Recently I was contacted by the publisher of Diamond Pitt by Ann Wardlaw and was offered a free copy. In fact, they were so kind to give me a free copy and to offer a free copy to one lucky reader. This is a hardcover book (not available in ebook) and the giveaway is open internationally. I haven’t read the book yet, but it’s on my TBR and I’m looking forward to it. Below you can read an excerpt and then find out how to enter the contest.
Piracy on the high seas, shady dealings in imperial outposts, serial infidelity and a life-changing friendship with a Nawab prince provide the unlikely material for a novel about the grandfather of one of British politics’ most respected statesmen.
Starting in 1653 and spanning a century, this is the turbulent tale of Thomas Pitt, Grandfather to William Pitt the Elder, an adventurer whose exploits were bound up in the turmoil and glamour of Restoration and Georgian England.
Nicknamed ‘Diamond’ for procuring one of the world’s most extraordinary and valuable gems, Pitt was envied, feared and in some cases respected as a great entrepreneur of his time, with a hearty reputation for wealth and women.
Diamond Pitt: The Regent’s Diamond
5 July 1673
Thomas Pitt stood back from the long hanging mirror and surveyed his image with a certain satisfaction. The plain black woollen coat, though made of humble material, was closely cut, emphasising his slim build. He turned, standing sideways, and viewed the image again. The buff-coloured breeches gathered at the knee, the plain white shirt, the white stockings and strong black shoes gave the impression that he was a student or a very young preacher, until he allowed his left hand to brush across his head and down towards the nape of his neck. The plait with a black satin bow that Isaac had neatly tied an hour before just rested on the collar. He stooped to collect the hat with its tall crown, adjusted the white cuffs of the shirt, and with one final pat of the large coat pockets, strode from the room he had known all his life.
The mist that had hung between the riverbanks the day he was born was still there, silent, cold, yet strangely attaching a mood of mysterious peace to the old rectory. That silence extended to his sister Sarah and her husband, the Reverend Henry Willis, MA, who both waited in the hall to make their farewells.
‘Now remember to write!’ Sarah scolded, as she brushed his shoulders free of imaginary dust. ‘And don’t forget the Peruvian bark for any fever.’ He looked down into her wide grey eyes. ‘I’ll take care,’ he said. ‘In time, I shall be here again, and then it will be with gifts.’
‘We don’t want presents, ’specially them foreign fancies,’ she replied. ‘Just bring yourself back whole and strong.’
He kissed her very fondly. ‘Goodbye, dearest sister.’ He turned to Henry. ‘Goodbye, Henry. My heart is too full of gratitude for all you have done to assist me. Now I must make my own way in the world and try to repay my debts. Apprentice mate on an East Indiaman is a splendid opportunity for any man to be given.’
Henry, aged twenty-eight years and already aware of the heavy duties he had undertaken to perform when he had accepted the responsibilities of both the Pitt family and two hundred parishioners, held his hand for a moment. ‘May God bless you, Thomas. Find peace in the distant lands you are to visit, and never forget, there is always a home for you and anyone else you care to bring here in this house.’ He released his hand. ‘Isaac is waiting with the horses. In two hours you will reach Poole. Let us hope the wind stays fair.’
They followed him, a family procession, along a garden path that had been laid during the reign of Old Queen Bess, and was surrounded by great clumps of cottage pinks fused with clouds of lavender and clusters of marigolds, until they reached the gate. Thomas went through, leaving them waiting on the other side. He faced them, his eyes bright, but plagued by a pricking feeling behind the expression of excitement.
‘You have the Company’s London address,’ he said. ‘You can always contact me through that.’ He loosened the horse’s reins that Isaac had tied to a rusty ring in the high wall, half hidden by lichen, and quickly mounted with ease, as he felt an urge to make a fast exit. Then, with one final wave, he kicked the horse, urging it forward. With Isaac close behind, he was soon out of sight.
Ann Wardlaw’s Diamond Pitt: The Regent’s Diamond is published in hardback by Book Guild Publishing on 27th March 2014. Price £17.99. To order: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Diamond-Pitt-Ann-Wardlaw/dp/1846249902/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1393407894&sr=8-1&keywords=diamond+pitt
To enter the giveaway, leave me a comment stating you want to be considered. Do not provide your mailing address. The publisher will email you for that information. One random winner will be selected by random.org on Monday, April 7th. Best of luck!