River Escape – Sam Grant
River Escape is a standalone sequel to Atlantic Hijack (2014) and follows
the continuing career of Mike Peters.
Atlantic Hijack was narrated from the perspective of Mike as he looks back to his early career and his experiences as a second trip (voyage) apprentice on the cargo liner ‘Albany Princess’.
River Escape sees Mike now promoted to First Officer on the oil tanker ‘Albany Empress’ and married to Jane Anderson, who formerly worked her passage to South America aboard ‘Albany Princess’.
An oil terminal in the River Orinoco, Venezuela
Following on from a military coup, pressured efforts by Mike Peters to prepare the tanker for the load of boiler oil are compromised by a refinery postponement.
An influential young woman boards who starts calling the shots.
The hidden identity of a rescued yachtsman and two female companions further compromise the ship’s safety…
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About the Author
Following Sam Grant’s pre-sea training he served aboard eight foreign-going merchant ships. Firstly, as cadet apprentice and then deck officer. His career was not uneventful with his third ship being held up at anchor on arrival in the Hudson River outside New Jersey due to the shooting of John Kennedy an hour earlier. Pilotage service was suspended for that day and the ship remained at anchor. On another occasion civil war broke out in Argentina leading to crew being trapped ashore.
After leaving the merchant navy, Sam was employed as a retail manager and then, for thirty years, found employment with Royal Mail.
Marriage, family life and the stability engendered in the postal service helped calm the remembered storms, both from sea and younger life experiences. Calmer waters where the shriek of life’s trauma was quietened.
Sam has always enjoyed writing for his own pleasure and finally decided to take the plunge and publish his first book. At the age of seventy though, he was worried that a two year wait for publication could mean that he might not be around for the publication launch, so was delighted to be proved wrong. He now has several published titles under his belt:
Atlantic Hijack (2014)
Dancing on the Beach (2016)
Poems with themed notes (2016)
Galactic Mission (2017)
River Escape (2018)
Sam is currently at work on new novel, this time a land-based tale about a farm. The author has experience in this area as he was sent to work on farms in the summer holidays prior to his sea career.
Excerpt from River Escape
The jeep pulled up some thirty feet from the gang way. I rushed across to the shoreside gangway in time to see a hand reach out to open the driver’s door. Bob ran across toward the gangway. Lights were lit on board with flood lights across the loading area. Dusk was descending. He waved at the Captain and the pilot above.
‘You need to get the hell out of here. They’re in the town and like as not will be down here. We’ve got documents from the refinery. Important ones. They’ll want to impound the ship. Might even have followed us,’ said Bob.
‘Pilot, we’re leaving.’ I heard the Captain say. This was followed by a “no,” but then there came a “Si, Capitan.” And then, “Si, Capitan is possible.” Kimi later told me that the revolver in his side forced a change of mind. The Bosun was standing by the gangway. The Captain called down from above.
‘Bosun, tell the lads that we’re leaving now. Get them ready for and aft to let go. Watch keeping duties are to start and I need a wheelman and lookout up here.’ The deck boy left the scooping up of oil and sprinted ahead, on instructions from the Bosun, up the main deck ladder past me to get to the catwalk, which led to the crews’ accommodation.
A prolonged buzz from the telegraph penetrated the evening stillness, as the main engine went on standby. Kimi later told me that she went on to the bridge to ring the telegraph on instructions from her father.
‘Where’s the Mate?’ Captain Roberts called down. I made myself visible by walking along the after-catwalk. I could see Peter and Charlie boarding. Bob and Leo were stood by the jeep.
‘We’ve got stuff we’d like you to take.’ Bob called up to the Captain.
‘And us by the looks of things,’ said Leo.
‘They’re manuals and documents from the refinery, which the owners want returning to New Jersey. We’ve two cases plus a cabinet.’ The Captain replied.
‘Mr Peters, get that organized and Second Mate, get a boiler suit on over those shore clothes. Need you on the stern immediately. Third Mate?’
‘Here sire,’ said Rick, who was leant over the railings looking across from the starboard side.
‘Want you on the bridge straightaway. I spotted the two apprentices with him and pointed for them to go down to the gangway.’ Bob and Leo assisted them to unload the cases. But they carried a steel cabinet ashore. One held each end. I heard a motor-bike splutter into life. The two longshoremen were leaving in a hurry on an ancient bike. The passenger placed a bottle of Bacardi and a carton of cigarettes in alternate side saddles before mounting. Soon just a plume of blue smoke remained.
‘Captain,’ Bob cupped his hands together, ‘You’ve no one to let go of your ropes. Leo and me can be your longshoremen. Long as we can get aboard before you leave.’ There was a momentary silence. Captain Roberts must have done quick thinking before answering. They were fit and agile and would likely work together as a team. He replied ‘That’s good of you. I plan swinging out into the river. The jetty is just beneath the stern. We can pivot on the stern rope and get you two aboard with the pilot ladder – Bosun!’
‘Captain, I’m all ears Captain?’ called back the Bosun from the main deck.
‘Get the pilot ladder out over the stern, near to the shore side and take some lines with you. He returned to Bob and Leo.
‘The Bosun will throw you each a line. Tie those around your waists. I reckon you’ll be able to board before we cut the stern line loose.’
I heard the Bosun, not within the Captain’s hearing say, ‘I’m still bloody well here.’
‘Yes, Captain,’ he then answered.
‘Get a couple of fire axes out of the locker. We’ll cut that last line.’
‘Right you are, sir. On my way.’ The Bosun nodded toward two EDH’s standing nearby, and then made for the forward locker.
‘Si incredible,’ said the pilot. ‘This is muy dangerous.’
‘Needs must, needs must,’ I heard the Captain say.
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Praise for Atlantic Hijack
“This is a thrilling story shot through with fascinating insights and information on seafaring. This guy knows his stuff.”
“An intriguing plot, created by a former sailor in the Merchant Navy. Plenty of twists and turns. A good read.”
Elizabeth Anne Clark
“This book is a fascinating account of life aboard a merchant ship in the 1960s, and records a way of travel now gone… the human relationships and action on board this ship are still relevant to the modern world.”