their troubles, but with the important documents missing the real concerns have only just begun. Emily Barclay holds the key, but do her loyalties lie with her husband or her conscience?
Author: David Donachie
Title: An Ill Wind
Series: John Pearce
First Published by: Allison & Busby
Date: 16 November 2009