Read Ramage's Challenge Online

Authors: Dudley Pope

Ramage's Challenge

BOOK: Ramage's Challenge
ads

Selected Historical Fiction Published by McBooks Press
BY
A
LEXANDER
K
ENT

The Complete Midshipman Bolitho

Stand Into Danger

In Gallant Company

Sloop of War

To Glory We Steer

Command a King's Ship

Passage to Mutiny

With All Despatch

Form Line of Battle!

Enemy in Sight!

The Flag Captain

Signal–Close Action!

The Inshore Squadron

A Tradition of Victory

Success to the Brave

Colours Aloft!

Honour This Day

The Only Victor

Beyond the Reef

The Darkening Sea

For My Country's Freedom

Cross of St George

Sword of Honour

Second to None

Relentless Pursuit

Man of War

Heart of Oak

BY
P
HILIP
M
C
C
UTCHAN

Halfhyde's Island

Halfhyde and the Guns of Arrest

Halfhyde to the Narrows

Halfhyde for the Queen

Halfhyde Ordered South

Halfhyde on Zanatu

BY
J
AN
N
EEDLE

A Fine Boy for Killing

The Wicked Trade

The Spithead Nymph

BY
J
AMES
L. N
ELSON

The Only Life That Mattered

BY
J
AMES
D
UFFY

Sand of the Arena

The Fight for Rome

BY
D
EWEY
L
AMBDIN

The French Admiral

The Gun Ketch

A King's Commander

Jester's Fortune

BY
D
UDLEY
P
OPE

Ramage

Ramage & The Drumbeat

Ramage & The Freebooters

Governor Ramage R.N.

Ramage's Prize

Ramage & The Guillotine

Ramage's Diamond

Ramage's Mutiny

Ramage & The Rebels

The Ramage Touch

Ramage's Signal

Ramage & The Renegades

Ramage's Devil

Ramage's Trial

Ramage's Challenge

Ramage at Trafalgar

Ramage & The Saracens

Ramage & The Dido

BY
F
REDERICK
M
ARRYAT

Frank Mildmay
or
The Naval Officer

Mr Midshipman Easy

Newton Forster
or
The Merchant Service

BY
V.A. S
TUART

Victors and Lords

The Sepoy Mutiny

Massacre at Cawnpore

The Cannons of Lucknow

The Heroic Garrison

The Valiant Sailors

The Brave Captains

Hazard's Command

Hazard of Huntress

Hazard in Circassia

Victory at Sebastopol

Guns to the Far East

Escape from Hell

BY
D
OUGLAS
W. J
ACOBSON

Night of Flames

BY
J
ULIAN
S
TOCKWIN

Kydd

Artemis

Seaflower

Mutiny

Quarterdeck

Tenacious

Command

The Admiral's Daughter

The Privateer's Revenge

BY
J
OHN
B
IGGINS

A Sailor of Austria

The Emperor's Coloured Coat

The Two-Headed Eagle

Tomorrow the World

BY
A
LEXANDER
F
ULLERTON

Storm Force to Narvik

Last Lift from Crete

All the Drowning Seas

A Share of Honour

The Torch Bearers

The Gatecrashers

BY
C.N. P
ARKINSON

The Guernseyman

Devil to Pay

The Fireship

Dead Reckoning

The Life and Times of Horatio Hornblower

BY
D
OUGLAS
R
EEMAN

Twelve Seconds to Live

The White Guns

A Prayer for the Ship

For Valour

BY
D
AVID
D
ONACHIE

The Dying Trade

A Hanging Matter

An Element of Chance

The Scent of Betrayal

A Game of Bones

BY
B
ROOS
C
AMPBELL

No Quarter

The War of Knives

Peter Wicked

Published by McBooks Press 2002
Copyright © 1986 by Dudley Pope
First published in the United Kingdom in 1986 by
The Alison Press/Martin Secker & Warburg Limited

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or any portion thereof in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without the written permission of the publisher. Requests for such permissions should be addressed to McBooks Press, Inc., ID Booth Building, 520 North Meadow St., Ithaca, NY 14850.

Cover painting by Paul Wright.

The trade paperback version of this title was cataloged as:
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Pope, Dudley.

Ramage's challenge / by Dudley Pope.

   p. cm. — (Lord Ramage novels ; no. 15)

ISBN 1-59013-012-X (alk. paper)

1. Great Britain. Royal Navy—Officers—Fiction. 2. Ramage, Nicholas (Fictitious character)—Fiction. 3. Napoleonic Wars, 1800–1815—Fiction. 4. Ship captains—Fiction. 5. Great Britain— History, Naval—19th century—Fiction. 6. Tuscany (Italy)—Fiction. I. Title

PR6066.O5 R327 2002

823'.914—dc21

2002000124

The e-book versions of this title have the following ISBNs:
Kindle 978-1-59013-540-2, ePub 978-1-59013-541-9, and PDF 978-1-59013-542-6

www.mcbooks.com

For Kay
who crossed a rubicon with me and sailed past
Cabo Trafalgar in the moonlight.

AUTHOR'S NOTE

T
HE Porto Santo Stefano of today was originally just “Santo Stefano,” and there were only two causeways between Argentario and the mainland until the third was built to carry modern traffic. Forte della Stella was also known as Fortino Stella; Torri and Monte dell' Uccellina were also spelt Ucellina; Filippo Secundo was often Filipo Secundo at the time.

D
UDLEY
P
OPE
Yacht Ramage
French Antilles

CHAPTER ONE

T
HE ATLANTIC entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar always reminded Ramage of a gigantic funnel lying on its side, its spout pointing towards the Mediterranean and forever replenishing the warm inland sea from the cold ocean. The lower side of the funnel was shaped by the North African coast between Casablanca and Tangier, the upper by the Spanish shore from Cadiz to Tarifa.

However, this present stretch of Spain reaching from off Cadiz down to the actual Strait (which was known to generations of British seamen as “The Gut”) brewed the most unpredictable weather in Europe. No, that was not quite fair. Perhaps the Texel, off the north-west corner of the Netherlands, was as bad: sudden and vicious thunderstorms spawned there, too, out of a clear sky.

Anyway, for once the wind taking the
Calypso
frigate diagonally across the Gulf of Cadiz, from off Faro down to the Strait, was remarkable only for its lightness; light enough to decide him to go in close to Cadiz and then stretch down towards The Gut, giving all his officers (and young Paolo, in particular) a chance to have a good look at this part of the Spanish coast. The coast was guarded by more forts and towers (one every half a dozen miles, it seemed) than anywhere he had ever seen except the Tuscan coast of Italy, which had, coincidentally, belonged to Spain for many years. Obviously the Dons favoured towers.

The light breezes (admittedly from the north, giving the
Calypso
a soldier's wind and calm sea and ensuring she was not off a lee shore) and a packet of sealed orders (to be opened once past

ADS
15.4Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
READ BOOK DOWNLOAD BOOK

Other books

Side Show by Rick Shelley
Rebel Waltz by Kay Hooper
Watch You Die by Katia Lief
Stone Cold by Joel Goldman
Lullaby by Claire Seeber
You Only Get One Life by Brigitte Nielsen
The Man Who Killed Boys by Clifford L. Linedecker
The Madness of Gods and Kings by Christian Warren Freed