Lying in the shade of a palm tree on a bed of lush green seagrape, Matthew Roving squinted down the beach. In the foreground was a wiry little man in short pants, white knee stockings, and a blue tricornered hat who was trying, not very successfully, to chop up a coconut with a sword. Beyond him was bright stunning sunshine on white sand and blue water—hard on the eyes, but Matthew kept staring, searching the choppy blue sea for a ship. They desperately needed a ship.
The little man with the sword was named John Paul—"Master Paul," he'd insisted they call him. Master Paul would've seemed ridiculous to Matthew but for the fact that he'd seen him thrust the same sword into a man's chest only a few hours before. It made him sick just to think of it.
I've seen my first dead man. His stomach lurched, and he quickly reminded himself that Master Paul could soon be his second, if the packet-boat didn't come. Not only that, but he and Abby would be headed for seven years of slavery on a sugarcane plantation.