"Taut ... Sutherland is very good" - Washington Post


The Cobras of Calcutta

(Historical) - Clive's expedition to Bengal
(Volume 1 of The Decipherer's Chronicles)


T he sepoys were restless. I had noticed this on coming away from the factory, but I had been settled at Cossimbazaar two weeks only and it did not then signify with me. Men about to hunt are all of them restless, be they hard men to hounds in the green fields of Leicestershire or a platoon of sepoys gone pig-sticking on the hot plain of Bengal. I was new to them also, and young, being barely seventeen years of age, and there were among them men of fifty years and more.

The Hawks of London

(Historical) - John Wilkes's return to London
(Volume 2 of The Decipherer's Chronicles)


The fifteenth night of November, 1767, and I upon a dock by Deptford, waiting.

‘You would be warmer in the Greyhound, sir. I will fetch you when he comes.’

‘How old is Langridge?’


‘Did you not think to go with him?’

‘Langridge with the wherry, and me to stay and wait for you. That was Mr Carrington’s order.’

‘And Mr Carrington to the theatre,’ said I quietly, to which Baxter made no answer, for in truth he was as little pleased as I.

The Eagles at York Town

(Historical) - The final siege of the Revolutionary War
(Volume 3 of The Decipherer's Chronicles)


I got the fellow in my sights and held him there.

‘Militia?’ said Campbell; but I could not tell.

The man was coming around behind the rocks on the headland of the cove, his musket held across his chest. He was a hundred yards off from us, advancing cautious and slow. He picked his way about the rocks as though to keep hid from the muddy beach, stopping every few yards to look ahead. But we had made no fire, and the fallen pine behind which we crouched hid us from his view. The fellow came on, looked about, and stopped again. I had a quick suspicion of the reason.

‘Alone?’ said I quietly.

Man on a Rock



I got a plane to Malaga and picked up a rental and drove west.

After a couple of hours I was through all the developments, the villas, the condos and the golf resorts, and past Sotogrande, then I hit that high part of the road that curves around the dry hills and gives you your first look at Gibraltar. The Rock. A geological shipwreck with a town at its base, and a high peak hidden by cloud. You could see North Africa through the heat haze across the straits.

The flamenco sounded loud on the player, and I rode with it all the way down to La Linea.

East of the City

(Thriller) - Murder at the Dog Track


'You still want it?’

When I didn’t answer her little joke, Ms Kerry Anne Lammar, the senior sales agent on the Cooper’s Dock development, went on down the hall and turned right.

‘I don’t think you’ve seen the kitchen,’ she said.

I let my fingers trail along the wall as I followed her. They’d painted the walls, and laid the carpet too, since the last time I’d been to see it. In the kitchen I found Kerry Anne striking a pose by the fridge. She was smiling.

West of the City

(Thriller) - Murder in the City of London


The rain falls in sheets, the wind blows, and the world is grey: it is winter in the City. I get to work early, and passing his office I put my head round his door.


Nobody there.

In my own office I hang my jacket over the chair. The floor-to-ceiling window gives me a view of the Thames, and for a moment I watch the dim light move slowly up the river. Then I glance at the Reuters screen and flick through the paperwork on my desk, a sheaf of documents and memos, the litter of the previous day’s problems that filters up to me each morning. There’s one long memo from Stephen Vance, our Finance Director, about the Meyer Group’s bid for Parnells. This is the big one.

The Interrogation of Klaus Fuchs

(Espionage/Psychological) - The story of an atomic spy


'Film? No sir. Try Harlowes, just along.'

He left the shop, went along and tried Harlowes.

'Sorry sir.'

He came out, pausing on the pavement to check his watch before turning from the row of shops and crossing the square. A minute later another man entered Harlowes, approached the counter and showed his card. 'That fellow just in here. Steel-rimmed spectacles.'

The elderly assistant read the card and then looked up, curious. 'Foreign chap.'

'Yes. What was he looking for?'

No Greater Shock

(Short Story/Historical) - Captain Cook at Kealakekua Bay
Free to Read


We sighted Ohwayhee on the fifth day of January, but the lack of any convenient harbour on the windward side of the island compelled us to stand off, and to seek a better landing to the west. To begin, it was an amusement and a distraction to have the land near; I frequently joined my marines at the rail to take a view of the small villages near the shore and the cultivations upon the higher slopes. Nor were the natives less curious than we, coming out in their long-canoes from the island to trade with us, which Cook allowed, though with the usual prohibitions against any trade in musketry, powder or shot.

Diplomatic Immunity

(Thriller) - Murder at UN Headquarters


On Manhattan Island by the East River there are eighteen acres that are not legally part of the United States. This fact was impressed upon me throughout the first week of my induction, but acquired the force of reality only when I was called upon to pledge allegiance to a charter that was not the U.S. Constitution and to a flag that was not my own.

The Consignment

(Thriller) - Weapons of War


'You'll recognize Trevanian?'

'I'll know him,' I said.

'Tell him who you are, background history.'

I looked up from my coffee to Milton Rossiter, the major shareholder and president of Haplon Systems, my employer.

'Who I am?'

'Ex-Army, that bit.' He skirted around behind our stand, sucking in his gut, then he came back with a big cardboard cutout of a rifle and propped it against the table. He clicked his fingers and pointed at me. 'Hey, didn't he have somethin' to do with Grenada? Maybe give you two somethin' to talk about.'

'I was never in Grenada.'


(Medieval Tale) - A Life of Saint Francis


There was a young man of Assisi, and his name was Francis.

One day, whilst troubled in spirit, he entered the ruined chapel of San Damiano to pray. He knelt before the stone altar and spoke to God, saying, 'Why do the good suffer?'

But God answered him nothing.

Then Francis spoke again, saying, 'Why do the evil prosper?'

But again God answered him nothing.

Francis continued to kneel before the altar until evening came on. Then he lifted his eyes to the cross and said, 'What can I do?'

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