||Mar 28, 2012
An alternate history, piratical adventure, with zombies, voodoo, and the Great Plague.
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The Caribbean Sea, 1708 AD.War between the Northern Alliance and the League of the Antilles is well underway. In the New World what is left of humanity fights for dominance and a return to glory; because the Old World died in the Great Plague of 1666. But this plague carried a curse worse than pestilence, as the dead themselves attacked the living, adding them in their growing endless wave. Yet the truth behind the Risen plague and the Old World’s death has never been told. In Port Royal, an old sailor is more than willing to spin his tale.
Aye me lad, have a seat next to me and listen to the true story of the Black Brig. No one is going to tell you the truth in this Brave New World. Because Dead Men tell no tales.
Set in an alternate historical setting, Dead Men Tell No Tales, narrates the events that brought a great disaster to an end in 1676. Pirates, voodoo, and seagoing undead await you in this fantastic journey in a land that never was.
Port Royal, Jamaica. 1708 AD
“Aye, me lad, ‘ave a seat next to me and listen th’ true story of th’ Banshee’s Cry,” the man said, addressing the young crewman approaching his table.
“You know the Banshee’s Cry Legend, do you?” The boy replied with a hint of disbelief as he rested his back on the stool. In every tavern around the known world there were dozen of people claiming to know details of what had happened at Cayman Brac. All of them were just calling for attention, or to gain confidence on greenhorns like him. The boy was disappointed his soon-to-be captain was another of those braggarts.
“Aye. I know th’ legend ‘cause I ‘ave seen it m’self. I was there when th’ Plague ended once fer all,” said the oldster, acknowledging the note of disbelief in the younger lad.
They were all the same these young landlubbers coming on the account with star-crossed eyes, dreaming of adventure in this age of rebirth. Envisioning the growing war between the Northern Alliance and the League of the Antilles as a quick way to glory and wealth. They knew nothing how the New World came to be, of those who had sacrificed their own lives to build it, and mostly, ignored the Plague’s truth. They curled their nose at the smell of Port Royal alleys and docks, forgetting about the pleasant fragrance of the sea carried by westerly winds. They had not lived in a world perpetually immersed in rot and decay.
“So, Master, go on. I’m curious. You say you were there,” mouthed the young mariner eyeing the small wooden chest resting under the man’s feet, “But where, exactly?”
The captain gazed at him intently, and then gulped down a draft.
“Mabouya’s Well,” he said, almost whispering, that simple word still sending a shock down his spine.
“Mabouya’s Well? Never heard about it, Master. What’s this? A place in the Devil’s Sea, a cay? Or …” he hazarded, “a tavern?”
The old mariner pierced the boy with steel-gray eyes.
“Blimey! Ain’t believin’ me, ain’tcha? Fine, keep listenin’ to bilge scum th’ Roundheads pump every day into th’ Recovery Effort. Come tomorrow, Bucko, you’ll be pumping water yerself from th’ Revenge’s belly. Avast! Listen to me story and I promise ye’ll see with yer deadlights th’ proof of what me talking.”
“With all due respect, Sir, I do not trust the Puritans, that’s why I left New Hampshire colony and joined the Southern Royalists! Before discovering the ruse behind false promises,” exclaimed the boy, his usual fine skin turning red by rekindled memories.
“So shut up. Go to th’ bar and ‘ave this jug filled again. Then, I’ll tell ye a tale so grisly and scary ye ain’t goin’ to sleep fer months. And ye be wary, ‘cause the ghosts of those times still haunt us today, no matter what th’ Northerners say. The Marauders aren’t a bunch of crazies, and the Black Brig still plies these waters.”
“The Black Brig, Master? A fairy tale?” The green crewman interrupted. That old scurvy dog was adding fables to legends. How come this man was still allowed to serve on a League ship?
“Aye, ‘tis a legend. Yet, ‘tis also true. Cause that ship sailed under a different name once. Her name was Banshee’s Cry, and she was a fine ship. She was … my ship.”
Me Matey, Grab This Swashbuckling Tale!
I loved this wild seafaring tale. It's got atmosphere, language, and an intriguing plot. In 1708 one ship still sails with the Risen aboard, the dead, the former bearers of Plague. It is Captain Drake's tale and in his voice we are transported into the historical time period rife with pirate, sailing ships, exotic places, and...the animated dead. They are not the usual undead, who eat the living. They kill. They spread their infection into the world. Jeffrey Kosh can write dialect that is not only believable, but it creates such Old World atmosphere and charm that the reader is transported and locked down for the ride. There is much craft here and a talent only few can lay claim to. I recommend this story highly and know you will enjoy it. Don't miss out on Kosh's storytelling. This story is a keeper. Get it, read it, show this author some love. He deserves it.
Billie Sue Mosiman - Edgar Awards Nominee.
Terrorific Swashbuckling Dark Fantasy
This is the first thing I've read by Jeffrey Kosh. I doubt it will be me last, matey. Kosh has a great handle on language and captures the time period he's writing in very well. Robert Louis Stevenson crossed with H.P. Lovecraft, but it's not that either. It's well, Jeffrey Kosh, and Dead Men Tell No Tales is entertaining as all get out. Errol Flynn would be pleased, George Romero would be pleased, Howard Philip and Robert Louis would be pleased, and I think you'll be pleased, too. Check it out. This is a fantastic, fantastical and wonderful story.
Trent Zelazny - Author
Undead men Tell No Tales
I love reading zombie stories, especially fresh takes on the subgenre. The author does it here, with pirates (another reading love of mine!) and blends them both into a unique short story that is well-written and a great read.
I look forward to reading more from this author, and hope he someday revisits the setting and characters of this short with further swashbuckling tales.
Armand Rosamilia - Author of Death Metal
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