More than the heroic conqueror of Western Europe, Charlemagne was an intense and thoughtful human being. His succession of five wives brought him a palace full of children. So warm was his love for his daughters that he could never bear to see them married away from the court, even though enticing alliances with other rulers were offered them.
A deeply religious man, Charlemagne became the protector of orthodox Christianity against medieval heresies. A patron of learning, he established schools and brought artists and scholars to his court to work and study. As a result, most classical literature comes down to us in copies of books made in Charlemagne's time.
Here, from National Book Award winner Richard Winston, is his remarkable story.
On one such occasion she picks up a new man, a brigrat just out of incarceration on Guam for going AWOL. His name is Gus Rounds. We follow Rounds as he is introduced to his new ship and his new shipmates. He quickly earns the wrath of his future nemesis, Ted Holiday, BM1. But he is be-friended by Tick Peterson, PN2 in the Ships Office and cut some slack by Master Chief Gunnersmate Tom MacBriar.
Captain Childress is aboard Michigamme, deep in the belly of ServPac, the wretched Service Fleet Pacific, and the bottom of the barrel as far as command status goes, for one reason only. Her draft. Fully laden she draws 48 feet of water, about the same as an aircraft carrier. Childress is a WWII flyboy hero who knows nothing about ships and is bucking for a carrier command, but to get it he needs some deep draft experience on his resume.Fortunately for Childress, his second in command, Executive Officer Jim Barden, is a competent seaman and navigator and he sees to all the actual details of the ships day to day performance. While Rounds is part of Deck Force we meet his fellow deckapes Red Dog, Tony Land, John Basham, and Denny Van Horn BM2, Holidays right hand man. We also meet Tim Case, ET3, Gary Middleshore, PN striker and many other members of Michigamme 212-man crew.With a little encouragement and Peterson greasing the wheels, Rounds gets out from under Holidays thumb on deck force and is allowed to;strike for gunner. After Tom MacBriars suicide, the Gunnery Department of Michigamme consists of Deke Buckles, GM2, Joe Cruz, GM3, and Rounds, seaman striker. Until BuPers in Washington can send a replacement for Chief MacBriar, Buckles is in charge of the gundecks. He and Holiday are at war. Holiday is also at war with Peterson over money Holiday owes to the illegal slush fund Peterson operates with Corpsman Jerry Steinberg. Then the an unknown officer steals Deke Buckles Filipina girlfriend, Trudy, and Buckles goes berserk, starting a riot in Olongapo and a war between Michigamme and Oklahoma City, flagship of Com7thFleet. Later he finds out that the officer is Captain Childress of the Michigamme, and the seeds to a mutiny are sown. First the Okie City, as she is known, is doused with black oil from stem to stern when Buckles and the rest of the gundeckers conspire with some snipes in Engineering to send the flagship a charged hose thus torpedoing Captain Childress career. But Buckles is killed in a helicopter accident and it falls on Gus Rounds to plot the Michigamme Mutiny. When push finally comes to shove its in a raging typhoon off the coast of Japan. Joe Cruz and Gus Rounds make their move and the gundeckers seize command of the ship by force. But by then the real question is whose ship is it anyway?