Son of Perdition<br/>Ahab's Legacy

Author: Louise M Gouge
Published: 2006-02-01
Language(s): English
Category: Fiction
Audience: Adult
Genre(s): Inspirational, Romance, Historical Fiction Read Excerpt >

Jemima Starbuck stood in the windswept Nantucket graveyard and brushed the dried dirt from the tall black pillar, shaking her head in sorrow over the chinks gouged from it. Why did Isaiah keep doing this? What satisfaction did her older brother receive from battering this marble memorial to the man whom he blamed for killing their father? Why must he continue to curse poor dead Captain Ahab and batter his monument, as though by striking the shiny stone and slathering it with mud, he himself could punish the man? Why must he be so foolish?

Most of the dirt was gone now, except for traces caked into the carving. Her fingers covered with a worn linen handkerchief, Jemima traced the letters, reading each word softly to herself:

This Monument Erected in Memory of

Captain Ahab

of Nantucket, Aged 58 Years,

Who Perished with His Ship, the Pequod,

In the South Pacific Ocean

November 27, 1845.

All Hands Lost Save One.

Committed to Merciful God

By His Loving Wife and Son.


Despite all that he had done, his family had loved this man. Jemima’s eyes grew misty as she considered their loss.

“What are you doing?” A stern, masculine voice jolted Jemima from her reverie. She turned and looked up into the stormy black eyes of a tall, young man.

“Oh! Oh, you startled me.” She brushed away her tears with the back of her hand.

His angry expression dissolved, replaced by one of surprise. “Forgive me.” He bent forward with a well-executed bow, and when he straightened, the storm had disappeared. “I didn’t mean to frighten you.”

For a moment, Jemima could not breathe. Then fire seemed to rise up from her heart to the top of her head, burning her face on the way. Who was this handsome youth? She could recognize every person who lived on Nantucket Island, and she had never laid eyes on him. But what were these strange feelings racing through her? Not fear. No, not at all. The only word she could think of was awe, for he was the finest looking young man she had ever seen.

They stood silently for a moment, gazing at each other. Then he glanced behind her and cleared his throat.

“Did you know him?” He nodded toward the monument.

She giggled, and her face flamed again. “I was just a baby when he died.”

He winced, shook his head slightly, and gave her a sad smile. “Of course. Foolish question.”

“Oh, no. Not foolish at all. Many people say I look older than I am.”

He chuckled. “I’ve always had that problem as well. Too tall.”

“Oh, I would not say too tall.” No, not too tall at all. What fine figure of a man—nearing perfection!

He smiled his appreciation of her remark and then turned his gaze once more to the monument.

She glanced at it too and then back at him. “Did you?”

“Did I … oh, did I know him?”

“Yes.” She gave him an encouraging smile.

He stared at her for a moment, and she could see he was considering his answer.

“What were you doing before?” He jerked his head toward the stone. “I mean, when I walked up, you were doing something to it. What were you doing?”

Jemima pursed her lips for a moment. She would not reveal her brother’s actions. “Dirt had collected in the letters. I was trying to clean it out.”

Her words seemed to move him. He turned away, cleared his throat, and rubbed the back of his neck before turning back.

“Thank you,” he whispered.

She breathed out a sob. Was this Captain Ahab’s son, listed here on the monument, of whom her mother sometimes had spoken?


He gave her a brief nod, and his dark brow furrowed. “But who are you?”

Son of Perdition ~ Ahab's Legacy   by   Louise M Gouge   |   See Bio >
Can he ever escape his father's curse?

Timothy Jacobs spends his young life trying to prove that he is not like his father, the infamous Captain Ahab. Certain of his own goodness compared to the misguided mariners he observes on the Boston waterfront, he feels no need for the salvation of Christ. His popularity and success as a midshipman at the U. S. Naval Academy at Annapolis seem to confirm that he is on the right path. But when he is tragically wounded in a Civil War battle, he is nearly consumed by rage at God, whom he now regards as unjust and uncaring, even cruel. Compelled at last to read the account of his father’s futile battle against a white whale--and God, Timothy finds the course of his life altered forever.

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