Tom Kane's Blog

A word can change a mind. A sentence can change a life. A book can change the world

image of our dog Harvey

It’s been a roller coaster week since I last posted about Harvey. His initial problem with his spine, Ataxia, was due to be operated on a week last Tuesday. But an ultra-scan showed a large mass on his pancreas. The vet suspected pancreatitis, but it could easily have been cancer. Harvey wasn’t eating and was too ill to operate, so they decided to treat for pancreatitis in the hope it was nothing more sinister. It took a few days but Harvey pulled round and started to eat.

By the week-end just gone Harvey was ravenous, always a good sign. By the start of the week the vet’s did another ultrasound scan which showed the mass had not gone down as much as they had hoped. It was decided they would do an exploratory operation to see what was going on with his pancreas and if all was well and they could fix it then continue to do his spinal operation.

The last two weeks have been pretty much a wait and see period. Yesterday Harvey was scheduled to have his operations. The wait up until noon that was a nightmare. But the receptionist telephoned and told us his op was over and he was okay. Not a lot of news but the vet would call us later. By mid-afternoon the vet had telephoned we knew Harvey’s condition was a little more serious than we had thought.

It turns out pancreatitis wasn’t the problem. He had a cyst between his small and large intestine which had caused the bloody mass. This had then attached itself to his pancreas. The vet removed the mass, cyst and part of his intestine and sent these for tests, but he believes it wasn’t cancerous.

Next the vet did the surgery on Harvey’s spine, which went well.

Now we play the waiting game once more. We have visited on a daily basis until yesterday. We decided yesterday he didn’t need any excitement after his operation. Today we will visit in the morning and give him a little bit of light food and keep our fingers crossed he recovers well from both operations.

Then the physio starts on his back and we see how much he can move and what his muscle wastage is like. Once he’s strong enough to come home we will be shown by the physio how we can work on Harvey in our pool. Let’s hope it’s not a cold winter!

Copyright Tom Kane © 2018

 

image of our dog Harvey

What started out as a series I was posting to my blog about dogs in general and how they are treated in Cyprus, has become much more personal.

Our eldest English Springer Spaniel, Harvey, has been at the vets since Saturday. His back legs gave way and he collapsed. He was diagnosed with Ataxia and his case it’s three discs he has a problem with and one in particular is causing fluid to seep into the spinal canal, which caused his collapse.

It’s treatable as the MRI scan revealed. But yesterday Harvey was sick and before going ahead to put him under they scanned him and discovered what appears to be a cyst on his pancreas, causing a sack of fluid to form. The problem is they can’t operate in his current state to get a biopsy. So they are treating him on the basis it’s not cancer and if this works he can then recover and have his operation to repair the discs.

But if he doesn’t get better within 24-48 hours we have a serious decision to make.

I feel we are currently clutching at straws. Only time will tell. So we continue with the waiting game.

Copyright © Tom Kane 2018

 

image of our dog Harvey

Playing the waiting game is one thing, but yesterday was a very long day waiting for news on Harvey’s operation. His Ataxia problem, quite common in dogs his age and his type, was going to be sorted out out with an operation either yesterday or today. By late afternoon we had heard nothing and again I understand because they are busy, but we had to telephone to get any news and again we were told the vet working on Harvey would call us back.

The call came through after six in the evening and it was not good news, in fact it was a major blow. Harvey had been ill during the day and vomited up food he had been given earlier. Tests showed he had another problem, a cyst on his pancreas.

The operation for his spine had been called off and the MRI scan had been forwarded to an expert for their opinion on whether the cyst was benign or… well, you get the picture.

So we are thrown back into limbo and playing the waiting game but the agony is now doubled.

Depression has set in and I’m certain this cloud isn’t going to lift anytime soon today.

Copyright © Tom Kane 2018

 

image from the book The Brittle Sea

Ballantine Learns the Truth.

It had taken Harker weeks of enquiries, bribes and threats, to find his quarry and his tireless work and diligence had finally paid off. Having confirmed a few weeks ago that Magda, or rather Maggie, was living with Mary James, Harker had started wondering about why she had moved from Blackmore’s apartment. He was standing on the corner of a street, much the same as any street in the area, but this street had one particular building that held his attention, it was the home of Mary James. His trick with the small box he had delivered to Maggie had confirmed Maggie’s whereabouts but had shown no other indication of her rumoured condition, her pregnancy. But then, Harker knew nothing about pregnancy. What he did know is that people in desperate need always turn to friends when the going got tough and Maggie’s pregnancy was going to be a tough one. Unmarried and soon to be mother who had no idea who she was or where she came from was of course going to be tough.

Of course, Ballantine would have to be informed of the pregnancy and he would no doubt fly into one of his rages. But what will be will be and Magda’s pregnancy by Blackmore, Harker assumed Blackmore was the culprit, was something Ballantine would have to deal with in his own way. Harker may be cold blooded killer, but he drew the line with women, especially pregnant women, and children. Though it was true, he mused, that in his line of work there is always collateral damage. Like the unfortunate woman in Europe who committed suicide after Harker had despatched her husband. That, to Harker, was unavoidable and not of his making or desire. He took no responsibility for the actions of someone outside his sphere of influence. Harker, of course, was a true sociopath and could always argue in his own head that he wasn’t responsible for the actions of others.

A horse drawn cab pulled up at number 1142 and two woman, one obviously pregnant, alighted. That was the confirmation to Harker and he watched with satisfaction as the women made their slow way up the steps to the large Victorian house and entered using a door key.

Harker turned and made his way back to his employee’s hotel in New York, happy with a job well done.

 

It was as Harker surmised and he was once more standing in the presence Matthew Ballantine, patiently waiting for Ballantine to calm down. Having told Ballantine that his betrothed, Magda, was pregnant, in all likelihood by Blackmore, Ballantine had exploded in a rage, trashing the small coffee table in his hotel room and ripping the New York Times to shreds, a paper Ballantine diligently bought but rarely read fully. Within a few minutes, Ballantine had expended his anger and was back to the fool that Harker had known for so long.

“What do I do now? She is damaged goods. What a waste of money.” Ballantine was leaning on a writing desk with both hands palm down, trembling with the exertion of venting his anger. He picked up the desk’s chair he had attempted to kick across the room and sat down heavily at the small desk he had never used in his long and protracted stay at the hotel.

“Perhaps. Perhaps not.”

Ballantine looked up at Harker. “What do you mean.”

“In my business, I keep my ear to the ground, in order to know what’s going on. I know something about Blackmore that you don’t.”

“You framed him for the mur…”

“Never mention that again, Mr. Ballantine, not here or in public, especially not in public.”

Ballantine stood up quickly and looked away from Harker’s malevolent gaze. He made a show of parting the curtains to a window and looked out on the street below, a nonchalant show of bravado and devil may care that he didn’t feel. Ballantine knew Harker’s eyes were on him, burning into his back, involuntarily making his lower lip tremble. He almost felt like bursting into tears, falling to his knees and begging Harker for mercy. But Ballantine gritted his teeth and slowly muttered, “Very well. What do you know?” Ballantine tried desperately to keep his voice from trembling but made a poor job of it.

“I know Blackmore has picked up a valuable package for his ship’s owner.”

“Really?”

Harker could tell Ballantine was bored with the conversation and was now fiddling with a pencil on his desk.

No attention to detail. No attention span at all.

“Diamonds, Mr. Ballantine. Blackmore is taking possession of a fortune in diamonds, for his owner, Gordon Bellagon.”

Ballantine was immediately focused on what Harker was telling him. If nothing else, Ballantine paid attention to money. “How much is a fortune?”

“Probably more than $30,000 and Bellagon, rather his sister, will be using them as bribes.”

“Bribes? For what?”

“Contracts. She owns a sweat-shop, not far from Washington Square. Her intention is to pull in as many contracts for producing uniforms for anything from the police to municipal workers. These diamonds, all very small and all worth no more than a few hundred dollars in their own right, amount to a big investment for the Bellagons. Bribery is one thing, but bribery with diamonds is a classy touch. I’m sure we could find a way of relieving them of their diamonds, before they even receive them from Blackmore.”

“And how would you manage that?”

“I have a plan I am working on. That’s all you need to know right now.”

Ballantine, pulled open a draw and selected a cigar from an ornate cigar box. He clipped the end of the large Havana cigar and lit it. “What about the Bellagons?” Ballantine said, puffing out a dense cloud of smoke.

“They will be none the wiser.”

“What do you mean?”

“Accidents happen, Mr. Ballantine. Accidents happen, as we have all seen with the tragedy of the Titanic. People sometimes lose everything and if there is nobody around to claim the diamonds then nobody is the wiser. Do I have your permission to pursue this course of action?”

Ballantine took a drag on his cigar and blew out the smoke. “That sweat-shop you mentioned. There are a lot of people working there. Potential witnesses to whatever you intend doing?”

“There are,” Harker said, “and people being people there will be a need to, shall we say, suppress the truth. I will of course require funding.”

Ballantine nodded. “Same terms?”

“Same terms, Mr. Ballantine. Always the same terms.”

As he closed the door to Ballantine’s hotel rooms, William Harker was already making plans in his head that would be far from the same terms he always worked for when he did business with Matthew Ballantine III. This time, Harker was working on plans that would make him rich and provide for his own wife’s needs at the same time. Plans that very much involved Magda and her unborn child.

Copyright Tom Kane © 2018

Please use the menu system below to read further chapters in The Brittle Sea saga

Chapters

MARCH 15, 1931

APRIL 15, 1912

DISASTER

DEBRIS

THE LOSS

MAGGIE

MISSING

NEW YORK

GORDON BELLAGON

THE TWO MINDS OF MAGGIE

A PARTING OF THE WAYS

VENEZUELA

THE DAYS GROW LONGER

CROSSING THE LINE

MAGGIE’S FALL

STORM WARNING

HARKER’S SEARCH

A BOX OF TRICKS

REBELLION

BALLANTINE LEARNS THE TRUTH

This is a first draft, so please forgive spelling & grammatical errors. Context and characters may change between now and the final publication date.

When published as an eBook and paperback at the end of 2018, this book will be the first in a trilogy: The Brittle Sea, The Brittle Land and The Brittle Sky.

As a English expat author living in Cyprus, you may think my life revolves around cocktails by the pool. You would be wrong. In ten years on the island I’ve had my fair share of adventures and interesting experiences.

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Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

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image of our dogs swimming in a lake

Harvey and Holly Swimming

When a serious illness strikes it’s obviously a bad experience for the stricken party, those around the patient have only to await the outcome of tests before treatement, if possible, can begin.

Yesterday was our waiting game in the fight to cure our English Springer Spaniel’s Ataxia. Harvey’s MRI scan indicated a problem with his vertebrae, so we were told late on Sunday night after Harvey had his MRI scan. The vet said he would telephone the next day to let us know what the problem was, once they had analysed the scan.

I fully understand where sick animals or people are concerned that those treating them can be hard pushed to get the time to talk to relatives. But that understanding doesn’t make it any easier to grin and bear it while we wait for news. Yesterday was a grin and bear it day. Yesterday we played the waiting game.

I know, we English are renowned for our stiff upper lips but even that reputation can wear a little thin when an entire day goes by with no news. Even we English crack under the strain and in the end I had to telephone before lunch to find out what I could.

“The vet will call you back,” I was told. So we waited some more. Is it cancer? Does Harvey have some sort of tumour? Is it that complicated it’s taking a long time to work out a plan? Is there no hope and they’re not sure how to break the news? All these thoughts go through your head and there is no answer except that which the experts can impart to us. We waited some more. Finally I telephoned the vet again at four in the afternoon.

“Can you come down and see the vet?”

“Is there a problem?”

“No, he just wants to show you the results.”

So we drove the 25 minutes to the vet’s practice and we had another dozen questions buzzing through our brains.

By five in the afternoon we had the answers we sought and were so thankful that Harvey’s affliction was severe but treatable. The poor boy’s spine is being compressed in three parts, but only one is so serious he has lost the use of his hind legs.

But now came the decision time. Do the vets operate or would we prefer just medication. Medication means he may get better or may not. Surgery means he will get better, but of course there are risks. For a brief few seconds it was like a scene from a medical soap opera as we viewed the MRI scan. But honestly, there was only one decision we could come to. They had to operate.

Harvey’s life is pretty good. Yes he’s old, but so am I. I have my aches and pains, but I don’t expect to be put to sleep just yet! He gets around, has plenty of exercise and a good diet. He sniffs around his estate, chases the odd lizard, albeit slowly, and in general has a pretty good quality of life. He’s not ready for the scrapyard yet and the cost of the scan and his operation isn’t going to stop us doing what’s right for the boy.

But now we start the new waiting game. Harvey’s operation will either be today (Wednesday) or tomorrow. Then he has to have a few days recovery period and will probably need some physio. So we don’t expect to have Harvey home any time soon. All we can do now is sit tight, with our stiff upper lips, and play the waiting game.

Copyright © Tom Kane 2018

 

image of our dog Harvey

When a family member becomes ill, your first emotional response is concern. When it becomes obvious your family member is very poorly, you naturally think of what it will take to cure them. Our dogs are family members on equal standing to our human family members, and it’s therefore our duty to ensure everything possible can be done to cure them. Yesterday, we were to meet our vet in Larnaca for him to explain what it was going to take to find the root cause of Harvey’s Ataxia. We had already been told it may be that Harvey will need an MRI scan and with that knowledge came the realisation that an MRI scan would cost a lot of money.

I don’t know about the rest of the world but here in Cyprus there isn’t really a trend toward pet insurance, mainly because the cost of treatment is not high. On the other hand, having experienced vet bills of epic proportions back in England for our Sammy’s cancer treatment, we took the view that Harvey’s treatment will be costly. When you have a pet, you must expect at some point to visit a vet, especially when they get older. Logic therefore dictates you must also expect the cost of treating that pet to be potentially high.

So we waited out the interminably long morning and worried that the cost of an MRI scan was going to be prohibitive, and we would then have to make a hard decision. Worry goes hand in hand with illness.

The veterinary practice we use is called V3ts and are based just outside Larnaca. They are so very professional and caring, and that would become even more apparent as the day wore on. But unfortunately our meeting wasn’t to be. We arrived at noon and Harvey’s vet was in surgery with another dog. So it fell to a junior vet to explain. That’s okay, we understand that you can’t abandon an animal that’s under the knife simply to explain something to someone. But we got the chance to visit Harvey and the poor boy lay on the treatment room floor looking so very sad. But when he saw us he immediately perked up and tried to stand. It was heart wrenching to watch. So we went down to his level and calmed him down.

The junior vet said that in order to pinpoint the cause of Harvey’s Ataxia, they needed to do an MRI scan. The cost would be €500 for the scan. I must admit I had expected it to be higher and even so I would have still agreed to the payment. We gave our consent and the junior vet told us to expect a phone call later with further details.

As we left, the vet managed to raise Harvey up and with her holding his back legs he walked down the corridor, turning once to say good bye, and then scurrying off as best he could. We made our way home, feeling slightly less concerned for the future, but full of pain and anguish.

The wait in the afternoon was as long and traumatic as the wait in the morning. During that wait we assessed what we knew about Harvey’s Ataxia and we consulted the internet for information. It’s a natural response these days to consult the Oracle, that all knowing entity that will alleviate your worries about a loved ones health problems, so I told myself knowing full well I was lying to myself.

It’s hard, but take my advice, do not consult the internet. Wait for your vet, assuming the vet is competent, to give you information as they discover it themselves. Consulting the internet will only open a can of worms, especially with something like Ataxia that has so many root causes and from that has so many different cures or end results that are incurable and inevitably lead to euthanasia. Your mind will only play tricks on you and the emotions will begin to run even higher than they already are.

Naturally, this advice I give to you after I have ignored my own advice and trawled the internet for information, much of it contradictory and just plain false.

It wasn’t until around six in the evening that we received the phone call, and even then he couldn’t tell us much. Harvey was much the same, but he was scheduled an MRI scan later that night. Later that night? Didn’t these vets sleep? Apparently not, as true to their words they phoned around nine that night. Harvey had his MRI scan, he was awake and he was as fine as could be expected. The vet said he would call the next day with an update, but I pushed for more information. I could tell he was reluctant to give out any false hope, but was happy to confirm it looked like a spinal issue, probably degenerative vertebrae. But he assured me once his team had assessed the MRI scan they would know more and be able to plan treatment.

We felt a whole lot better knowing it wasn’t cancer that was the cause, although it’s still early days so let’s not count our chickens before they are hatched.

Sleep never comes easily and it certainly hasn’t over the last few nights since we took Harvey to the vets Saturday afternoon. But we’ve soon learned that this sort of situation is a waiting game. Waiting, worrying and hoping quickly take over your life and other things are pushed aside. All we can do is wait… and hope.

Copyright © Tom Kane 2018

image of Harvey

Ataxia may sound like a baddie in a Sci-Fi movie or Doctor Who episode, but it isn’t, it’s actually far more of a villain than you may think. I had never heard of Ataxia until our Harvey, a black and white English Springer Spaniel, started walking as if he was drunk. He stumbled, collapsed and then got up and was fine, well as fine as a 14 year old Springer could be.

We took him to the vets late Saturday afternoon and the diagnosis was instant, Ataxia. This is a loss of coordination or unbalanced gait in dogs which is due to sensory dysfunction. There are three types of Ataxia, proprioception, vestibular syndrome and cerebellar. Causes are too numerous to mention and at the moment Harvey is at the vets being assessed. There are so many causes and many are treatable and the dog can lead a pretty normal life, but as with all things there are other, more insidious, causes and these are not necessarily treatable. At times like these, you always think of the worse case scenario.

On Sunday, yesterday as at the time of writing, we received a call from the vet to say Harvey’s condition had not changed in regard to his neurological problem. He did have diarrhea which was a side issue, but that seems to have abated. He has eaten but they have him on a drip because he’s not drinking. The poor boy has no idea why he is in a cage and not at home with us. We had a choice, either leave him at the vets over the weekend or take him home with us. But because of his condition he needed to rest. No walking around or exertion. Harvey being Harvey, he doesn’t do sitting around, even with this awful affliction he was getting up and trying to walk around. Harvey doesn’t do quiet, he’s a fighter.

When he was a pup and we lived in England he would run full pelt down our long lounge, turn on a dime and race back up the lounge ending in throwing himself at the back of our large sofa, bouncing off and then repeating the process. The first time he did this, after three runs he suddenly collapsed halfway down the lounge. We thought he had dropped dead from his exertions. But no, it was a power nap and with a few minutes he was up and at it again.

On a personal level my emotions are all over the place and I’m sure my wife is the same. We lost our last dog, Sammy, to cancer, fourteen years ago. We went with the emotional roller-coaster ride of treating her with chemo at the vet’s recommendation. We both wish we had taken a different course for the sake of Sammy. Her suffering was too acute to watch some days and in the end it was a relief when I took her into the vets for the last time.

Now we have a meeting at our current vet in Larnaca scheduled for noon today. These are excellent vets as you can tell from their dedication to help animals and that they will always make time for you and telephone you with regular updates. But today it truly feels like high noon. I am, we are, strong people, but emotions tend to take control at times like this and the tears will flow today. I only hope they are tears of joy and that the vet can do something to alleviate Harvey’s suffering. We wait and see.

In the meantime we still have Holly to look after.

image of Holly and Harvey

She’s twelve and a lovely dog. Not as crazy and in your face as Harvey is, but nonetheless, she’s our little puppy-dog.

 

Copyright © Tom Kane 2018

image dog in a cage

Here in Cyprus there’s a definite two tier set of values in place when it comes to dogs. Some have dogs as pets, some for hunting and some as guard dogs. In general their owners treat them well. But there are others who treat dogs, and any animals probably, as mere objects that can be discarded when their usefulness is at an end. Then there are those whose cruelty to animals knows no bounds.

Not so long ago a 66-year-old man was jailed for two months for killing his dog by tying it to a car and dragging it through the streets of Limassol on Christmas day, 2013. The man was arrested by the police after a brief pursuit when officers saw the horrific event taking place. The poor Rottweiler being dragged behind the man’s vehicle was found to be dead when the vehicle was stopped by the police.

And it isn’t just dogs that feel the full force of human hatred toward animals. Only a couple of days ago, a man in Limassol came home to find his cat had been battered to death and left in his car park space. There had been some altercation in the apartment block he lived in between himself and a female neighbor. Threats against the cat were made. Cats don’t bludgeon themselves to death, so draw your own conclusions.

The lack of state action over animal welfare has been condemned many times, more recently after a video was posted on social media showing three dogs shivering and trembling after being poisoned in the Kofinou area. Kofinou is the next village on from where I live, with my two English Springers, Harvey and Holly.

image of The 'H' Team

I have no idea what I would do if I found someone had beaten my dogs to death, poisoned them or dragged them through the streets until they were a bloody mess and dead. Taking the law into your own hands is not the answer, but quite honestly, I would be hard pressed not to.

Copyright Tom Kane © 2018

 

 

 

 

image from the book The Brittle Sea

Rebellion.

“Rebels! What rebels?” Blackmore was already stunned by the revelations made by Schott and now it seems he was in the midst of a rebellion. “This voyage is becoming more bizarre by the minute.”

“We have to move, Captain. These rebels mean business.”

“My immediate business, Herr Schott, is concern for the safety of my crew and my ship, in particular the shore-party waiting for my return.” Blackmore put his thumb and forefinger into his waistcoat pocket to pull out his fob-watch, then realised it wasn’t there. “Damn,” he cursed. Blackmore looked up and saw concern in Schott’s face. “I lost it on my last voyage and never managed to replace it. Do you have the time?”

“Time? Time is running out, this will be the third attack this year. We must leave, or they will kill us all.”

“I must go to my men, the shore-party…”

“…will have to fend for themselves. You will not be captain much longer. They will take you as hostage if they don’t kill you first.”

As if to punctuate Schott’s words, gunfire could be heard in the distance.

“Who are these rebels?”

“No more questions, Captain. I value the lives of my family, so we leave, now!”

Schott grabbed his son’s hand and pushed past both his servant and Blackmore. Gunfire was getting louder and louder and there was more of it. A sudden distinct boom of a small cannon brought Blackmore, and the servant, to their senses and they quickly left the building, following Schott as he ran, cradling his son in his arms.

“Where are we going?” Blackmore shouted, but Schott ignored him. He noticed Schott’s servant was racing away from them as fast as he could run. More gunfire, small arms and rifles seemed to be getting closer.

Whoever these rebels are, they are moving fast.

Another boom from the canon and this time a resounding crash from behind made both Schott and Blackmore stop and turn. The building they had just vacated had been hit on one corner and had partially collapsed.

“Lauf! Rennt um euer Leben,” a man shouted as he raced past Blackmore. He stared after the man, not understand the language but certainly understand his actions. Death was marching into their lives and people were beginning to panic. Another boom from a canon, maybe the same one, and this time a building, ahead and to their right, was hit.

“Move,” Blackmore shouted as he ran past Schott. But Schott didn’t move, instead he let his son down to the floor and as he stood on his own two feet, the small boy let out a wail of anguish.

Blackmore ran back to Schott. “What is it? What’s wrong.”

“Mamma!” The child wailed and ran toward the building that had just been hit. Schott, realising what his son was doing ran after him, but too late as the child entered the building another boom from the canon and this time the building took a direct hit. The shell hitting the building blasted the roof off and a fire immediately broke out from the dry timber frame supporting the mud walls.

“Kristina!”

Schott’s plaintive cry and his headlong rush into what was left of the building told Blackmore all he needed to know. Another blast from the canon hit the building and the small school disintegrated, with blazing pieces of wood reigning down around Blackmore.

“Oh my God,” Blackmore muttered. He knew now why Schott was so desperate to leave. He wanted to get to the school, collect his wife and get the children to safety. Blackmore’s realisation that he had hindered Schott with his questions was all the more stark as he watched the small school’s blazing walls collapse. There would be no survivors, of that, Blackmore was certain.

Blackmore’s immediate problem took precedence over the certain death of Schott and his family. He was in a strange town he did not know with rebel forces shooting and shelling seemingly indiscriminately. He needed to get back to the long-boat and ensure his crew and ship survived this assault.

 

For what seemed like hours, Blackmore tried to make his way back to the port area. Not a few hours earlier he had made the journey from the port to Schott’s home but the way back was marked by gunfire, smoke and the occasional boom of a cannon. Thankfully the cannon and gunfire seemed to have veered away from Blackmore’s course. But even so, confusion still reigned and though Blackmore had a good sense of direction, he was finding it hard to navigate through crowds of fleeing and panicky people with smoke and flames seemingly surrounding him.

“Captain!” It was a voice from an alley that Blackmore had just passed. An English voice he recognised. Blackmore turned and was thankful to see one of his crew running up the alley toward him.

“Carlson! Is everyone safe?”

“Aye, Captain,” the seaman said, puffing slightly. “I was sent out by Roberts to try and locate you when the firing started. We had an idea where you were from what the Dockmaster told us. It’s pure luck I found you though, the whole place has gone mad.”

“It’s a rebellion, I’ve been told. Rebel forces are trying to drive out the Germans I suppose.”

“Aye, sir. The Dockmaster said this has been going on for a long time and the rebels attack on a regular basis.”

“Very well, Carlson. Let’s get back to the ship. Are there any more out looking for me?”

Carlson shook his head. “No, captain. I think Roberts thought I was expendable.”

Blackmore smiled and put a hand on the sailor’s shoulder. “No, he knows you have a good head on you and can handle yourself. He sent you because if anyone could find me, you could. Now, lead on and make haste. We need to be sailing out of here as soon as possible.”

 

The longboat bumped alongside the Lady Jane and Blackmore felt a rush of relief as he began his climb up the rope ladder and onto the deck of his ship. Mr. James, and it seems most of the crew, where there to greet him.

“Thank god you’re safe, sir,” James said as he helped his captain aboard.

“Have you any news on what’s going on?”

“None, sir. I was going to ask you the same question.”

Blackmore gasped for breath as he took in the curls of smoke arising from the town. “All I know is there seems to be a rebellion in progress, presumably against the German authorities by the native population.” Blackmore turned to survey his ship. “Have we commenced offloading?”

“Yes, but it was nowhere near complete when the firing started. At which point the crews and boats scattered to the four winds.”

Blackmore sighed heavily. “Then we need to find a way to off-load or just leave. We need to get a message off to Bellagon and ask for advice.”

“Aye sir, but with no way of doing it from our ship…” Blackmore’s first officer left the obvious unsaid.

Blackmore gripped the rail as a gust of wind tugged at his uniform. He felt the heavy weight of the small leather pouch in his jacket pocket and felt a pang of grief followed by regret at Schott and his family’s demise.

“David, we need to leave here. It’s too dangerous to stay and we have no idea if the local telegraph office is in rebel hands. Try and signal the shore and see if you get any response. We need a pilot to steer us out or we need to leave this harbour the old-fashioned way. See if we have maps as well.”

As David James left, Blackmore pulled the pouch out and looked at it. It was a simple thing and Blackmore wondered what it contained. As an employee of Bellagon it was his duty to ensure his employer’s own personal goods where kept safe. But equally, as ship’s captain he had the right to know what it was he was transporting. The voyage was already fraught with mystery and Blackmore needed answers.

He unfolded the multiple leather straps and peered inside. The glint caught his eye immediately and he had to stifle a gasp. Blackmore had never seen so many diamonds.

Without hesitation Blackmore re-wrapped the pouch and went to his cabin. He would place the diamonds in his safe and then he would try to make sense of what Schott had told him about Maggie. Blackmore’s world was in flux and he needed to understand what was happening in order to return to his previously ordered life.

Copyright Tom Kane © 2018

Please use the menu system below to read further chapters in The Brittle Sea saga

Chapters

MARCH 15, 1931

APRIL 15, 1912

DISASTER

DEBRIS

THE LOSS

MAGGIE

MISSING

NEW YORK

GORDON BELLAGON

THE TWO MINDS OF MAGGIE

A PARTING OF THE WAYS

VENEZUELA

THE DAYS GROW LONGER

CROSSING THE LINE

MAGGIE’S FALL

STORM WARNING

HARKER’S SEARCH

A BOX OF TRICKS

REBELLION

BALLANTINE LEARNS THE TRUTH

This is a first draft, so please forgive spelling & grammatical errors. Context and characters may change between now and the final publication date.

When published as an eBook and paperback at the end of 2018, this book will be the first in a trilogy: The Brittle Sea, The Brittle Land and The Brittle Sky.

As a English expat author living in Cyprus, you may think my life revolves around cocktails by the pool. You would be wrong. In ten years on the island I’ve had my fair share of adventures and interesting experiences.

Read a free sample of A Pat on his Back – Only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle.

Read a free sample of my WW2 action/adventure novel Operation Werwolf – Only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle.

Download my FREE Books on Amazon Kindle

Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

 

Download my FREE books on iPhone
Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

 

image of a beach in Protaras, Cyprus

I’ve mentioned Kalamies Beach before, but never said much about the area because at first there only appears to be a beach here, but there are a few hidden gems. Kalamies is close to the town of Pernera which is part of greater Protaras. Some would argue the Pernera is separate from Protaras but I beg to differ. With all the new developments currently under construction it won’t be long before the two are joined at the hip.

As you can see in the top image, the beach has a lovely little church sat between the sea and the beach and it’s quite a sight when there’s a wedding on.

As you stand looking at the church, to the left is a little harbour.

image Boat in harbour

Here you can go on boat trips up and down the coast and even see into Northern Cyprus, at a distance. The Turkish area in the north are a little prickly about uninvited visitors.

Of course there are plenty of water sports to experience from paragliding to the ubiquitous banana-boat ride.

All along the beach at the back there are apartments and at the far end, near the harbour, is the Golden Coast Beach Hotel. We’ve stayed here twice and the accommodation, food, rooms and entertainment are top-notch.

Should you fancy a meal outside of the hotel then I can recommend very highly the Kalamies Beach Restaurant. This is the one restaurant in Cyprus we’ve frequented many times and each time the food and service has been consistently good. From Paphos in the West to Pernera in the East in the ten years we’ve lived in Cyprus we’ve been to many of the islands restaurants and eaten good food and bad. But the Kalamies Beach Restaurant has never disappointed once and is so consistently good it’s worth the hour long drive from home to enjoy a good meal. And of course the view is superb.

image Kalamies Beach Restaurant

And for the adventurous there are plenty of places in Pernera where you can book a Jeep Safari, go snorkeling or just sit back and have a cold drink & watch the world go by. And the world does go by because you will find this area a hot-spot for many from Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, China and Africa.

Kalamies is another little hidden gem in the lovely island of Cyprus.

Copyright Tom Kane © 2018

As a English expat author living in Cyprus, you may think my life revolves around cocktails by the pool. You would be wrong. In ten years on the island I’ve had my fair share of adventures and interesting experiences.

Read a free sample of A Pat on his Back – Only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle.

Read a free sample of my WW2 action/adventure novel Operation Werwolf – Only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle.

Download my FREE Books on Amazon Kindle

Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

 

Download my FREE books on iPhone
Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here