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Lewes, Delaware
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July 3, 1998     Cape Gazette
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July 3, 1998

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| m 102- CAPE GAZETTE,Friday, July 3 - July 9, 1998 Florida, firm publishing Rehoboth author Marnie Laird's historic ]lo00TeJ[, 'Water Rat' By Dennis Forney People of all ages who enjoy ad- venture stories about pirates, Delaware history and the unique natural culture of the state's marshes and creeks can look for- ward to a new book about to be distributed. Winslow Press of Delray Beach, Fla. recently sent out no- tice that it is publishing "Water Rat" by Rehoboth Beach resident Marnie Laird. The colorful illus- tration on the jacket of the hard- bound novel shows a drenched young boy, hunkered in a boat hidden in tall marsh grass, watch- ing a sailing vessel pass by in the fog. That image, by illustrator Andrea Shine, captures a sense of the fast-paced, dramatic adventure that Laird brings to the reader. The novel takes place in the ear- ly 18th century when New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties were still the lower three counties of Pennsylvania. Early settlement took place along the creeks and rivers that indented the Delaware shoreline, and in a time when there was little organized law en- forcement, pirates working the coast found easy picking in raids of defenseless settlers. "Water Rat," according to the author, is a fictionalized account of a real pirate raid on the Liston plantation near the town known today as Leipsic. Laird uses the older name of the town, Fast Landing, in her book. "The name came from the fact its locale was the first fast, or solid, ground up the river. Delaware Bay narrows into the Delaware River just south of Lis- ton Point. The Leipsic River emp- ties into the Delaware, also south of Liston Point, forming part of the maze of marsh-fringed creeks and guts that made for good hid- ing places for pirates working that stretch of the river and easy es- cape to the broad Delaware Bay beyond. The hero of the book, Matt Bur- ton, is a Huckleberry Finnlike or- phan whose intimate knowledge of the marshes gradually trans- forms from a source of shame to a source of pride. Beset by adversi- ty, riddled with self-doubt and stunned by the murder of a Native American hermit who was his on- ly friend, Matt musters his courage and combines it with lo- cal knowledge passed on by his father to rise above his problems. His heroics help a government warship capture a cunning band of pirates and bring an end to the treasonous villainy of the dastard- ly innkeeper Eli, who opens the book with a swift and drunken kick to the ribs of the crippled Matt. A Delaware native whose father Caleb Layton was a federal judge in Georgetown, Laird has done extensive freelance writing over the years, including pieces pub- lished in the "The Washington Rehoboth Beach resident Marnie Laird recently had her historic novel, "Water Rat," published. Post," "Philadelphia Inquirer" and "Cobblestone" magazine. "I've always been fascinated by Delaware his- tory," said Laird this week, "so I decided to try my hand at a novel. I did my research at the Histori- cal Society of Delaware in LAIRD Wilmington." In addition to spinning a com- pelling adventure yarn, with be- lievable characters, that moves along at a good clip, Laird also presents us with descriptive writ- ing that leaves no doubt as to her feel for her home state: "He decided to head down- stream, where the fishing should be good this time of year. The wind would be behind him going down, and the incoming tide would help coming back. The pain in his side forgotten, Matt leaned into the oars and rounded the wooded point that protected the western edge of the harbor. "Out in the river, Matt smelled the sharp odor of the marshes, a mixture of salt air, rich, oozing mud, and dank marsh grass. Little waves slapped at the bow of his Continued on page 103 Fine Dining Since 1980 Continental Cuisine Romantic Atmosphere Award-Winning Wine List includes Over 40 Fabulous Wines Priced $25 or Less 210 Second Street, Rehoboth Beach RESERVATIONS: 227-6494 l00ighthouse estaurant AND THE DRAWBRIDGE BAR At Fisherman's Wharf in Lewes. 645-6271 Open 6:30 a.m. Mon. - Fri.. 6 a.m. Sat.  Sun. Close 9:30 p.m. Sun. - Thurs. 10 p.m. Fri. b Sat. Dine overlooking the Lewes waterfront and fishing fleet. . . 4r "k 4r* :eRE RUI Receive a FREE CRUISE TICKET with every adult I: entred ordered between 4 p.m. & 5:30 p.m. nightly. Cruise leaves Fisherman's Wharf at 7 p.m. and lasts 1 112 hours. Includes a historical narration of Lewes Canal and Delaware Breakwater area. Cru.e ;at .;ion of capta., "k-k" "k-k "k "k "k" "k Enjoy Our Grill BBQ Chef John Bamforth uses his secret spices to grill up mouth-watering hamburgers, cheeseburgers, chicken, ribs and fresh tuna. July 4th Boat Parade" oats decorated for the holiday will parade past Fisherman's Wharf at 3 p.m. Get a front row seat at the Lighthouse Restaurant. THE BEST VIEW IN LEWES!