It is December of 1649 as England’s uncrowned king, Oliver Cromwell, leads his brutal army across Ireland to eliminate a violent rebellion. Elvy Burke, the daughter of a great warrior, wants only one thing—to live her destiny as a leader and defender of her country. While waiting anxiously in her village, Elvy receives word that Cromwell and his cavalry are on the way. As she hears the thunderous hooves approaching, Elvy has already decided she will not give up easily. When Cromwell cruelly beheads a village boy, Elvy vows to avenge the killing by destroying Cromwell. After fleeing from the general’s soldiers, Elvy aligns with a Scottish outlaw whose schemes send them headlong into a tumultuous journey across the sea to the West Indies, where she becomes an indentured servant for the fledgling sugar plantation Sharavogue. Knowing she will surely be killed if she attempts to escape, Elvy learns to survive in her new life—and soon discovers the depth of her own strengths and emotions.
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Cromwell bowed his head, closed his eyes and inhaled deeply. I felt suddenly weak, as if he sucked the very air from the lungs of all who were near. “This bridge has been dismantled, gentlemen!” he shouted. “And you have lied to an agent who carries out the business of England. Who dares to destroy the property of my countrymen?”…
His answer was none but a boy’s cry into his mother’s skirts. Then I heard the short gasps from Kevin, gone into a great panic. My mind cast about frantically for some answer and means of escape or some hint of what Cromwell might do next. Would he have his men kill us all? Would he hang our heads from the eaves of our houses, or on pikes along the road as a warning to others? Would he set a great fire and burn us until our last screams curdled and hushed? I dared to look up at his horrible face once more, and from Kevin’s lips escaped a high, infant’s cry so piercing it broke something in the air that surrounded us.
As if summoned from the caverns of hell, the blood filled Cromwell’s cheeks until they blazed purple and crimson. He drew his sword in one fluid motion and brought it down with such swiftness I could hear its wind…Hot blood splattered my cheeks and arms, and for a second Kevin’s body jerked in the dirt at the feet of his killer.
Comments about Sharavogue from other writers:
“A lovely look back at the dramatic events of the 17th century in Ireland when Oliver Cromwell’ reign of terror was imposed on the people of Ireland. This is the story as told through the eyes of a young girl, whose ancestral home had been denied her, without father or mother she fights the battle against the English tyranny but must depart for foreign shores to achieve her goals. A delightful tale, full of history, full of atmosphere…”
“The writing was very authentic, fast flowing and very vivid. I loved the description of Cromwell’s men riding up towards the village ‘At the lead the were four abreast and four deep, huge men on black horses, breast plates gleaming in the afternoon light’. I could almost feel myself shiver at the sight. I also liked ‘…his eyes, as black and flat as a long dead salmon’.”
“Historical fiction is my field, and I was really excited when your novel came up. It was a real treat for me to read an exciting, gripping few chapters of what is evidently a well thought out and researched book. I really enjoyed it… you write fluently and with an evident ease. I’ve given you high marks for just about everything…”
“I loved your story, I am an historical lover anyway, but this story stood out as worth reading all the way and when it came to the end, all I could think was don’t stop now.”
“This is a well-written piece, with characters and settings competently realised. The story I can see is going to be a very complex and interesting piece. I like the different time period and the adjustments to the settings. The characters are vivid and lifelike, and also I like the opening and descriptions…”