Spotlight on Pirates & Shipwrecks and Survival (Tom McCarthy), First Chapter Reveal, & Giveaway!!
Today we're excited to share an exclusive chapter reveal
of Pirates & Shipwrecks by Tom McCarthy.
Below you'll find more about Tom, his book, plus a giveaway!
An excerpt from Pirates and Shipwrecks
Terror on the High Seas
Arrrrrrgghh! Imagine you’re asleep in a swinging hammock on a creaking ship, miles from any land, surrounded by people who haven’t had baths in weeks. Now, imagine that a crack of lightning signals the start of a terrible storm, a storm that will toss your ship high over waves and deep into trouble. Do you survive the storm? Do you find a raft and make it to shore? What then? Who’s there to greet you? Are they friends or are they bloodthirsty pirates?
In this book, you won’t find any boring stories about people doing ordinary things in ordinary places. Instead, you’ll meet people who find themselves in dire situations where the wrong move could mean death or disaster.
Daniel Collins was a young man from Maine who was on his way to becoming a captain of his own ship. He had second thoughts about long cruises after his trip to Cuba was cut short by pirates—real pirates, not the storybook kind.
There’s also Captain Francis Leopold McClintock, who was the perfect man to try to solve the mystery of Captain Sir John Franklin and his crew, who disappeared into the frozen landscape of the Arctic in 1845. Captain McClintock’s main goal, beyond surviving the excruciating living conditions? To settle nasty rumors that Captain Franklin and his men suffered a fate worse than death.
In this book, you’ll meet a woman who spent most of her life dressed as a man, and to great effect. Mary Read was known and feared as one of the fiercest pirates to ever sail the Caribbean—she was brave enough to outfight her own shipmates alongside her friend, Anne Bonny, another fearsome female pirate!
On some deserted islands, it’s not pirates you have to be afraid of—it’s cannibals! This is what Captain William Clement Doutty was concerned with when his ship ran aground on a tiny island near India, right next to another British ship that had weathered the same terrible storm. Will the two groups be able to keep from starving and from becoming a celebration dinner for the hostile islanders?
Then there is Barbarossa, a short, one-armed captain who frightened everyone, especially the fussy and prim crews of some of the royal ships he attacked and burned and plundered. From a childhood spent selling his father’s pottery to becoming the most feared pirate in the Mediterranean, Barbarossa shows what motivation and cunning can do for a career on the high seas.
Ready to take a sea voyage?
The Lucky Escape of
A tale of desperate men, fierce pirates, and missing heads, adapted from the Narrative of the Shipwreck of the Brig Betsey, of Wiscasset, Maine, and Murder of Five of Her Crew, By Pirates, on the Coast of Cuba, Dec. 1824. It is by Daniel Collins, one of only two survivors.
Walk slowly into an old Maine graveyard today and you can still see the tombstones of the young men. They are farther back, behind neater rows of graves from more recent times. But you can find them if you look, and you can still make out the words carved into the granite markers almost two hundred years ago.
1808–1826 Lost at Sea
1818–1834 Missing at Sea
In those days, young men went to sea and many did not come home. Unexpected storms, leaky ships, bad charts, and maybe just bad luck—it was a hard life to go to sea.
Daniel Collins was an ambitious, up-and-coming sailor, and he knew from the time he was a boy that he wanted to go to sea. He was already third mate of the Betsey, just two men away from being a captain, which was his goal.
In November 1824, the plan was to get some good Maine lumber—pine and birch from the nearby banks of the Sheepscot River—load it onto the Betsey, make the fairly safe trip down to Cuba, unload it, and come back home.
The seven-man crew didn’t know that five of them would soon have their names carved into tombstones in graveyards around the small village of Wiscasset. They didn’t know their bones would soon be scattered on the white, sandy beach of a small island called the Cross of the Father, not too far from Cuba.
We know where the bones are. But we don’t know whether the heads of those young sailors are in the same place.
Things began to go wrong very quickly on the way down to Cuba. The captain, Ellis Hilton, an experienced and kind man who had made the trip to Cuba before, was sick almost the whole way. He spent a lot of time in his bunk in his cabin. That made the mood on board a bit tense. Crews need leadership to give them confidence.
Three weeks after they left Wiscasset, Maine, the Betsey made it to the warm and shallow waters of the Caribbean Sea, a place dotted with islands. Some of the islands were regular stops for boats from Maine. Other islands meant danger, with rocks and hidden underwater reefs lying in wait to trap sailors who didn’t know where they were going or were tired and a little careless. Maybe they had a sick captain who couldn’t give directions.
The captain ordered that the Betsey anchor and the crew take a well-deserved rest near a beautiful, unknown island. That would be the last rest all of them would take.
That night, Daniel Collins had an unsettling dream.
The dream frightened him so much he couldn’t get back to sleep. He bolted upright in his bunk, worried, but not sure why. The dream put him on edge. In a very short time, that uneasiness would save his life.
The next day, they pulled up anchor. They were almost to Cuba and the captain was anxious to deliver the lumber and be paid. That night, the wind picked up, becoming stronger and more unpredictable. Captain Hilton, who had been in his cabin as usual, came out briefly to take a look.
When Daniel Collins saw the captain emerge from his cabin, he asked if he could drop some of the sails to slow the boat down and make things a bit safer. He worried about a storm.
Captain Hilton said no. Time was money, and there was no time to slow down now that they were so close to dropping off the cargo. When the captain went back to his cabin, Daniel Collins took charge as the night became so dark and starless he could barely see his hand in front of his face.
Later that night, when the first mate, Joshua Merry, came up to take over steering, Daniel Collins told him, “All is well.”
Daniel Collins went to his bunk, but couldn’t sleep. A half hour later, any chance of nodding off ended quickly and violently when the Betsey hit something very hard and unforgiving. There was a tremendous crashing explosion of noise. Daniel Collins was thrown from his bunk and covered with boxes and barrels from storage.
The Betsey had hit an underwater reef and was sinking. Her thick wooden sides had ripped open and water was rushing in.
The Betsey’s wide and solid bow had been torn off like a thin piece of tissue paper. The boat came apart quickly, groaning and screaming, as if it were alive.
The valuable cargo the crew had loaded three weeks before rushed out to sea, lost forever. The crew leaped from the crumbling ship, then pulled themselves into the Betsey’s one lifeboat, which had come loose and floated nearby.
Then they watched, stunned, as the Betsey sank to the bottom.
Daniel Collins was happy to see the captain’s dog had made it into the lifeboat. Not for sentimental reasons, though. If they couldn’t reach the safety of land, the dog would make a nice dinner, he thought.
At least they were all alive—Captain Hilton, Joshua Merry, Daniel Collins, Charles Manuel, Seth Russel, Benjamin Bridge, and the cook, Detrey Jerome. But things had changed. There would be no delivering lumber to Cuba, no Christmas celebrations, and no warm sunshine on the beach while they counted their hard-earned money.
That was not even the worst of it. But, of course, they didn’t know that at the time.
Meet Pirates & Shipwrecks!!
When Daniel Collins and the crew of the Betsey set sail for Cuba in 1824, they have no idea of the horrors that lie ahead. This is just one of the stories in a collection of five true tales about pirates and shipwrecks that introduces readers to the perils of the high seas.
Pirates and Shipwrecks: True Stories is the first book in the Mystery & Mayhem series for 9–12 year olds, which features true tales that whet kids’ appetites for history by engaging them in genres with proven track records—mystery and adventure. History is made of near misses, unexplained disappearances, unsolved mysteries, and bizarre events that are almost too weird to be true—almost! The Mystery & Mayhem series delves into the past to provide kids with a jumping-off point into a lifelong habit of appreciating history.
Each of the true tales in Pirates and Shipwrecks, including stories about pirate Barbarossa and adventurer John Franklin, is paired with interesting facts about the setting, industry, and time period. A glossary and index provide the opportunity to use essential academic tools. These nonfiction narratives use clear, concise language with compelling plots, drawing in both avid and reluctant readers.
Tales of survival are as old as humanity! In Survival: True Stories, readers discover accounts of survival that required innovation, a thirst for adventure, and even a bit of brutality. Whether it’s Shackleton on the frozen landscape of Antarctica or William Bligh and his loyal followers adrift in the Pacific after mutiny on the Bounty, survival is a fascinating topic for readers ages 9 to 12!
Survival is the second book in the Murder & Mayhem series, which features true tales that whet kids’ appetites for history by engaging them in genres with proven track records—mystery and adventure. History is made of near misses, unexplained disappearances, unsolved mysteries, and bizarre events that are almost too weird to be true—almost! The Mystery & Mayhem series delves into the past to provide kids with a jumping-off point into a lifelong habit of appreciating history.
Each of the true tales told in Survival are paired with interesting facts about the setting, the industry, and the time period. A glossary and index provide the opportunity to practice using essential academic tools. These nonfiction narratives use clear, concise language with compelling plots that both avid and reluctant readers will be drawn to.
Meet Tom McCarthy!!
Tom McCarthy is an award-winning writer and editor. He has developed and edited titles that have won such awards as Harvard University's Goldsmith Award for Book of the Year, Reader's Digest Top Five Summer Books, Sport Illustrated's Top Books of the Year, and Esquire's The Year's Five Best Read. As the series editor for several best-selling collections, including Incredible Pirate Tales, Ghost Pirates, and Incredible Tales of the Sea, he has developed a knack for finding great stories for readers of all ages. Tom lives in Guilford, CT.
Pirates & Shipwreck and Survival
By: Tom McCarthy
Release Date: October 11, 2016
Publisher: Nomad Press
One winner will receive a copy of both Pirates & Shipwreck and Survival ~ (US only).
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*
So excited about anything pirate-related! Just bought Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman last Saturday, and loved Pirates! by Celia Rees. Looking forward to reading some non-fiction in this category.
I enjoy both covers and find the artwork excellent. I've always been fascinated by stories of survival (I even occasionally watch Survivor even though these people aren't truly abandoned and alone) so these books sound exciting to read.