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Novel Excerpt


Find it - In Association with Amazon.com The storm exploded against the ship from above and below, the rain-driving gales tilting the superstructure too far toward the capsize-line, and the helmsmen would furiously correct it, and a mountain of ocean would rise beneath the ship and send it sloping downward where it would crash in a valley of water, all decks shiver-shaking as though the flat-bottom had fallen on rock, then up and sideways again. All the while the screaming madness of the storm was whistling into the tightest rivetings of the ship, making the P-ways and compartments sing and moan like wind-tunnels, as if the storm, even as it blasted the ship from above and earthquaked it from below, knew that the quickest way to destroy the ship was to send a million filaments of sound into its cracks, each whistle uniquely pitched -- the drowned voices of sailors from the wooden schooners and whalers and men-of-war which had struggled this far, years ago, but only this far, and had been waiting quietly, a mile below, for the night when their crews would come flying out of the sea to circle and mock ships of metal and sing them to pieces.

Miles was able to reach the wardroom-mess only by allowing himself to be thrown up against one bulkhead and then the other, his hands out, his feet fighting for progress against a deck which rose when he thought it would fall and fell when he thought it would rise. Too many things had gone unsecured, and he could hear file-drawers rolling open and smashing closed, chairs skittering and overturning, medicine-chests flying open and spilling their contents into steel sinks with the sound of pachinko-machines, and the more mysterious and perhaps serious disasters occurring below-decks with profound and echoing booms. The singing was everywhere, the creaking was everywhere, as though the Harding would go popping at its joints....

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