Excerpt from “Chapter 8 – Hampton-Solomon Residence – Fox Chapel Borough, Pittsburgh, PA”

Jolie Rouge: A Swashbuckling Tale of Adventure and Intrigue by Rick Ley

Excerpt from “Chapter 8 – Hampton-Solomon Residence – Fox Chapel Borough, Pittsburgh, PA”:

Approximately 150 million years ago, when dinosaurs and their kin
still ruled the earth, chemical and biological processes converged to
create what would become one of the great geographic splendors
on earth: the Bahamian Archipelago. Yet despite the dinosaurs’
great size and dominance, these processes would soon dwarf the
mightiest sauropods, and outlive the iconic Tyrannosaurus rex.

Millimeter by millimeter, calcium carbonate rained out of the seawater
and joined the calcareous and siliceous remains of microorganisms
to form a limy ooze, pushing limestone layers down into the crust at
a rate of 1.5 inches every 1,000 years.

This deposition continued until about 2.5 million years ago, when
climate perturbations caused cyclic advances of the polar ice cap.
These ice ages likely affected the pre-Bahamian limestone, but it
was the final glacial stage—the Wisconsin, occurring between
110,000 and 10,000 years ago—that would have a profound effect
on the island landscape. As the climate cooled, vast quantities of
water that had been locked up by the ice sheets during their glacial
crawl from the north polar regions caused the sea level to fall 350
feet, exposing a great expanse of limestone and reef. The now
emergent limestone was mercilessly subjected to the forces of wind
erosion and chemical weathering that, together, carved the many
small sharp features, caves, sinkholes, and grandiose blue holes
that make up the landscape observed today.

Excerpt from “Chapter 7 – Cape Lopez, Gabon – February 10, 1722”

Jolie Rouge: A Swashbuckling Tale of Adventure and Intrigue by Rick Ley

Excerpt from “Chapter 7 – Cape Lopez, Gabon – February 10, 1722”:

Roberts awoke before dawn and as he lay in his great cabin-room bed,
he listened. Save for the sounds of gently lapping waves, intermittent
rain, and the cries of monkeys and the other night things off in the distance,
an overwhelming silence filled his ears with irrepressible white
noise. The silence was deafening, maddening, and perpetuated the mixed
emotions of anxiety and frustration that had arrested his sleep for much of
the night. The lack of shipside commotion meant two things: that his crew
was either passed out or still too drunk to function properly, and that Lord
Skyrme remained overdue.

He continued to lie in bed and listen for some time, his brain struggling
to fall back to sleep until impatience finally won the war of nerves. Roberts
rousted himself and with a huff, dressed for the weather before going topside.
It was just as well, he thought; his mind was wound so tightly that it
was senseless to further contemplate sleep. There was also nothing he could
do from his quarters until he met Captain Hill, his latest conquest, for
breakfast. Perhaps from the weather deck he would find Skyrme and their
sure-to-be new prize returning from the open sea—now that certainly
would relieve at least some pent-up anxiety and allow him to enjoy his
much anticipated morning victual.

Excerpt from “Chapter 6 – Straits of Florida – Atlantic Ocean”

Jolie Rouge: A Swashbuckling Tale of Adventure and Intrigue by Rick Ley

Excerpt from “Chapter 6 – Straits of Florida – Atlantic Ocean”:

Cat Solomon was awakened early the following morning by the
clanging of silverware and the savory aromas of bacon and freshly
brewed coffee wafting her way from the kitchen. Without bothering to
change out of her nightshirt, she scrunched her feet into a pair of slippers
and shuffled down the hall and into the condo common room. Beyond the
center island countertop Brett was busily making breakfast. Aware of her
presence, he looked up from the skillet in his hands to cheerily announce,
“Good morning, Catherine. I hope that you slept well?”

Cat groggily waved back, yawning. Ruffling fingers through her pillow-
misshapen hair, she shuffled forward and with a smile said, “Oh, I did.”
Another yawn. “You continue to amaze me, Brett,” she added, now looking
over Brett’s shoulder from the same side of the center island. “What did we
do to deserve breakfast? And it smells soo good.”

Excerpt from “Chapter 5 – Great Inagua, Bahamas – April 1721”

Jolie Rouge: A Swashbuckling Tale of Adventure and Intrigue by Rick Ley

Excerpt from “Chapter 5 – Great Inagua, Bahamas – April 1721”:

Engagements at sea are different from those conducted on land. Terrestrial
battles are messy affairs that often encompass many fields
and forests, even entire towns and the accompanying countryside. The carnage
is also somewhat simple to quantify. All one needs to do is simply
look around to see the aftermath of the adversaries who had just doled out
all that their respective energies could muster. The question “Who won?” is
often not so simple to answer, considering that the field of play is likely to
be strewn on both sides with the remains of the combatants, may they be
dead, dying, or wounded and wishing they were dead. Maritime warfare is
much different in any number of ways. First and foremost, sea battles are
typically limited in area and conducted by relatively few ships. And then
there is the sea itself—all that water, the universal solvent that neatly and
quickly removes the messes inflicted upon it. The Frizzington had been
blown to hell and all that remained were some disseminated scraps of wood
quietly slipping away on the tide. The bodies of those who had fallen or
were thrown overboard on the remaining ships were either drowned and had
already settled beneath the surface or were being devoured by the sharks
attracted to the fray. Finally, there was no second-guessing the winner, the
losing ships having been expeditiously overrun by the victors.

Excerpt from “Chapter 4 – Carr Residence – Stock Island, Florida”

Jolie Rouge: A Swashbuckling Tale of Adventure and Intrigue by Rick Ley

Excerpt from “Chapter 4 – Carr Residence – Stock Island, Florida”:

Their plane touched down with nary a bump or jostle before taxiing
the short distance to the terminal without hitting Rey’s moose, a
palm tree, an alligator, or any other creature of the Deep South. When the
flight attendant finally announced that they could unbuckle their seat belts,
the plane full of happy vacationers jumped impulsively to their feet to start
rummaging through the overhead compartments for their bags. Cat and
Damon, who were now seated opposite each other when Rey had lost his
choice seating because of an ill-advised trip to the lavatory, were among the
throng of aisle-seaters who quickly procured their belongings and anxiously
awaited their turn to do the penguin march toward the front of the
plane. That was, until an announcement over the PA system informed the
passengers that a slight technical difficulty at the front of the aircraft would
delay their exit a little while longer.

Excerpt from “Chapter 3 – The Caribbean – April 1721”

Jolie Rouge: A Swashbuckling Tale of Adventure and Intrigue by Rick Ley

Excerpt from “Chapter 3 – The Caribbean – April 1721”:

Bartholomew Roberts and Quartermaster Sympson looked briefly at
each other before leaping from their chairs, pushing away from the
great oak table, and taking flight. Across the captain’s quarters, through the
doorway, past the dank confines of the ship’s stern, then up several flights
of stairs they hurried. Upon reaching the weather deck and the light of day,
their senses were assaulted by a flurry of activity and a cacophony of hoots
and hollers uttered from the Royal Fortune’s crew. It took only a few seconds
to locate the focus of their collective attention. Far ahead and just off
to starboard, a small smudge—a ship—was sailing on the horizon.

Excerpt from “Chapter 2 – Miami International Airport”

Jolie Rouge: A Swashbuckling Tale of Adventure and Intrigue by Rick Ley

Excerpt from “Chapter 2 – Miami International Airport”:

The wheels of US Airways Flight 1886 touched down with a surprisingly
gentle double-thud. The landing was followed immediately by
the immensely powerful roar of engines set in full reverse-thrust and after
that, a long and slightly bumpy if not soothing taxi into Concourse J of the
South Terminal. Once the plane had finally come to a stop, Cat Solomon
took a brief look out the window and then at her husband, Pete Hampton,
seated beside her. Cat was pleased and not at all surprised to find Pete
already beaming. “We have arrived!” he exuberantly proclaimed.

“Indeed we have!” Cat replied, with equal enthusiasm.

The reason for the excitement was their pending four-day mini-vacation,
which was about to conclude its first leg of air travel at Miami International
Airport with a final destination slated for later that day in Key
West. By all accounts the trip was a significant—and positive—departure
from their career-first lifestyles that anal-retentive Pete had been only too
eager to overanalyze on the car ride to the airport. And while it was true that
Cat considered his compulsive nature one of the qualities that first attracted
her to him, it nevertheless annoyed her to no end when Pete analyzed situations
simply as a reflex action and not because they demanded his assessment.
Regardless, she placated him, knowing full well that he would state
the obvious when citing the virtues of their vacation.

Excerpt from “Chapter 1 – The Caribbean – April 1721”

Jolie Rouge: A Swashbuckling Tale of Adventure and Intrigue by Rick Ley

Excerpt from “Chapter 1 – The Caribbean – April 1721”:

Dawn at sea. As the last slivers of morning’s twilight silver gave way to
the soft orange glow of the coming sun, Bartholomew Roberts stood
in silence from the bowsprit at the fore end of the Royal Fortune, scanning the
horizon, deep in thought. Beneath him the bow of the 42-cannon brig rose and
fell in a rhythmic cadence created by rolling, 2-foot swells. Feeling the soft,
salt-air breeze pick up slightly, the ship’s captain looked skyward, first to his
lookouts high in the rigging and then to the sails themselves. There the men
stood in silhouette on silent watch from precarious perches while the sail cloth
rippled gainfully, suggesting that the wind above was sufficiently robust to keep
the great ship and her escorts on their current heading.

Questions for the Readers – Part 2

Jolie Rouge: A Swashbuckling Tale of Adventure and Intrigue by Rick Ley

Questions for the Readers – Part 2:

1) You’re on vacation and hire a charter boat for the day, cruising on calm seas beyond the sight of land. What goes through your mind when the captain informs you that the approaching boat you’ve been watching might be pirates and to remain calm?

2) The Haitian, Reggie, describes the zombification process in Chapter 17. Do you believe that a person could be made into a zombi under the right conditions?

3) Do you think Haiti’s fortunes would have unfolded differently from those described in Chapter 16 if the policies of early leaders such as L’Ouverture, Dessalines, or Christophe could have been sustained?

Questions for the Readers – Part 1

Jolie Rouge: A Swashbuckling Tale of Adventure and Intrigue by Rick Ley

Questions for the Readers – Part 1:

1) In Chapter 1 Bartholomew Roberts is courted by the pirate Howell Davis to join his crew. Roberts has to decide quickly when Davis is killed and Roberts is nominated by the House of Lords to be the next captain of the Royal Rover. Roberts ultimately chooses to risk his fate as a pirate captain. What decision would you make and why?

2) Does your opinion of Roberts at all change when it becomes apparent that he has become a de facto prisoner on his own ship, as observed by Captain Hill on page 109?

3) Why are pirates of yesteryear, such as Blackbeard and Calico Jack Rackham, often romanticized—and fictional characters like Errol Flynn’s Captain Blood and Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow depicted as heroes—while modern day pirates such as the Somali pirate Muse in Captain Phillips universally despised?