Ted Bell's NICK OF TIME - Excerpt 5


- Excerpt 5

- Excerpt 4

- Excerpt 3

- Excerpt 2

- Excerpt 1


- http://www.nickoftimebook.com

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Author James Patterson (Maximum Ride series) says:

"NICK OF TIME is a blast - the best of Robert Louis Stevenson, Horatio Hornblower and Harry Potter. The kid in me loved it, and so did the adult."

Author Steve Berry says:

"A brilliant adventure, hidden within a rolling saga, tucked inside an intriguing mystery.  That's NICK OF TIME.  Ted Bell proves that he's the master of swashbuckling for both young and old." 

SchoolLibraryJournal.com says:

“Wow! Some books sweep you away. Ted Bell's NICK OF TIME amazed me, dazzled me, and swept my imagination off to sea… The last line of the story gave me hope for many more sequels. Please, Mr. Bell, may I have some more?... Middle school students are going to be so hooked by this book… I've been craving an adventure story with a good mystery and this arrived in the nick of time to rescue me.”

School Library Journal says:

Nick is the pluckiest, most likable boy-hero since Robert Lewis Stevenson's David Balfour (Kidnapped ). With great battle scenes; lots of nautical jargon; and themes of courage, integrity, and honor, this book will appeal to restless boys who can never find books written just for them. Three huzzahs and a great big 21-gun salute to Bell for his first novel for kids. Hopefully, it won't be his last.”

Children’s Bookseller Judy Hobbs says:

“I just got back from vacation and NICK OF TIME  was on top of my pile.  I loved it!  It was truly a combination of all the great adventure books that I've read.  I know that it will be a great sell to boys, but there will be an awful lot of girls (like me!) who will not be able to put it down. Can't wait for a sequel.”

Grant, age 12 says:

“I had a hard time putting the book down, even when I had homework.  I read at breakfast, and tried to read at dinner, but my mom made me stop… The main character, Nick, came in the "nick of time," and he traveled through time - pretty cool!  Awesome book, can't wait for the sequel!”

Excerpt 5

*4 June 1939*

At Greybeard Light

“There is a war coming, Nick,” Angus said.  “A terrible war.  Your mother doesn’t believe it because her brother’s in government and the government believes there’ll be no war.  Most people feel that way and I understand Mother’s feelings.  But I think war is imminent, Nick.  THE Germans have fooled us all.  Mr. Churchill alone seems to understand our desperate situation.  He has no power, no authority at all, but he is single-handedly trying to sound the alarm throughout England before it’s too late.” 

“Not quite single-handed though, is he, Father?”  Nick asked, placing his hand on the logbook.

“No, I guess he’s not quite single-handed, Nick,” Angus said, with an appreciative nod to his son.  “But, since he’s not in government, he relies upon a group of private citizens like me for any little scrap of news about the German naval and air buildup.  We’re not all one-legged lighthouse keepers tracking the sea lanes, either.  There are scores of British businessmen traveling inside Germany who watch the rail lines.  I know a group of schoolteachers in Dorset who watch the coastal skies every night.  We’re a loose confederation of lookouts, Nicky.  We work in total secrecy and report our findings to Churchill at his home in Kent.”

“Why won’t the government listen to Mr. Churchill, Father?” Nick asked, his eyes wide as he imagined himself part of a vast network of spies.

“Oh, it’s politics, son, of the worst kind,” he said, leaning back in his chair and letting a thin stream of smoke escape his lips.  “Like most politicians, the prime minister is telling the people only what they want to hear.  You see, most people are like your mother.  They hate war, and rightfully so.  As you know, we lost an entire generation of boys not much older than yourself in the last war.  And that memory is very strong and very painful. Everyone is afraid of it happening again.  Everyone wants peace so desperately that the prime minister and his government are burying their heads in the sand, pretending that if they give Hitler what he wants, he’ll go away and leave us alone.”

“I want peace, too, Father,” Nick said softly.  “Don’t you?”

“Of course I do, Nick,” Angus said, “But peace at any price is the most dangerous course of action we could take.  England is weak, with little stomach for a fight.  But we will fight and sooner rather than later.  Right now, today, Germany’s Luftwaffe fighters and bombers outnumber our own ten to one.  They’ve got millions of men in uniform, all highly trained.  And they’re building the mightiest warships and submarines the world has ever seen.  Including some kind of ‘super U-boat’ that we’ve only hear rumours about.  Highly experimental.  I’ve promised Churchill I’d find out everything I could about her.”

“Why are U-boats so important?” Nick asked, making a mental note to tell his father about the bomber squadrons off Hawke Point.

“Food, Nick,” Angus said.  “England is a small island.  She can never raise enough food to feed herself.  In the first war, German submarines almost succeeded in cutting off our food supply by sinking all the convoys bound for England.  That’s why, after the Great War, the Germans were forbidden from building submarines by the Versailles peace treaty.  Hitler is ignoring that treaty, and my reports to Chartwell prove it.  We can’t let the U-boats gain control of the Channel or the North Atlantic again.  If they do, this time we will starve.  Understand all of this, Nick?”

“Y-yes, Father, I think I do.”  Nick replied.  He was thinking of his mother’s brother, his uncle Godfrey, and his children who lived in Cadogan Square in the very center of London.  He was thinking, too, of skies over the capital black with thundering bombers like those he’d seen off Hawke Point.  And the idea of all England and Europe ablaze.  Was it a blaze, he wondered, that could spread all the way to little Greybeard Island?  “But what can I do, Father?”

“I’ve only got two eyes, Nick, neither of them as strong as they used to be.”  Angus said.  “I could use a good pair of eyes alongside mine up at the top of the lighthouse every night.  Watching for submarine tracks in the moonlight.  And, when you’re out sailing on Petrel, you could keep an eye for anything that might be important.  Periscopes.  Any large convoys of German shipping.  Any unusual naval activity you might see.  Anything at all, son, just jot it down and I’ll include it in my weekly report to Charwell.”

“How do our reports get to Mr. Churchill, Father?” Nick asked, enjoying the chill he got imagining the great man reading one of Nick’s own reports.

“Ah.  I have a contact called ‘Captain Thor.’ Not his real name, probably, but a code.  A former naval man, I believe, and highly experienced at this sort of thing.  He’s rather the ringleader of our little group of ‘birdwatchers,’ as we call ourselves.  Thor crosses to Portsmouth each week on his sixty-foot motor launch.  Delivers the reports to a fisherman who waits just outside the harbour.  Gets them over there in fairly short order, he does, too.  Twin V-twelve Allisons below, aircraft engines.  She’s called Thor, in fact.  Perhaps you’ve seen her about?”

Thor!  How could I miss her?  She’s a real beauty.”  Nick said.  “And I’ve seen this Captain Thor, too, I guess, at her helm.”  Nick looked at his father in dead earnest.  “I’ll do anything I can to help the birdwatchers, Father.  You can count on me.” 

“I knew I could count on you, Nick.  One final thing.  This effort of Churchill’s is a matter of utmost confidentiality.  Even King George doesn’t know about it!  I must swear you to absolute secrecy.  What I’m doing is completely against the government’s wishes.  I’d lose my job if the ministry found out I was helping Churchill.  And another thing.  When war does break out, the fate of anyone who falls into enemy hands while spying is death.  Any you’re a spy now, son, just like me.  Remember that.”

“Yes, Father.  I swear it.”  Nick said, but he wasn’t really thinking about losing his home or dying before a Nazi firing squad.  He was trying to make himself believe that a mere twelve-year-old boy was in on a secret so great that ever the prime minister and the kind of England didn’t know about it! 

That night, as he drifted off to sleep, an amazing notion occurred to Nicholas McIver.  Maybe he was only twelve years old, a boy who’d probably never amount to any kind of real hero, but how many other boys did he know who could claim to be living, breathing spies for goodness sake!


Excerpt 4

*4 June 1939*

At Greybeard Light

Suddenly, Nick’s bedroom door swung inward with a bang, causing him to sit bolt upright in bed for the second time that morning.  There stood his almost seven year old sister, Kate.  She had one of her many raggedy dolls under her arm and Nick noticed that this one had the same big blue eyes and bouncy red curls on her head as his sister did.  He knew from the little half smile on her face that he was in some kind of trouble.  He’d had about six years of peace in his life, the ones before his sister had been born, and most of his waking hours were spent trying to keep just a half step ahead of her.

“Oh.  Hullo, Nicky,” she said, leaning against the doorway.  “Are you still sleeping?”

“Tell me something, Kate,” he said through a yawn.  “Seriously.  Have you ever, ever, known anyone to sleep sitting straight upright?  Think abut it.”

“Um, well, yes, actually,” she said.  “I have.”

“Oh, don’t be such a vexation,” Nick said, quoting Mother’s favorite word.  “Who on earth sleeps sitting straight upright?”

“Father, that’s who.  In church.  Every single Sunday morning!” Kate said, eyes blue as cornflowers crinkling in total victory.

“Oh,” Nick said.  “Right.”  Christmas!  Hardly awake for five minutes and already she’s gotten the better of him!  It was going to be a long day.  He shook his head to clear the cobwebs.  “Well, for your information I am not still sleeping.”

“That’s good because Father wants to know something,” Kate said, swinging her doll lazily by the hair.

“What’s that?” Nick asked, covering another yawn with the back of his hand.

“Well, he’d like to know if you plan to sleep all day or if you’re coming down to—”

“Oh.  Breakfast,” Nick said, and swung his legs over the side of the bed.  Somehow, having gone to sleep without any supper, he’d managed to forget all about breakfast.  “Right.  Coming down, I suppose.  I’m starving.”  Pushing his hair out of his eyes, he tried to recall where he’d thrown his trousers.


*4 June 1939*

At Greybeard Light

“By the way, Nicky?” Kate asked, twirling the doll in a tight little arc.  “Do you believe in Nazis?”

“Why, I guess I do.”  Nick said, pulling his well-worn summer trousers on, two legs at a time.  “Much as anything.”

“Do you know what Nazis look like?”

“I suppose I’d know a Nazi sure enough if I saw one close up, Kate.”  Nick replied.  “Why do you ask?”

“Well, we’re supposed to keep a watch out for them, that’s all,” she said with great seriousness.  “We’re going to be birdwatchers, just like Papa.  All of us.  You, me, even Mummy.  That’s what Father wants to talk to you about.  He already talked to us about them.  Mummy doesn’t believe in Nazis, I don’t think.  And Father says Mummy should go snooping about in his secret drawers looking at his big birdwatcher’s book if she—oh, race you to the bottom of the stairs, Nicky!”  She’d seen the stormy look on her brother’s face and decided it was smart to beat a hasty retreat.

“Hold on,” Nick said.  The birdwatcher’s book?   “He, he thinks it was Mummy found the secret drawer and, what—hold on a tick will you!”  But his sister was already halfway back down the twisting stairway.  Nick charged out after her, pulling his shoes on as he ran.  “Kate!  Come back here!  Wait!  Don’t—“ But she had too much of a head start on him and was already at the kitchen table when Nick burst into the room.

And there on the kitchen table, just where he’d feared it might be, was the faded red leather logbook from the secret drawer upstairs.  On the table right between his parents, who sat staring at each other in stony silence above it.  And look at little Katie with the big smile on her face.

“It was me.”  Nick said simply.  They all turned to stare at him.

“What do you mean, Nick?” his father asked, a puzzled expression on his face.

“I opened the drawer.  I took out the book.  I didn’t mean to look inside it, Father, I just, I couldn’t help it.  I was looking for Mother’s spectacles and I pushed the little button and then the drawer just popped out.  I didn’t mean to look inside it, but—I’m sorry, Father, really I am.”

“Thank you, Nicholas,” his mother said smiling at him. “I’ve been trying to tell the old boy I wasn’t his culprit, but you know your father.”  She delicately patted a spot of jam from the corner of her mouth and added, “Well, the cat’s out of the bag at any rate, isn’t it?  At least we don’t all have to go on pretending to believe in this silly ‘birdwatching’ business!  Isn’t that right, dear husband?”

Nick’s father gave his mother on of his looks and said, “Well, I certainly knew somebody had been looking at it because the log had been put back in the drawer upside down and—well—“ He stopped himself and looked at his wife with an embarrassed smile.  “Sorry, old thing.  I should have known it was young Mr. Curiosity Shop here and not—”

“No harm done, my darling,” Emily interrupted.  She rose from the table and stood behind her husband, nuzzling his head with playful kisses.  “In fact, quite the opposite!”  Motioning to Katie, she added, “Come along, Katherine, and bring your berry basket.  I’m going to need your help if I’m going to get that strawberry pie in the over in time for supper.”

His sister slid by him, obviously a bit disappointed there hadn’t been more of a row and that Nicholas himself hadn’t gotten into more serious trouble.  Kate didn’t necessarily try to cause trouble herself, but she was always quite happy to see it come along.  Provided, of course, that her brother, and not she herself, was the focus of it.  Luckily for her, that was usually the case.  Nicky didn’t look for trouble, it seemed to look for him. 

“Sit up straight and eat your porridge, Nicholas,” his father said sternly.  “I want a word with you, young man.”  Nick saw his sister’s expression brighten instantly as she collected her basket.  She imagined he was really in for it now, and she was probably right.  She gave him a knowing smile as she rose from the table and was shocked to see the pink tip of her brother’s tongue dart from his mouth. 

“Mother!  Nicky stuck his tongue out at me and—”

“I did not!  I was only getting a bit of porridge that—”

“Nicholas, behave yourself!  Oh, Angus, by the way,” Emily called to his father, as she waited by the kitchen door for Kate to collect her basket.

“Yes, dear?”

“Don’t worry.  We’ll sound the alarm if we discover any Nazis hiding in the strawberry patch!  Won’t we, Katie?”  She laughed and sailed out the door, her big straw basket dangling gaily from her arm.  Nick could hear her laughter all the way down the garden path.

Nick’s father looked at him and for a second Nick feared for the worst, but then Kate flew out the door, basket on arm, singing about Nazis in the strawberry patch and Angus’s face broke into a broad grin.  But his father’s grin soon faded and he pushed the red logbook cross the table toward his son. 

“You’ve read what’s in here, I suppose,” Angus said.

“Yes, Father,” Nick admitted.  “Some of it.  Enough to know what it is.”

“As amusing as your dear mother seems to find all of this, I assure you that it is no laughing matter.”  Angus paused to relight his pipe and sat puffing it, regarding Nick thoughtfully.  “I may need your help, son,” he said finally.

“Anything, Father,” Nick replied, his eyes shining. “Anything at all!” A trill of excitement was flowing through him, unlike anything he’d ever experienced.  His life, he knew, was changing before his eyes.

Excerpt 3

* 3 June 1939 *

Off Greybeard Island

“Easy… easy… and… NOW!” cried Nick, heaving the tiller to starboard to swing his bow around.  If there was a tinge of fear remaining in his voice you couldn’t hear it for the wind or the spray or the sheer exhilaration of the moment as he steered the little boat down the broad steep face of the wave toward the deep trough below.  Petrel’s moment of truth had finally arrived.

“We need to come up, now, boy.”  Nick said, holding on to his tiller for dear life.  The Gravestone Rock loomed dangerously close to his left as Petrel plunged deeper into the trough.  “We. Need. To. Come.  UP!”  Nick held his breath.  He’d seen the ugly spine of the first reef from the top of his wave and knew that Petrel’s keel would clear it if only he had timed his descent into the trough perfectly.  He clenched his jaw, unaware how painfully tight it was.  Jip, too, was rigid, staring at the wall of water before them, sensing the moment.

Petrel’s bow suddenly lifted.  She was rising high on the majestic swell and Nick waited for the tearing sound of her keep on the deadly jagged rock.  It occurred to him in that moment that it would probably be one of the last sounds he would ever hear.

It didn’t come.

At the wave’s crest, Nick could see that he’d timed it perfectly.  The waves would now lift him over the two razor-sharp reefs that remained between Petrel and the safety of the sandy cove.  Jip scrambled forward once more to his station at the bow.  He barked loudly in triumph, daring the forces of nature to do battle once more with the mighty Petrel and he daring crew. 

“Hooray!” Nick cried in both relief and exultation.  “We did it, boy, we perfectly well did it, didn’t we?”

In the deep bottle-green safety of the cove, it was simply a matter of running Petrel toward shore until her keel beached on the soft sand.  That done, Nick quickly freed the main and jib halyards and all the wet canvas fell to the deck.  As the boat swung round and listed to her starboard side, a happy Nick and Jip leapt over the gunwale and waded ashore.  Nick made fast a line from Petrel’s bow to a large rock on the shore.  Then he and Jip ducked into the mouth of the nearest cave to escape the fury of the storm.

And they had been safe, perched on a deep ledge inside the cave, waiting for the storm to blow itself out before sailing home for supper.

This cave, it occurred to Nick as he and Jip climbed back into the boat, might make an excellent hiding place someday.  Either as a place to hide from bloodthirsty pirates, or a place to secret any treasure he and his crew might find during their future navigations.

“All right, boy,” Nick said, hauling down the halyard that raised his mainsail once more, “Time to fly away home!” Now that the storm had subsided, he was confident he could pick his way through the reefs with little trouble.  After all, he knew their locations by heart.

Yes, you could always rely upon young Nicholas McIver to get his crew home safely.  After all, was there a more reliable boy in all of England?

Excerpt 2

* 3 June 1939 *

Off Greybeard Island

“Jibe HO!” he shouted to his shaggy crew.  He pulled sharply back on his tiller instead of pushing against it.  The bow swung instantly off the wind.  “Mind yer heads,” Nick bellowed.  The stout wooden boom and violently snapping mainsail came roaring across the small open cockpit like the furies of hell.  “Down, boy!” Nick cried, and ducked under the heavy wooden boom at the last second, narrowly avoiding a blow to the head which would have sent him, unconscious, overboard.  The lines, the sails, the rigging, every plank of his boat was screaming at their breaking point.  She’d been built of stout timber, but he could feel Petrel straining desperately at her seams.  If a plank should spring open now, this close to a rocky lee shore, they were surely done for!

But she held.  Looking aloft, he saw his mast and rigging mostly intact.  By jibing the boat, he’d gained precious time to think.

Nick feverishly eyed his options, now rapidly dwindling to nil.  There had to be a way out of this!  Nicholas McIver was not a boy destined to die such a stupid, unseamanlike death.  Not if he could help it.  He had a healthy fear of dying, all right, but now, staring death square in the face, he was far more afraid of letting them all down.  His mother.  His father.  His little sister, Katie.  His best friend, Gunner.

Wasn’t that a fate even worse than death, he wondered?  For a boy to slip beneath the cold waves without even the chance to prove to those he loved that he was a brave boy, a boy destined to do great things in this world?  A boy who might one day be—a hero?

The already fresh wind had now built into something truly appalling.  Petrel was rapidly running out of sea room.  The sickly green-yellow sky cast its unhealthy flow over the frothing sea.  Nick heard an ominous roar building on his port side.  Just as he looked up, a wave like an onrushing locomotive crashed over the windward side of the little boat, staggering the tiny vessel, knocking her instantly and violently on her side.  Nick was buried under a torrent of cold seawater.  He clung desperately to the tiller to avoid being washed overboard.  He was thinking only of Jip, again standing watch up on the bow.  As the weight of her heavy lead keep quickly righted the boat once more, Nick, sputtering, strained forward, rubbing the stinging saltwater from his eyes.  His dog was still there.  Heaven only knew how the creature had managed it.  In fact, Jip was barking loudly, surely in anger t the wave that had almost done them in.

“All that lead we hung off her bottom is good for something, eh, Jipper?  Hang on, boy!” Nick cried.  “I’ll think of something!” But what, his mind answered, whatever could he do?  He knew that the next wave they took broadside would be their last.  He fought the tiller, determined to get the towering waves on Petrel’s stern.  It was his only chance.

Just at that moment Petrel was lifted high above a cavernous trough by the hand of another huge wave.  For a brief moment, Nick could see most of the northern tip of his island.  And he knew in that instant what he had to do.  There was no escaping to the windward of the Gravestone Rock.  Since Petrel could never make headway back into the teeth of the storm, he now had no choice.  He must fall off to the leeward side of the rock, sailing a dead run before the wind, directly into the waiting jaws of the Seven Devils.  Nothing else for it, he thought, more grimly determined than ever.

From the crest of the wave, Nick had seen a small flash of white on the rocky shore dead ahead.  It could only mean a sandy cove, one of many along this coast where he and Kate played on sunny days.

If he could somehow time the waves precisely, so that Petrel’s keel might just brush the Devil’s deadly tops, he just might have a chance at beaching the boat on the sandy shore of that little cove.  Yes, he just might.

Now that he had a plan, the boy’s spirits soared.  It wasn’t much of a plan, but it was the only chance he had.  If it failed, why, he—

“Shorten sail, lads!” Nick cried to his imaginary crew, clenching the damp and salty mainsheet in his teeth as he loosed the main halyard with his free hand.  In a blow like this, reducing sail area by reefing the main wouldn’t decrease his boat speed by much, but it might just be enough to control his timing of the waves over the reefs.  It was clear that Nick would need all the seamanship, and luck, he could muster to get captain and crew safely ashore.

Jip, as if recognizing the desperate seriousness of their situation, came aft to stand watch beside his master.  Nick was glad of his company.

“Steady now, steady,” cried Nick, bracing his knees against the thwart seat and winding the mainsheet round his fist to secure it.  The force of the wind on the shortened sail made Nick’s arm feel as if it might be pulled from its socket.  “Steady as she goes, lads!”  Wind and water were tossing the sloop about like a pond boat, throwing his timing off dangerously.  Entering the procession of towering rollers, Nick felt his sloop surge forward.  “Look alive, Jip, we’re in for a bit of a sleigh-ride!” he cried.  Jip growled and stood his ground.

The trick, and it was a good one, was keeping Petrel out of the sequence of huge waves rushing toward the treacherous shore.  To wait until the timing was precisely right.  “Right” meant that Petrel was lifted at the precise moment her keel was passing over each one of the jagged Devils.  It was going to take luck all right, bags of the stuff, luck and no small measure of skill.


Excerpt 1

* 3 June 1939 *

Off Greybeard Island

“Hard a’lee me boys!” shouted Nick NcIver over the wind, “or be smashed to smithereens in the jaws of Gravestone Rock!”

The dog Jip barked his loud agreement.

Nick, at the helm of his small sloop, Stormy Petrel, that afternoon, was almost at the end of his first day-long voyage around Greybeard Island.  He was hard on the wind, making a good seven knots as he tacked homeward.  Just now, he was approaching the treacherous reefs that guarded the entrance to Lighthouse Harbor. Jip, on the bow, was howling into the strong headwind, enjoying the pounding sprays of seawater every bit as much as his skipper.

But now Nick was watching the western sky and the rapidly rising seas uneasily.  Maybe he should have nipped inside the huge Gravestone Rock, in the lee of this wind.  Probably should have known better than to sail the long way home in weather like this.  Should have done this, should have done that, he silently cursed himself.  He did know better, in fact.  But he and Jip had been having such a splendid time, bounding through the waves, he’d simply ignored the storm warnings.  A little cold spot in the pit of his stomach was growing.  He hated that cold feeling.  He’d not even spoken its name.

But it was fear.

The glorious empty bowl of blue that had been the morning sky now featured stacks of boiling cumulus clouds, all gone to darkening greys and blacks.  Billowing towers of purple clouds loomed on the western horizon, swiftly turning the colors of an ugly bruise.  In the last hour, clouds of spume came scudding across his bow and through the rigging of Stormy Petrel.  Above the howl of the elements was the high keening whistle of wind in the sloop’s rigging.  Slat spray stung Nick’s eyes.  But he could still see the sky overhead, boiling and black.

Nick leaned hard into the Petrel’s tiller, putting the weight of his lean body against it, fighting to keep his bow to windward of Gravestone Rock.  He had both hands on the tiller, and they’d gone clammy and cold.  Looking up in awe at the giant rock now looming before him, he wiped first one hand, then the other, on his soaking trousers.  The Gravestone.  A terribly thought shuddered unpleasantly through Nick’s mind.  Would that famous stone tower today mark still another watery grave?  His own, and his beloved Jip’s?  He cursed himself for his stupidity and leaned into his tiller with all his might.  Hopeless.  The bow refused to answer the helm, to come up into the wind.

However could he keep his small sloop to the safe, windward side of the massive stone looming ever larger before him?  And to the leeward side lay the Seven Devils.  On a calm day, Nick might pick his way through these treacherous reefs.  But now, in a blow, they were deadly.

He was fresh out of options.

“And you call yourself a sailor, Nick McIver!” he cried aloud.  But not even his dog heard his bitter cry of frustration above the roar of wind and water.  He should have known better.  There was a terrible price to pay for carelessness at sea.  Especially when you were anywhere near the Gravestone.

It was a towering monument of glistening black granite that now rose before him.  Thrusting from the sea like some angry tombstone, it had claimed the lives of skippers and sailors a good deal saltier than Nick and Jip.  As Nick had known from earliest childhood, countless ships and men had gone to the bottom courtesy of the Gravestone Rock.  Or the seven deadly spines of rock spreading like tentacles in all directions from its base.  The Seven Devils, the reefs were called, and not for nothing, either.  Here was as fiendish a bit of coastline as ever there was.

This perilous coast had finally led to the building of Nick’s home.  Even now, the great Greybeard Light sent yellow stabs streaking overhead through the darkening sky.  This flashing tower atop the cliffs off his port bow held special meaning for Nick McIver.  It was both a warning to stay away and a summons to come home.

For Nick lived atop that lighthouse, he was a lighthouse keeper’s son.  And now it looked as if the famous rock below it might claim the boy, if the boy didn’t think of something, and quickly.  IF THE GRAVESTONE DOESN’T GET YOU, THE SEVEN DEVILS WILL! Read the legend carved into the mantel at the Greybeard Inn.  And the long-dead British tar who had carved it there knew well whereof he spoke.  At that moment, Nick wished he himself had carved those ancient words of warning into the pitching desk he now stood upon.

“We’re not going to make it, boy!” shouted an anguished Nick, “I can’t keep her pointed high enough!”  Indeed he could not steer, nor will, the bow of his small boat to windward of the ever larger Gravestone.  For every foot of forward motion Petrel gained, she was losing two feet to side-slipping.  Adrenaline poured into Nick’s veins as he realized the potential for total disaster in what he was about to do.

A whispered prayer to his long dead hero escaped his lips.

Nelson the Strong, Nelson the Brave, Nelson the Lord of the Sea.

Nick faced a terribly decision.  The most brutal maneuver any sailor could make in such a dreadful blow was a jibe.  Jibing meant turning the boat away from the wind, instead of into it, so that its brutal force passed directly behind the mainsail.  The huge mainsail and heavy boom would then come whipping across the cockpit with a violence that could easily rip the mast from the boat.  But what choice did the have?  The terrible decision was already made.

It's time for our April 29, 2019 edition of our Candidate Power Rankings. We get to add two new candidates, write about a bunch of people that have little to no chance of winning, and thank the heavens we are one day closer to the end of all of this.

In case you're new here, read our explainer about how all of this works:

The 2020 Democratic primary power rankings are an attempt to make sense out of the chaos of the largest field of candidates in global history.

Each candidate gets a unique score in at least thirty categories, measuring data like polling, prediction markets, fundraising, fundamentals, media coverage, and more. The result is a candidate score between 0-100. These numbers will change from week to week as the race changes.

The power rankings are less a prediction on who will win the nomination, and more a snapshot of the state of the race at any given time. However, early on, the model gives more weight to fundamentals and potentials, and later will begin to prioritize polling and realities on the ground.

These power rankings include only announced candidates. So, when you say "WAIT!! WHERE'S XXXXX????" Read the earlier sentence again.

If you're like me, when you read power rankings about sports, you've already skipped ahead to the list. So, here we go.

See previous editions here.

20. Wayne Messam: 13.4 (Last week: 18th / 13.4)


A former staffer of Wayne Messam is accusing his wife of hoarding the campaign's money.

First, how does this guy have "former" staffers? He's been running for approximately twelve minutes.

Second, he finished dead last in the field in fundraising with $44,000 for the quarter. Perhaps hoarding whatever money the campaign has is not the worst idea.

His best shot at the nomination continues to be something out of the series "Designated Survivor."

Other headlines:

19. Marianne Williamson: 17.1 (Last week: 17th / 17.1)


Marianne Williamson would like you to pay for the sins of someone else's great, great, great grandparents. Lucky you!

Williamson is on the reparations train like most of the field, trying to separate herself from the pack by sheer monetary force.

How much of your cash does she want to spend? "Anything less than $100 billion is an insult." This is what I told the guy who showed up to buy my 1989 Ford Tempo. It didn't work then either.

Other headlines:

18. John Delaney: 19.7 (Last week: 15th / 20.3)


Good news: John Delaney brought in $12.1 million in the first quarter, enough for fifth in the entire Democratic field!

Bad news: 97% of the money came from his own bank account.

Other headlines:

17. Eric Swalwell: 20.2 (Last week: 16th / 20.2)


The Eric Swalwell formula:

  • Identify news cycle
  • Identify typical left-wing reaction
  • Add steroids

Democrats said there was obstruction in the Mueller report. Swalwell said there “certainly" was collusion.

Democrats said surveillance of the Trump campaign was no big deal. Swalwell said there was no need to apologize even if it was.

Democrats said William Barr mishandled the release of the Mueller report. Swalwell said he must resign.

Democrats say they want gun restrictions. Swalwell wants them all melted down and the liquid metal to be poured on the heads of NRA members. (Probably.)

16. Seth Moulton: 20.6 (NEW)

Who is Seth Moulton?

No, I'm asking.

Moulton falls into the category of congressman looking to raise his profile and make his future fundraising easier— not someone who is actually competing for the presidency.

He tried to block Nancy Pelosi as speaker, so whatever help he could get from the establishment is as dry as Pelosi's eyes when the Botox holds them open for too long.

Moulton is a veteran, and his military service alone is enough to tell you that he's done more with his life than I'll ever do with mine. But it's hard to see the road to the White House for a complete unknown in a large field of knowns.

Don't take my word for it, instead read this depressing story that he's actually telling people on purpose:

"I said, you know, part of my job is take tough questions," Moulton told the gathered business and political leaders. "You can ask even really difficult questions. And there was still silence. And then finally, someone in the way back of the room raised her hand, and she said, 'Who are you?' "

Yeah. Who are you?

15. Tim Ryan: 21.6 (Last week: 14th / 20.7)


When you're talking to less than sixteen people in Iowa one week after your launch, you don't have too much to be excited about.

Ryan did get an interview on CNN, where he also talked to less than sixteen people.

He discussed his passion for the Dave Matthews Band, solidifying a key constituency in the year 1995.

Other headlines:

14. Tulsi Gabbard: 25.2 (Last week: 14th / 25.9)


Tulsi Gabbard torched Kamala Harris in fundraising!!!!! (Among Indian-American donors.)

No word on who won the coveted handi-capable gender-neutral sodium-sensitive sub-demographic.

She received a mostly false rating for her attack on the Trump administration regarding its new policy on pork inspections, a topic not exactly leading the news cycle. Being from Hawaii, the state which leads the nation in Spam consumption, she was probably surprised when this didn't go mega viral.

Other headlines:

13. Andrew Yang: 27.2 (Last week: 12th / 27.1)


Yang has a few go-to lines when he's on the campaign trail, such as: "The opposite of Donald Trump is an Asian man who likes math." Another is apparently the Jeb-esque "Chant my name! Chant my name!"

Yang continues to be one of the more interesting candidates in this race, essentially running a remix of the "One Tough Nerd" formula that worked for Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.

I highly recommend listening to his interview with Ben Shapiro, where Yang earns respect as the only Democratic presidential candidate in modern history to actually show up to a challenging and in-depth interview with a knowledgeable conservative.

But hidden in the Shapiro interview is the nasty little secret of the Yang campaign. His policy prescriptions, while still very liberal, come off as far too sane for him to compete in this Stalin look-alike contest.

Other headlines:

12. Jay Inslee: 30.4 (Last week: 11th / 30.4)


If you read the Inslee candidate profile, I said he was running a one-issue climate campaign. This week, he called for a climate change-only debate, and blamed Donald Trump for flooding in Iowa.

He also may sign the nation's first "human composting" legalization bill. He can start by composting his presidential campaign.

Other headlines:

11. John Hickenlooper: 32.2 (Last week: 10th / 32.0)


John Hickenlooper was sick of being asked if he would put a woman on the ticket, in the 0.032% chance he actually won the nomination.

So he wondered why the female candidates weren't being asked if they would name a male VP if they won?

Seems like a logical question, but only someone who is high on tailpipe fumes would think it was okay to ask in a Democratic primary. Hickenlooper would be better served by just transitioning to a female and demanding other candidates are asked why they don't have a transgendered VP.

Other headlines:

10. Julian Castro: 35.7 (Last week: 9th / 36.2)


Lowering expectations is a useful strategy when your wife asks you to put together an Ikea end table, or when you've successfully convinced Charlize Theron to come home with you. But is it a successful campaign strategy?

Julian Castro is about to find out. He thinks the fact that everyone thinks he's crashing and burning on the campaign trail so far is an "advantage." Perhaps he can take the rest of the field by surprise on Super Tuesday when they finally realize he's actually running.

Other headlines:

9. Kirsten Gillibrand: 38.1 (Last week: 8th / 37.8)


Gillibrand wants you to know that the reason her campaign has been such a miserable failure so far, is because she called for a certain senator to step down. The problem might also be that another certain senator isn't a good presidential candidate.

She also spent the week arm wrestling, and dancing at a gay bar called Blazing Saddle. In this time of division, one thing we can all agree on: Blazing Saddle is a really solid name for a gay bar.

Other headlines:

8. Amy Klobuchar: 45.1 (Last week: 7th / 45.5)


Klobuchar is attempting a run in the moderate wing of the Democratic primary, which would be a better idea if such a wing existed.

She hasn't committed to impeaching Donald Trump and has actually voted to confirm over half of his judicial nominees. My guess is this will not be ignored by her primary opponents.

She also wants to resolve an ongoing TPS issue, which I assume means going by Peter Gibbons' desk every morning and making sure he got the memo about the new cover sheets.

Other headlines:

7. Elizabeth Warren: 45.3 (Last week: 6th / 46.0)


Elizabeth Warren is bad at everything she does while she's campaigning. I don't really even watch Game of Thrones, and the idea that Warren would write a story about how the show proves we need more powerful women makes me cringe.

Of course, more powerful people of all the 39,343 genders are welcome, but it's such a transparent attempt at jumping on the back of a pop-culture event to pander to female voters, it's sickening.

We can only hope that when she's watching Game of Thrones, she's gonna grab her a beer.

Other headlines:

6. Cory Booker: 54.9 (Last week: 5th / 55.5)


Booker is tied with Kamala Harris for the most missed Senate votes of the campaign so far. He gets criticized for this, but I think he should miss even more votes.

Booker is also pushing a national day off on Election Day—because the approximately six months of early voting allowed in every state just isn't enough.

Of course, making it easier to vote doesn't mean people are going to vote for Booker. So he's throwing trillions of dollars in bribes (my word, not his) to seal the deal.

Bookermania is in full effect, with 40 whole people showing up to his appearance in Nevada. Local press noted that the people were of "varying ages," an important distinction to most other crowds, which are entirely comprised of people with the same birthday.

Other headlines:

5. Robert Francis O’Rourke: 60.2 (Last week: 4th /62.6)


Kirsten Gillibrand gave less than 2% of her income to charity. The good news is that she gave about seven times as much as Beto O'Rourke. Robert Francis, or Bob Frank, also happens to be one of the wealthiest candidates in the race. His late seventies father-in-law has been estimated to be worth as much as $20 billion, though the number is more likely to be a paltry $500 million.

He's made millions from a family company investing in fossil fuels and pharmaceutical stocks, underpaid his taxes for multiple years, and is suing the government to lower property taxes on a family-owned shopping center.

He's also all but disappeared. It's a long race, and you don't win a nomination in April of the year before election day. If he's being frugal and figuring out what he believes, it might be a good move.

But it's notable that all the "pretty boy" hype that Bob Frank owned going into this race has been handed over to Mayor Pete. Perhaps Beto is spending his time working on curbing the sweating, the hand gestures, and the issues with jumping on counters like a feline.

Other headlines:

4. Pete Buttigieg: 62.9 (Last week: 3rd / 62.9)


When we first put candidates in tiers earlier this year, we broke everyone into five categories from "Front Runners" to "Eh, no." In the middle is a category called "Maybe, if everything goes right," and that's where we put Pete Buttigieg.

Well, everything has gone right so far. But Mayor Pete will be interested to learn that the other 19 candidates in this race are not going to hand him this nomination. Eventually, they will start saying negative things about him (they've started the opposition research process already), and it will be interesting to see how Petey deals with the pressure. We've already seen how it has affected Beto in a similar situation.

The media has spoken endlessly about the sexual orientation of Buttigieg, but not every Democratic activist is impressed. Barney Frank thinks the main reason he's getting this amount of attention is because he is gay. And for some, being a gay man just means you're a man, which isn't good enough.

When you base your vote on a candidate's genitals, things can get confusing.

Other headlines:

3. Kamala Harris: 68.6 (Last week: 1st / 69.1)


There are a couple of ways to view the Harris candidacy so far.

#1 - Harris launched with much fanfare and an adoring media. She has since lost her momentum. Mayor Pete and former Mayor Bernie have the hype, and Kamala is fading.

#2 - Harris is playing the long game. She showed she can make an impact with her launch, but realizes that a media "win" ten months before an important primary means nothing. She's working behind the scenes and cleaning up with donations, prominent supporters, and loads of celebrities to execute an Obama style onslaught.

I tend to be in category 2, but I admit that's somewhat speculative. Harris seems to be well positioned to make a serious run, locking up more than double the amount of big Clinton and Obama fundraisers than any other candidate.

One interesting policy development for Harris that may hurt her in the primary is her lack of utter disgust for the nation of Israel. There's basically one acceptable position in a Democratic primary when it comes to Israel, which is that it's a racist and terrorist state, existing only to torture innocent Palestinians.

Certainly no one is going to mistake Harris for Donald Trump, but a paragraph like this is poison to the modern Democratic primary voter:

"Her support for Israel is central to who she is," Harris' campaign communications director, Lily Adams, told McClatchy. "She is firm in her belief that Israel has a right to exist and defend itself, including against rocket attacks from Gaza."

Just portraying the rocket attacks as "attacks" is controversial these days for Democrats, and claiming they are responses to attacks indicates you think the Jeeeewwwwwwwws aren't the ones responsible for the start of every hostility. Heresy!

Someone get Kamala a copy of the 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion' before she blows her chance to run the free world.

2. Bernie Sanders: 69.2 (Last week: 2nd / 68.3)


If Bernie Sanders hates millionaires as much as he claims, he must hate the mirror. As a millionaire, it might surprise some that he donated only 1% to charity. But it shouldn't.

It's entirely consistent with Sandersism to avoid giving to private charity. Why would you? Sanders believes the government does everything better than the private sector. He should be giving his money to the government.

Of course, he doesn't. He takes the tax breaks from the evil Trump tax plan he derides. He spends his money on fabulous vacation homes. He believes in socialism for thee, not for me.

Yes, this is enough to convince the Cardi B's of the world, all but guaranteeing a lock on the rapper-and-former-stripper-that-drugged-and-stole-from-her-prostitution-clients demographic. But can that lack of consistency hold up in front of general election voters?

If Bernie reads this and would like a path to credibility, clear out your bank account and send it here:

Gifts to the United States
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Funds Management Branch
P.O. Box 1328
Parkersburg, WV 26106-1328

Other headlines:

1. Joseph Robinette Biden Jr.: 78.8 (NEW)

Joe has run for president 113 times during his illustrious career, successfully capturing the presidency in approximately zero of his campaigns.

However, when the eternally woke Barack Obama had a chance to elevate a person of color, woman, or anything from the rainbow colored QUILTBAG, he instead chose the oldest, straightest, whitest guy he could find, and our man Robinette was the beneficiary.

Biden has been through a lot, much of it of his own making. Forget about his plagiarism and propensity to get a nostril full of each passing females' hair, his dealings while vice president in both Ukraine and China are a major general election vulnerability— not to mention a legal vulnerability for his children. But hey, win the presidency and you can pardon everyone, right?

His supposed appeal to rust belt voters makes him, on paper, a great candidate to take on Trump. The Clinton loss hinged on about 40,000 voters changing their mind from Hillary to Donald in a few states—the exact areas where victory could possibly be secured by someone named "Middle Class Joe" (as he alone calls himself.)

No one loves Joe Biden more than Joe Biden, and there's a relatively convincing case for his candidacy. But we must remember this unquestionable truth: Joe Biden is not good at running for president.

He's a gaffe machine that churns out mistake after mistake, hoping only to have his flubs excused by his unending charisma. But, will that work without the use of his legendary groping abilities? Only time, and a few dozen unnamed women, will tell.

Also, yes. Robinette is really his middle name.

If only Karl Marx were alive today to see his wackiest ideas being completely paraded around. He would be so proud. I can see him now: Sprawled out on his hammock from REI, fiddling around for the last vegan potato chip in the bag as he binge-watches Academy Awards on his 70-inch smart TV. In between glances at his iPhone X (he's got a massive Twitter following), he sips Pepsi. In his Patagonia t-shirt and NIKE tennis shoes, he writes a line or two about "oppression" and "the have-nots" as part of his job for Google.

His house is loaded with fresh products from all the woke companies. In the fridge, he's got Starbucks, he loves their soy milk. He's got Ben & Jerry's in the freezer. He tells everyone that, if he shaved, he'd use Gillette, on account of the way they stand up for the Have-Nots. But, really, Marx uses Dollar Shave Club because it's cheaper, a higher quality. Secretly, he loves Chic-Fil-A. He buys all his comic books off Amazon. The truth is, he never thought people would actually try to make the whole "communism" thing work.

RELATED: SOCIALISM: This is the most important special we have done

Companies have adopted a form of socialism that is sometimes called woke capitalism. They use their status as corporations to spread a socialist message and encourage people to do their part in social justice. The idea of companies in America using socialism at all is as confusing and ridiculous as a donkey in a prom dress: How did this happen? Is it a joke? Why is nobody bursting out in laughter? How far is this actually going to go? Does someone actually believe that they can take a donkey to prom?

Companies have adopted a form of socialism that is sometimes called woke capitalism.

On the micro level, Netflix has made some socialist moves: The "like/dislike" voting system was replaced after a Netflix-sponsored stand-up special by Amy Schumer received as tidal wave of thumb-downs. This summer, Netflix will take it a step further in the name of squashing dissent by disabling user comments and reviews. And of course most of us share a Netflix account with any number of people. Beyond that, they're as capitalist as the next mega-company.

Except for one area: propaganda. Netflix has started making movie-length advertisements for socialism. They call them "documentaries," but we know better than that. The most recent example is "Knock Down the House," which comes out tomorrow. The 86-minute-long commercial for socialism follows four "progressive Democrat" women who ran in the 2018 midterms, including our favorite socialist AOC.

Here's a snippet from the movie so good that you'll have to fight the urge to wave your USSR flag around the room:

This is what the mainstream media wants you to believe. They want you to be moved. They want the soundtrack to inspire you to go out and do something.

Just look at how the mainstream media treated the recent high-gloss "documentary" about Ilhan Omar, "Time for Ilhan." It received overwhelmingly bad ratings on IMDb and other user-review platforms, but got a whopping 93% on the media aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.

This is exactly what the media wants you to think of when you hear the word socialism. Change. Empowerment. Strength. Diversity. They spend so much energy trying to make socialism cool. They gloss right over the unbelievable death toll. BlazeTV's own Matt Kibbe made a great video on this exact topic.

Any notion of socialism in America is a luxury, made possible by capitalism. The woke companies aren't actually doing anything for socialism. If they're lucky, they might get a boost in sales, which is the only thing they want anyway.

We want to show you the truth. We want to tell you the stories you won't hear anywhere else, not on Netflix, not at some movie festival. We're going to tell you what mainstream media doesn't want you to know.

Look at how much history we've lost over the years. They changed it slowly. But they had to. Because textbooks were out. So people were watching textbooks. It was printed. You would bring the book home. Mom and dad might go through it and check it out. So you had to slowly do things.

Well, they're not anymore. There are no textbooks anymore. Now, you just change them overnight. And we are losing new history. History is being changed in realtime.

RELATED: 'Good Morning Texas' joins Glenn to get an inside look at Mercury Museum

You have to write down what actually is happening and keep a journal. Don't necessarily tell everybody. Just keep a journal for what is happening right now. At some point, our kids won't have any idea of the truth. They will not have any idea of what this country was, how it really happened. Who were the good guys. Who were the bad guys. Who did what.

As Michelle Obama said. Barack knows. We have to change our history. Well, that's exactly what's happening. But it's happening at a very rapid pace.

We have to preserve our history. It is being systematically erased.

I first said this fifteen years ago, people need clay plots. We have to preserve our history as people preserved histories in ancient days, with the dead see scrolls, by putting them in caves in a clay pot. We have to preserve our history. It is being systematically erased. And I don't mean just the history of the founding of our country. I mean the history that's happening right now.

And the history that's happening right now, you're a problem if you're a conservative or a Christian. You are now a problem on the left, if you disagree and fall out of line at all. This is becoming a fascistic party. And you know what a fascist is. It doesn't matter if you're a Democrat or a Republican or an independent. If you believe it's my way or the highway, if you believe that people don't have a right to their opinion or don't have a right to their own life — you could do be a fascist.

Christianity might seem pretty well-protected in the U.S., but that's not the case in many parts of the globe.

On Easter Sunday, suicide bombers made the news for killing 290 innocent Christians in Sri Lanka and injuring another 500. On Tuesday, ISIS claimed responsibility for the massacre. Of course, the Western world mourned this tragic loss of life on a holy day of worship, but we forget that this isn't an isolated incident. Indeed, Christians are discriminated at extreme levels worldwide, and it needs to be brought to light. And whenever we do highlight brutal persecutions such as the Easter bombings in Sri Lanka, we need to call them what they are — targeted attacks against Christians. Sadly, many of our politicians are deathly afraid to do so.

RELATED: Hey media, there is absolutely a war on Christians!

A 2018 Pew Research Center study found that Christians are harassed in 144 countries — the most of any other faith — slightly outnumbering Muslims for the top of the list. Additionally, Open Doors, a non-profit organization that works to serve persecuted Christians worldwide, found in their 2019 World Watch List that over 245 million Christians are seriously discriminated against for their religious beliefs. Sadly, this translates into 4,136 Christians killed and 2,625 either arrested, sentenced, imprisoned, or detained without trial over the year-long study period. And when it comes to churches, those in Sri Lanka were merely added to a long list of 1,266 Christian buildings attacked for their religion.

These breathtaking stats receive very little coverage in the Western world. And there seems to be a profound hesitation from politicians in discussing the issue of persecution against Christians. In the case of the Sri Lanka bombings, there's even a reluctance to use the word "Christian."

After the horrific Pittsburgh Synagogue and New Zealand Mosque shootings, Democrats rightfully acknowledged the disturbing trend of targeted attacks against Jews and Muslims. But some of these same politicians refer to the Sri Lanka bombings with careless ambiguity.

So why is it so hard for our leaders to acknowledge the persecutions Christians face?

Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, for instance, certainly did — calling the incursions "attacks on Easter worshippers." Understandably, the term confused and frustrated many Christians. Although, supporters of these politicians argued the term was appropriate since a recent Associated Press report used it, and it was later picked up by a variety of media outlets, including Fox News. However, as more Democrats like 2020 presidential candidate Julián Castro and Rep. Dan Kildee continued to use the phrase "Easter worshippers," it became clear that these politicians were going out of their way to avoid calling a spade a spade.

So why is it so hard for our leaders to acknowledge the persecutions Christians face? For starters, Christianity in democratic countries like the U.S. is seen differently than in devastated countries like Somalia. According to Pew Research, over 70% of Americans are Christian, with 66% of those Christians being white and 35% baby boomers. So while diverse Christians from all over the world are persecuted for their faith—in the U.S., Christians are a dominant religion full of old white people. This places Christians at the bottom of progressives' absurd intersectional totem poll, therefore leaving little sympathy for their cause. However, the differing experiences of Christians worldwide doesn't take away from the fact that they are unified in their beliefs.

By refusing to name the faith of the Sri Lankan martyrs, politicians are sending a message that they have very little, if no, concern about the growing amount of persecution against Christians worldwide.

Martyrs don't deserve to be known as "Easter worshippers." They should be known by the Christian faith they gave their lives for. Decent politicians need to call the tragedy in Sri Lanka what it is — a vicious attack on the Christian faith.

Patrick Hauf (@PatrickHauf) is a writer for Young Voices and Vice President of Lone Conservative. His work can be found in the Washington Examiner, Townhall, FEE, and more.