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Chapter I




You can never predict where the winds of fortune will take you, and it is guaranteed that you will find yourself in the most unlikely places and circumstances.

To testify to this fact, I seat myself beside my yak-butter candle and sharpen my quill in an effort to record all the harrowing and sublime events that have led me from the shores of Newfoundland to the governorŐs palace in Tibet.

I do not wish either riches or penury upon anyone, for I have been shown all that lucre and the lack thereof has to offer. But I can heartily recommend enriching oneself with the bounty that the plain world has to offer.

As a case in point, I dip my pen in a stone of India ink and will set forth for you how the events that changed my destiny would prove that the cup of life is never empty, nor is it ever full. For the more one partakes of the world, the less one knows and the fuller oneŐs life becomes.

December of 1712, two years past, seems like aeons ago, but there the story of my journey begins, my impressions and memories of that fateful eve being ever-present and clear.








Young Rab Burnside, an orphan, lives with Jesse his competitive brother and Buttons, their quixotic grandfather, on the windswept coast of Newfoundland in the middle of Queen AnneŐs War.

One day, Buttons spots a mysterious ship sailing toward shore, doomed to crash into the shoals. Rab and Jesse scramble to save it and set in motion a series of events that take them on the trip of a lifetime.

Given a family heirloom, a steel cutlass that can be used for maximum good or ill, Rab and Jesse, the youngest sailors of the QueenŐs navy, and Buttons set off to rid the world of a crafty pirate named Captain Smallbeer.

The mission takes Rab and his small band around the world, often coming face-to-face with the sinister Captain Smallbeer, who steals RabŐs powerful cutlass. From the Sahara to the pampas to China, they must survive storms, battles and betrayal.

Can Rab ever capture the evil pirate Captain Smallbeer, who vows never to give up the Lost Cutlass?




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