The following are a few excerpts from Monkey Boy that were deemed a bit too bloodthirsty for the more sensitive readers. Read on if you’ve got a strong stomach.
This was one of the first things I wrote on this book. It was initially the opening scene, and I had great fun describing the torture of a keelhauling.
"... Jimmy could imagine what would happen when the rope was pulled tightly under the belly of the ship. He winced to imagine the man’s naked back being gouged across the barnacles which coated Fury’s underside like shards of glass; his arms ripping from their sockets as he is hauled along; his mouth wanting to scream out – but unable to make a sound against the black water being forced into every opening. All the while, salt would be biting into those deep wounds like some demon blade. And if he survived? He would come up for one burning gasp of air, before being plunged under and dragged back to the other side."
The cannons on a warship fired many different types of shot. This scene initially featured during the final battle.
"... As Jimmy passed the hatchway, a young gunner sat gesturing for a drink. He leaned towards Jimmy with a desperate look in his eye and tumbled over. His legs stayed where they were. He’d been sliced in half by chain shot. In seconds his life drained away, bright red across the deck. Suddenly a great hammering rocked the ship, as if it had run aground. Jimmy stumbled and slipped on the bloody floor. The severed torso slid across the deck with Jimmy, followed by the legs, slumping against a beam like a bag of wheat."
This scene was inspired by an actual account from one of the sailors at the Battle of Trafalgar. If you look carefully in Monkey Boy, you will see that much of this is still said – only in pictures not words.
"... Light and air streamed through a gaping hole where Fury’s side had been blown to pieces. Black smoke parted, revealing guns toppled and sailors writhing without limbs. Others with faces half shot, or mashed entrails leaking away. Brains and blood and pieces of flesh splattered the beams. The whole gun deck had been wiped out!"