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The Dream and the Glory

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Staying at the British Ambassador’s exquisite Bay of Naples Villa, beautiful young Cordelia and her brother David, the Earl of Hunstanton, are far from the Berkshire estate that is their home. But since the death of their parents there has been nothing to stop David realising his dream – to go to Malta and become a Knight of St. John. Except, that is, the money to finance a ship to take him there.So when, out of the blue, a handsome, English buccaneer appears, who turns out to be none other than their cousin, Mark Stanton, he seems Heaven-sent. As Captain of a ship en route to Malta, he is in position to offer them passage to the island.To their chagrin, however, he attempts to dissuade David from his Pilgrimage and Cordelia from her notion of joining a Convent. But, when the siblings resist his appeals and press ahead, Mark vows to protect them both from the perils not only of David’s Maltese Crusade but also of the Napoleonic War, Barbary pirates in the Mediterranean and the scheming snobbery of Neapolitan Society. Valiant Mark saves Cordelia from the lecherous clutches of the Duca di Belina and from the terrors or war against the French, but he cannot protect David from a noble death in battle protecting Malta, nor his own heart from falling hopelessly in love.

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Author’s Note
Author’s NoteOn September 19th 1798 the British Fleet, after their triumphant victory at the Battle of the Nile, blockaded the French in Malta. The siege continued for exactly a year. Napoleon Bonaparte had forced the Knights of St. John to leave Malta, but the Order was not destroyed and its valiant spirit remained as invincible and dedicated as it had been since the Crusades. It was revived in England in 1831 and in 1877 the St. John Ambulance Brigade was finally established. The Ophthalmic Hospital in Jerusalem was opened in 1882. Today Priories of the British Order are active in Scotland, Wales, South Africa, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. There are Commanderies in Western Australia, Northern Ireland and Central Africa. There is also an American society of the Order. The great ideal and the spirit of selfless dedication started by a few monks at the Pilgrim Hostel in Jerusalem in A.D. 800 has carried on down the ages until today there are 263,267 members of the St. John Ambulance Brigade working in thirty-one countries of the world. Few people realise that Master Mariners and Policemen must qualify for a First Aid Certificate and that the Ambulance and Nursing Members in their black and white uniforms who man the First Aid posts in factories and theatres and who are present at all sports rallies, football matches, protest marches, riots and public demonstrations are unpaid. For the Service of Mankind these men and women give their most valuable possessions – themselves and their time. This is the vision and the dream for which the Knights of the Order have lived and died for a thousand years and through their inspiration and example there will always be young idealists to follow the Eight-Pointed Cross.

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