tiger men by judy nunn sample chapter

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From the pen of master storyteller, Judy Nunn, comes another brilliant work of fiction woven into the tapestry of Australian history.'This town is full of tiger men,' Dan said. 'Just look around you. The merchants, the builders, the bankers, the company men, they're all out for what they can get. This is a tiger town, Mick, a place at the bottom of the world where God turns a blind eye to pillage and plunder.'Van Diemen's Land was an island of stark contrasts; a harsh penal colony, an English idyll for its landed gentry, and an island so rich in natural resources it was a profiteer's paradise.Its capital Hobart Town had its contrasts too; the wealthy elite in their sandstone mansions, the exploited poor in the notorious slum known as Wapping, and the criminals and villains who haunted the dockside taverns and brothels of Sullivan's Cove. Hobart Town was no place for the meek.TIGER MEN is the story of Silas Stanford, a wealthy Englishman; Mick O'Callaghan an Irishman on the run; and Jefferson Powell, an idealistic American political prisoner. It is also the story of the strong, proud women who loved them, and of the children they bore who rose to power in the cut-throat world of international trade.TIGER MEN is the sweeping tale of three families who lived through Tasmanias golden era and witnessed the birth of the Commonwealth of Australia, only to watch its young men consumed by the fires and horror of the First World War.

TRANSCRIPT

Copyright Judy Nunn 2011. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

A William Heinemann book Published by Random House Australia Pty Ltd Level 3, 100 Pacific Highway, North Sydney NSW 2060 www.randomhouse.com.au First published by William Heinemann in 2011 Copyright Judy Nunn 2011 The moral right of the author has been asserted. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted by any person or entity, including internet search engines or retailers, in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying (except under the statutory exceptions provisions of the Australian Copyright Act 1968), recording, scanning or by any information storage and retrieval system without the prior written permission of Random House Australia. Addresses for companies within the Random House Group can be found at www.randomhouse.com.au/offices. National Library of Australia Cataloguing-in-Publication Entry Nunn, Judy. Tiger men/Judy Nunn. ISBN 978 1 86471 218 6 (pbk.) A823.3 Cover design by Design by Committee Inside cover by Blue Cork Internal design by Midland Typesetters, Australia Tasmanian tiger illustration by Shane Nagel Maps by Darian Causby/Highway 51 Design Works Typeset in 12/14.5 Sabon by Midland Typesetters, Australia Printed in Australia by Griffin Press, an accredited ISO AS/NZS 14001:2004 Environmental Management System printer 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 The paper this book is printed on is certified against the Forest Stewardship Council Standards. Griffin Press holds FSC chain of custody certification SGS-COC-005088. FSC promotes environmentally responsible, socially beneficial and economically viable management of the worlds forests

Copyright Judy Nunn 2011. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Chapter

three

fter rounding Cape Raoul with a blustering southerly at her stern, the Maid of Canton had fairly raced up Storm Bay. She was a clipper built for speed and few vessels could match her. A former opium runner, the Maid, as she was affectionately known, served a more respectable master these days, working the British trade routes for a wealthy merchant company. Past Cape Direction and on up the Derwent the Maid had sped, her skipper eager to make dock before afternoon became dusk. Then off the port bow, beyond the endless masts of ships at anchor, the hustle and bustle that was Hobart Town suddenly came into view. To Mick OCallaghan it was a magic sight. There she is, Mick. Seamus gave him a nudge. Youve made it, you lucky young bastard. I certainly have, Mick responded with a grin, and most obliged I am for your help, Seamus. Ive made it all right, he thought. And as far as luck went, Seamus didnt know the half of it. Arriving in Hobart Town was perhaps not remarkable, but arriving as a free man was little short of a miracle. He should have been one of those poor bastards dragging their chains off a transport ship. Happy to have been of service, Seamus replied. And he

A

Copyright Judy Nunn 2011. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

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was. Despite an eight-year age discrepancy, hed been close to young Mick in the old Dublin days, even closer than Micks older brothers. Mick being the youngest of his family, and a late arrival at that, had had five siblings quite a deal older than he was and theyd tended to ignore him. The lad had always been a bit of a tearaway, and it hadnt surprised Seamus to hear, via his own family, the rumour that Mick had got mixed up with the Young Irelanders movement and had left Belfast in something of a hurry, although no-one knew why. Seamus had thought little on the subject, however. He was not one to pass judgement, and there was nothing he could have done anyway, for by then he was a seasoned merchant sailor and the sea was his home. On those occasions when he wasnt aboard ship or holed up in a foreign port, he stayed at a seamens hostel in Liverpool; apart from the odd family letter hed lost all contact with Ireland. The coincidence of his having literally bumped into twenty-one-year-old Mick at the Liverpool docks where the lad was seeking work as a deckhand had seemed to Seamus the intervention of destiny. Hed been only too happy to lend a hand, and he hadnt asked questions when Mick had said he wanted to sign up for a one-way voyage only. I need to get as far away from Ireland as possible and stay there, Mick had said, and that was enough for Seamus. If young Mick Kelly now wanted to call himself Mick OCallaghan that was nobodys business but his own, and whatever intrigue the lad had got himself entangled in was of little interest anyway. Seamus kept well out of politics himself. How about America? hed suggested. Theres a ship leaving tomorrow and Im good friends with the first mate. Too many Irish in America, Mick had said. I was thinking more of Australia. And you dont reckon on finding Irish there? Seamus had wryly queried. Not the same sort of Irish.

Copyright Judy Nunn 2011. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Judy nunn

39

Ah yes, you do have a point, I agree. Young Micks choice of Australia had appeared to Seamus another portent of destinys hand in the scheme of things, for his own ship the Maid was due to sail for Van Diemens Land in only weeks. Youre in luck, hed said. The Maid of Canton departs within the month. Im first mate, and youre welcome on board. Seamus, youre a godsend, you truly are, Mick had said and hed hugged his old mate with fervour. But neither luck nor destiny had played any part in the fortuitous reunion of Mick Kelly, now OCallaghan, and his childhood friend. Mick had known exactly where he would bump into Seamus, just as he had known that Seamus was first mate aboard the Maid, which was shortly to set sail for Van Diemens Land. The naivet of his friend in accepting the coincidence of their meeting had not been in the least surprising, for even as a ten-year-old Mick had recognised how easily he could manipulate Seamus. But then Mick Kelly had discovered at ten that he could manipulate most people. He has the gift of the blarney, that one, his father would boast. He could charm the wings off a butterfly and the butterfly would walk away flightless and happy. The boy has the true gift, theres no doubt about it. Patrick Kelly was a dreamer with a romantic love of his tribe, which his youngest son grew to find pointless and rather foolish. Being able to talk your way into peoples affections was one thing, but knowing how to use your power once you got there that was something else altogether. As the crew went about their work in preparation for docking, Mick wondered how Seamus might react if he knew the facts. Good, honest Seamus had believed hed been rescuing an innocent lad from political thugs. And indeed he had, Mick thought. Sweet Jesus, those crazy bastards had been hounding him for years. Theyd

Copyright Judy Nunn 2011. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

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followed him from Belfast to London; it would have been only a matter of time before theyd traced him to Liverpool. But Seamus hadnt known the catastrophic consequences of this innocent lads involvement with the Young Irelanders. No-one knew, and no-one was ever likely to find out, for the movement had long since disbanded. The problem now lay in distancing himself from its several fierce supporters who remained bent on revenge. There were other facts of which Seamus had been ignorant, and it was to Micks advantage to ensure he continued so. Seamus had had no idea hed been aiding a criminal. The knowledge of that would surely have worried him more than anything, Mick thought, for Seamus although a simple rough seaman was fiercely lawabiding. Mick OCallaghan thanked God for both Seamus and his own good fortune. Given the thieving hed done in London hed been lucky not to land in gaol thered been several close encounters with the law. But hed not been deterred. Fuelled by the excitement of danger hed kept on taking chances. Why hed even pulled off a couple of jobs in Liverpool during the last several weeks before theyd set sail. He wondered what Seamus would say to that. Poor Seamus would no doubt be appalled. Not that it mattered. They wouldnt be seeing each other again. Seamus had served his purpose. The skipper brought the Maid in under virtually no sail, with just the skilful use of wind and tide; as the clipper pulled alongside the dock, the crew worked with smooth precision, the bosuns commands barely necessary. Mick and a crew mate secured the main bow line, and the Irishman rejoiced in his escape. Hed been a doomed man, there was nothing surer. If the Young Irelanders hadnt got him, then the British constabulary would have. He revelled in a sudden sense of liberty. The sights and the sounds and the very