The Navigator II: Irish Revenge

The Navigator II: Irish Revenge

by Steve Coleman


Publisher S B Coleman

Published in Literature & Fiction/Action & Adventure, Literature & Fiction/Contemporary, Mystery & Thrillers, Literature & Fiction

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Book Description


A novel of crime, romance, mystery, and a historic overview of Northern Ireland, this story is an inside look at the ongoing Troubles--an undercurrent beneath the apparently peaceful society. Joe Anderson is thrust in the midst of conspiracy. Knowing no one in N. Ireland, he befriends a tall, unemployed old salt (salt of the earth) man of the sea to perhaps help him get some information about his boat and even gun and drug trafficking for the CIA. The twisting and turning plot is exciting and demanding.

Sample Chapter

While he sat alone at the bar of Eamon’s Pub nursing a glass of dark brown Guinness, Joe realized that his initial efforts to uncover dissident activity had led him nowhere. In his role as a new agent in a strange place and having broken up with Mary, he felt very much alone. “Not seen you here before,” the barman said. He set a glass under the tap and began filling it. “On vacation,” Joe lied as he watched the golden liquid foam up. “On holiday, is it? From the southern States would be my guess.” Joe nodded with a shrug. “We see Brits, Germans, French and some Dutch in here, but it’s uncommon to have a Yank.” “I’ll try to fit in.” “Aye,” the bartender replied. “Not a bad plan.” When Joe first entered the dimly lit, varnished woodpaneled pub that smelled of beer and cigarettes and cool, damp mustiness of the harbor and the sweat of Irishmen who had been at sea all day, some of the patrons had given him the once-over. That they didn’t much like strangers had been his impression since arriving in Northern Ireland a few days ago. Given his purpose for being there, he did not expect to like them much either. He heard someone banging open the front door and turned to see a hulking figure. Rain matted the man’s black hair and dripped from his seaman’s foul weather jacket. The man peered around in the dim light and frowned when he apparently spotted someone. Joe watched as he strode toward a table where several women were seated, drinking and talking. One of them looked concerned as she saw him approach, and the group immediately quieted. A young woman with red hair to her shoulders, who had her back toward the door, turned to see him. “So here y’are, Fiona,” he bellowed. It brought all the customers to silence. The redhead’s companions looked at her with some distress. “Aye, Seamus, how’re you keeping?” “How would you think? Me out on the stinking trawler all day and you not at the dock to greet me?” “I sent word, Seamus,” she said with firm calmness, but there was a spark of anger in her greenish blue eyes. “I and my friends here were to have our ladies’ night out. You know we come here on Tuesdays.” “And I said you were to meet me at the dock.” He laid his meaty hand on her chair, jerked her back from the table and grabbed her wrist. “Now come along, I say.” There was no mistaking it was a threat to the woman, and Joe stood up, feeling that someone should intervene. He could take the bully if it came to it. In his opinion, a man who would treat a woman that way and embarrass her in a room full of people surely does not deserve her.

But realizing that, as a stranger, it was not his place, he forced himself to stand still. The first rule of being undercover, he remembered, is to keep a low profile and never get involved. “If you, Seamus O’Leary, ever want me to ‘come along’ as you say,” she said, “it would be best for you to act the gentleman and leave us to finish our craic.” She tried to pull her arm away. “Understand?” They stared at one another for a long moment. O’Leary abruptly released her wrist, scowled at the onlookers and walked out. Mumbling a curse, he disappeared into the rainy gloom, slamming the heavy oak door behind him. Even though Joe had been in Ballycastle only a few days, he already had observed O’Leary aboard the fishing trawler that docked near his own boat. The gruff way the man ordered his crew around was indication enough of what kind of person he was, and this incident with the girl proved it. The ladies regained their composure and once again engaged one another, but in more serious, less animated talk. Drinking several big swallows of stout to help himself calm down, Joe could not keep from glancing at the redhead named Fiona. As she spoke, a strand of hair fell across her cheek. She brushed it back, exposing the faint outline of a scar running from a high cheekbone toward her slightly upturned, thinly delicate nose. Continuing to address the women, she shook her fist, accentuating her point. One of her companions noticed Joe’s attention and nodded in his direction. Fiona turned to look directly in his eyes. It was only an instant before he looked down selfconsciously. Though she continued her entreaty to her companions, he was jolted by their visual exchange and drew in a deep breath. It had been only a glimpse, a snapshot, a flash, but in it he had seen in her intense blue-green eyes an intriguingly attractive presence. “Could you tell me who that red-haired lady is?” he asked on the publican’s next trip by. The bald, bulbous man glanced over at her, and then with a raised eyebrow stared back at Joe. “Fiona Brennan. And as you saw, O’Leary’s spoken for her. That, my friend, is all you need to know.” Joe nodded and sipped his drink. Since his arrival in Ballycastle, he had made no headway in his efforts to locate anyone in the Irish Republican Army. He had singled out O’Leary as the type but had nothing more to go on. He glanced at the woman once more. Perhaps, he thought, being O’Leary’s girl, she might have some peripheral connection or at least some knowledge of the IRA. So by getting to know her he could learn something. Of course, as the barman had warned, any attention he might show could be risky. Being as pretty and attractive as she was, however, seeing more of her might make life interesting. After having escaped his rather possessive girlfriend, Mary and leaving her back home in Birmingham, Alabama, he knew this was no time to be getting involved again. Glancing over at the attractive Fiona once more, he guessed she was in her late thirties, a decade younger than himself. What this beauty saw in that Seamus character, he could not imagine. Joe noticed Eamon watching him with disapproval. “She’s O’Leary’s girl,” the barman repeated. “’Tis well you mind my meaning.” He took Joe’s glass and wiped the bar. “Another?”

Joe nodded reluctantly and watched his glass being filled. He felt a gust of wind behind him as the door opened again, and a massive figure filled the entrance. “Evening, Big Ryan,” said the bartender. “Eamon,” the man replied as he shook off his wet jacket. Joe rarely encountered someone so much taller than himself, but the newcomer, with graying blond stringy hair and great bushy eyebrows, stood at least six-feet six. Probably the result of Viking genes rather than Celtic, Joe guessed. The giant waved and exchanged brief pleasantries with one or two at the rail before taking a seat at a small table close by. “Your usual then?” “Oh, aye.” Joe watched Eamon draw a pint of Guinness, letting half a glass stand until the foam went down and then topping it off. “So, how’re you keeping?” the publican asked, delivering the mug of dark brown stout. “Too idle, you know.” The tall man shook his head. “Aye, retirement’s not easy. Tried it myself for a year before tending bar.” Eamon wiped the table and headed back to his post behind the counter. A couple of seaman in yellow foul-weather jackets stopped to speak to the big fellow, who greeted them with an affable smile. Joe noted they spoke to the giant with an attitude of deference and respect. When the pair left, he decided to try approaching him. If there was to be an opportunity today to meet someone local, this was it. He took his half-empty glass and walked over. The man seemed self-absorbed in thought.

“Hello. Could I bother you a moment?” The man looked up and squinted at him. “I’ve got a boat in the marina,” Joe continued, “and I’m trying to find a mechanic.” “Well, that wouldn’t be me,” the big man replied, giving Joe a critical stare. “But I might give you a name or two.” “Great! I’m new around here and don’t know my way around very well.” “A misplaced Johnny Reb, by your talk.” “Joe Anderson.” He stuck out his hand. The big man glanced at it a full second before extending his own big rough hand that swallowed Joe’s. “Ryan McLeod.” Joe glanced at an empty chair. “May I?” he ventured, getting a slight shrug and nod in response. “I’ve rented a forty-foot sloop,” Joe went on, daring to sit down, “and I’m hoping to do some sailing.” “Sailing yacht, you said? And your crew?” “All by myself,” Joe replied. “Just puttering around on my own.” “Well, I hope you know these waters,” Ryan said. “Seas and weather can be a might rough and changeable.” He eyed Joe seriously. “Difficult for any man, especially one who doesn’t know them.” “I imagine you’ve spent some time at sea?” Ryan grinned. “Twenty-six years in the Merchant Marine. And I was harbourmaster here afterwards.” “I’ll bet you’ve got some stories.” “Aye.” The big man paused to finish off his stout. “Maybe one or two.” He stared at Joe briefly. “And a chap all alone on a boat, is likely a tale in himself, I suspect.”

Joe smiled and lifted his glass. “To good stories,” he said, happy to have found someone to talk to. He beckoned to the bartender for refills. “So are you retired now?” The question elicited a dark look. “If you’d call it that.” Joe shrugged. “It takes a while to get used to all that spare time. I take it you retired recently?” The big man gave Joe a hard, appraising stare. Then his look softened to sadness. “If being forced out counts, then, aye, I’m a bloody pensioner.” Joe raised his eyebrows. “Forced out, you say?” Ryan shot a look around the room and leaned closer. “The bastards claimed they needed a younger man to run the harbour,” he said quietly. “Uh, Evan Foster, you mean?” “That’s the blaggard.” He stared at Joe for a moment and then sat back, looking away as if he’d said too much. “I was running a charter boat back home,” Joe offered. “But the recession pretty well retired me.” Big Ryan nodded. “It’s a kick in the britches, however you get it.” The conversation halted while Eamon put down the refills and took away the empties. Joe handed him a ten pound note and the barman went off for change. “That’s why I’m here,” Joe went on. “I said to myself, if nothing else, I at least can go sailing—see something new, have a new life—as long as my health holds, anyway.” His train of thought was lost as he saw the redhead and her friends get up to leave. They spoke to Ryan as they passed. The auburn beauty glanced at Joe as she walked by. He smiled and hoped Ryan would introduce him, but it didn’t happen.

“Cheers, Fiona,” Ryan said to her. Joe watched the ladies as they went out and then realized the big man was looking at him. “So you’re all by yourself, eh?” Ryan asked. “Or is your wife along?” Joe turned his attention back to the giant and shrugged. “Divorced,” he replied. But it was Mary now who came to mind and not his ex, Eileen. “Never married, myself,” the big man said. “Spent too much of my life at sea. And then the harbour job demanded lots of time, until…” His dark frown returned and they sat in silence sipping from their glasses. In the edge of the mahogany table where they sat Joe made out the words LOYALISTS SUCK that had been rudely carved, likely by some embittered drunk. The scrawl was barely visible. Someone, the owner maybe, had applied wood stain to try and hide it. Joe pointed it out to the big man. “What’s that all about?” he asked. Ryan grimaced and gave him a long stare. “You don’t know much about Ulster, do you,” he said. Joe shrugged. “No, but I’d like to learn.” “Oh, would you now?” The giant shook his head and gave a cynical laugh. “Oh, would you now,” he repeated and looked away, his expression fading into melancholy. They fell silent again and drank. “I’m in need of uh, a guide, I guess you’d say,” Joe ventured, “someone to teach me about local tides and currents and such.”

Big Ryan shrugged. “You might find someone around Belfast or thereabouts. Take your good money, too, I expect.” “I wonder if you would undertake the job. I can’t pay much, but I can pay something.” As he said it, Joe wondered if he was coming on too fast. “I mean, it would just be for a week or so, just long enough to get me oriented.” Ryan raised an eyebrow. “You hardly know me.” Joe grinned. “Well, since you hardly know me, that makes two of us.” He widened his smile. “My boat’s the Kittiwake, across at the marina.” The huge man wagged his head as if considering it but obviously was interested in the opportunity. “Tomorrow, then?” Ryan gazed at him a moment. “Half eight at the dock,” he replied.


Excerpted from "The Navigator II: Irish Revenge" by Steve Coleman. Copyright © 2016 by Steve Coleman. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Author Profile

Steve Coleman

Steve Coleman

A resident of Birmingham, Stephen B. Coleman, Jr. (Steve), a graduate of Indian Springs School, earned a Bachelor of Arts in history from Duke University and a Master of Arts in English from University of Alabama. He is married to the former Dr. Sumter M. Carmichael, a psychiatrist. Steve has been a naval officer, a high school teacher, a business man and commercial real estate broker. After retiring in 2009, he now enjoys sailing, writing and landscape painting. He has authored biographies and histories of local interest, magazine articles, novels and poetry. His story, “The Meanest Man in Pickens County,” was the first place (state) winner in the 2014 Hackney Literary Awards for short stories. He has published two novels: The Navigator: A Perilous Passage, Evasion at Sea and The Navigator II: Irish Revenge. For more information, please visit his website:

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