Today’s stop is for Mark M. McMillin’s The Butcher’s Daughter. We will have info about the book and author, a great excerpt from the book, plus a great giveaway. Make sure to check everything out and enter the giveaway.
Happy Reading 🙂
In an age ruled by iron men, in a world of new discovery and Spanish
gold, a young Irishwoman named Mary rises from the ashes of her
broken childhood with ships and men-at-arms under her command. She
and her loyal crew prowl the Caribbean and prosper in the New World
for a time until the ugly past Mary has fled from in the old one finds her.
Across the great ocean to the east, war is coming. The King of Spain is
assembling the most powerful armada the world has ever seen – an
enormous beast – to invade England and depose the Protestant “heretic
queen.” To have any chance against the wealth and might of Spain,
England will need every warship, she will need every able captain. To
this purpose, Queen Elizabeth spares Mary from the headman’s axe
for past sins in exchange for her loyalty, her ships and men.
Based on true historical events, this is a tale about war, adventure, love
and betrayal. This is a story about vengeance, this is a tale of
“… a pleasurable and action-packed read … a delicious spin to the
otherwise tired clichés of male captains … the joy of the open
seas – as well as the danger churning below – pulses throughout this
rip-roaring, hearty tale of the high seas.” – Kirkus Reviews
My lads forced the big man down to his knees before me. They stretched his arms out taut and held him firmly in place for me.
“Why, Captain Dowlin,” I said and laughed, “you’ve gone and pissed yourself I see! You’ve gone and soiled my deck! And my crew scrubbed these planks down with holystones just this morning. They put their backs into it let me tell you. They scrubbed this deck down clean.”
“Please,” Dowlin pleaded, whimpering with spittle and snot running down his long beard. His eyes were nearly swollen shut from the good drubbing my men had given him. “Please, please, please…” he repeated over and over again.
“Please?” I asked. “Is that all you can say? How pathetic. I pray you can beg far better than that, especially when it is your own, pitiful life hanging in the balance. Come now, I know you can do better and I promised my lads a bit of entertainment tonight before supper.”
“Please, my lady, please spare my life. For mercy’s sake. I have gold. I have much gold!”
“For mercy’s sake?” I asked. “No, I think not for mercy’s sake. But for gold you say? Well now, you’ve piqued my curiosity there. And how much glittering gold is your miserable life worth to you, Dowlin?”
“Anything, name your price!”
I looked over at what was left of Dowlin’s bloodied and beaten crew herded around the main mast in a tight circle. They were bound in chains, intently watching my every move, soaking in my every word. After today they would be my men.
My own lads knew the drill. They forced Dowlin down lower, exposing the back of his soft neck to me.
I stood to the side and drew my sword. “The price Dowlin – is your head!”
“Nooooooooooooo…” Dowlin screamed just before I cleaved my way through flesh and bone. With one, clean stroke, his severed head rolled grotesquely across my deck until it came to rest at the feet of his defeated crew.
And then I pointed my sword at them, the bright, steel blade now dripping with Dowlin’s fresh blood. “As my men will vouch,” I told them, “I’m no purveyor of lies and because I do not lie I cannot say to you that killing gives me no pleasure. Your master was a wretched pig and it gave me great pleasure to kill him. Now you know why some call me Bloody Mary. Now you serve me and this ship – or not. You are free to choose.”
The upshot of my touch of drama was grand. The prisoners all at once dropped to their knees and groveled at my feet. They all at once pledged their undying loyalty to me.
“Introduce the new lads to our ways.”
“With pleasure, Mum, with pleasure!”
Thomas Gilley was my rock. He had been with me from the beginning. For nearly two years we had crisscrossed the vast and perilous oceans together. For the past year we had sailed under Dowlin’s cruel shadow.
“And our course, Mum?”
“The new lads will tell you – gladly now I should think – what our new heading is to be.”
And by that of course I meant that Dowlin’s men would tell us where Dowlin’s gold was stashed away, or pay the awful price for their silence.
As my men went about their labors, securing the heavy guns and making repairs to shattered planks, to torn lines and sail, I went below to my great cabin, content with a good day’s work. Dowlin had thoughtlessly, and without good purpose, brutalized any who had crossed his path. Men, women, children, he cared not. Yes, Dowlin was a wretched, stinking pig who often killed for sport. I had done mankind a favor by dispatching him. But in my world, Dowlin had also been a lord and master, a prince. His death I knew could not be cheaply bought.
“An inspiring performance, Mum!” a voice called out, startling me as I stepped into my great cabin. The voice popped out from behind the door, closed it quickly and slid the bolt back inside the socket.
I would not give the intruder the satisfaction of knowing that he had, for once, caught me unawares. “I’m glad you were amused,” I told him flatly.
He slipped an arm around my waist and pulled me close against him. “Do you,” he asked with a smile, “despise all men?”
“All but one or two,” I replied and kissed him lightly on the lips. Then I reached down between his legs and grabbed him by his privates. He was already stiff and eager. I couldn’t help myself and moaned with anticipation.
“Only one or two?” he inquired. “Dare I ask who?”
“Ah, you are safe for now my dearest,” I answered, batting my eyes flirtatiously. “Well, at least for a night or two. You have skills, remarkable skills worth keeping.”
“Aye, it was a splendid day indeed. I’ve always been exceptionally good at fighting, equally talented with sword, knife, a musket or explosives. I suppose one could say I was born to it.”
“You are a great warrior, James Hunter,” I replied honestly and squeezed him even harder. “But those are not the skills that interest me tonight. I dare say you have other skills that I’ve taken quite a fancy to, skills I wish to test.”
“Ah, now, that is why I’m here my lady,” Hunter replied and flashed his brilliant smile for me. “Not too tired from all that killing?”
“Shut up and take me you fool. Ravish me – I am hot for your wicked touch…”
Hunter obliged me gladly, with all he had to give.
Born in 1954 in Indiana, Mark McMillin has lived in a number of states
throughout the U.S. as well as overseas. He attended Canisius College
in Buffalo, New York, focusing his studies mostly on military
history, and served as a cadet in Canisius’s nationally recognized
ROTC program. After graduating in 1976, Mark was commissioned a
Second Lieutenant in the United States Army and was stationed in Bad
Kissingen, Germany where he served with the elite 11th Armored
In 1986, Mark received his J.D. degree from The John Marshall Law School
in Chicago, Illinois and began his legal career with a law firm in
White Plains, New York focusing his attention on general corporate
law. In 1994, Mark moved to Virginia and ventured out into hazardous
world of litigation where, in 1999, he won what was reported to be at
the time one of the largest and longest federal criminal trials in
Virginia’s history. Mark thereafter moved to Georgia where he resumed
his general corporate practice and served as general counsel for
several companies, including a $1B publicly-traded airline.
Mark has been a life-long student of military history. And he has always
had a passion for reading and love for writing and wanted to someday
write his own book. But write a book about what? Mark had no desire
to write about some subject that 100 authors before him had already
delved into. And then, almost by accident, this fascinating, little
known story of Captain Luke Ryan fell into his lap. It was an
opportunity was too good to pass on and so Mark began the long and
tedious journey of researching, writing and rewriting. The twelve
year project ended in 2011 with Gather the Shadowmen (The Lords of
the Ocean), Prince of the Atlantic and Napoleon’s Gold.
Mark currently lives in the Southeastern part of the United States.
for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!