Excerpt from The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton , plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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The Devil and the Dark Water

by Stuart Turton

The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton X
The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2020, 480 pages

    Jul 2021, 448 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Rachel Hullett
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Governor General Jan Haan, wife Sara Wessel, and daughter Lia Jan
Chamberlain Cornelius Vos
Guard Captain Jacobi Drecht
Creesjie Jens and sons Marcus and Osbert Pieter
Viscountess Dalvhain
Lieutenant Arent Hayes

Notable Passengers
Predikant Sander Kers and ward Isabel

Saardam's Senior Officers
Reynier van Schooten, chief merchant
Adrian Crauwels, captain
Isaack Larme, first mate

Notable Crew
Johannes Wyck, boatswain
Frederick van de Heuval, constable

The Prisoner
Samuel Pipps


Arent Hayes howled in pain as a rock slammed into his massive back.

Another whistled by his ear, a third striking his knee, causing him to stumble, bringing jeers from the pitiless mob, who were already searching the ground for more missiles to throw. Hundreds of them were being held back by the city watch, their spittle-flecked lips shouting insults, their eyes black with malice.

"Take shelter, for pity's sake," implored Sammy Pipps over the din, his manacles flashing in the sunlight as he staggered across the dusty ground. "It's me they want."

Arent was twice the height and half again the width of most men in Batavia, including Sammy. Although not a prisoner himself, he'd placed his large body between the crowd and his much smaller friend, offering them only a sliver of target to aim at.

The bear and the sparrow, they'd been nicknamed before Sammy's fall. Never before had it appeared so true.

Sammy was being taken from the dungeons to the harbor, where a ship waited to transport him to Amsterdam. Four musketeers were escorting them, but they were keeping their distance, wary of becoming targets themselves.

"You pay me to protect you," snarled Arent, wiping the dusty sweat from his eyes as he tried to gauge the distance to safety. "I'll do it until I can't anymore."

The harbor lay behind a huge set of gates at the far end of Batavia's central boulevard. Once those gates closed behind them, they'd be beyond the crowd's reach. Unfortunately, they were at the tail end of a long procession moving slowly in the heat. The gates seemed no closer now than when they'd left the humid dampness of the dungeon at midday.

A rock thudded into the ground at Arent's feet, spraying his boots with dried dirt. Another ricocheted off Sammy's chains. Traders were selling them out of sacks and making good coin doing it.

"Damn Batavia," snarled Arent. "Bastards can't abide an empty pocket."

On a normal day, these people would be buying from the bakers, tailors, cordwainers, binders, and candlemakers lining the boulevard. They'd be smiling and laughing, grumbling about the infernal heat, but manacle a man and offer him up to torment, and even the meekest soul surrendered itself to the devil.

"It's my blood they want," argued Sammy, trying to push Arent away. "Get yourself to safety, I'm begging you."

Arent looked down at his terrified friend, whose hands were pressing ineffectually against his chest. His dark curls were plastered to his forehead, those high cheekbones swollen purple with the beatings he'd received while imprisoned. His brown eyes—usually wry—were wide and desperate.

Even maltreated, he was a handsome sod.

By contrast, Arent's scalp was shorn, his nose punched flat. Somebody had bitten a chunk out of his right ear in a fight, and a clumsy flogging a few years back had left him with a long scar across his chin and neck.

"We'll be safe once we reach the docks," said Arent stubbornly, having to raise his voice as cheers erupted ahead of them.

Excerpted from The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton . Copyright © 2020 by Stuart Turton . Excerpted by permission of Sourcebooks Landmark. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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