GEORGE RANSLEY is 39 years old and 5’7” tall, with dark brown hair and dark blue eyes. He is stoutly built, with slender knock-kneed legs and crowded overshot upper teeth. He worked as a carter before turning to free-trade eight years before this story begins. He lives in Aldington with his wife, Eliza, and children: Matilda (12), George (10), John (9), William (5), Robert (3) and James (1); another baby, Anne, died in 1815. George is known for his keen intelligence and pensive demeanour. He is often to be seen sitting outside local public houses, sober and contemplative, while his men carouse inside.
About the book:
Violence, love, loyalty and betrayal among the smugglers who once terrorised the coasts of southern England. The true tale of the Aldingston Blues Gang retold as a gripping novel.
For ten years the Blues and the Burmarsh Gang fought each other and the Excise Men over the lucrative smuggling trade in Kent. The rivalry was bitter and the stakes were high. When the Excise Men caught the gang landing brandy at Welland more than 300 men were involved in the savage firefight that followed, and 25 men ended spread in a bloody mess on the marsh.
Behind the scenes the feud between the two leading smugglers, George Ransley and James Hogben, is played out in deadly earnest. While their men grow rich, get married or gamble away thier loot, the intense struggle between Ransley and Hogben follows a twisted route through bloodshed, treachery and unsurpassed wealth as the men struggle to control the huge wealth to be gained by being the only smuggling gang supplying goods to the London market.
In this novel, Newel tells in gripping language of the passions and excitement of the days when smugglers ruled the night and law abiding folk hid indoors as the carts and wagons rolled by in the moonlight.
Meticulously researched and based on contemporary court papers and other records, “A Devil’s Dozen” recreates the vanished world of the smugglers and the deadly feud between the leading smugglers that would eventually tear the brotherhood apart and send the smugglers to the gallows or to convict settlements in Australia.
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