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by Celia Rees (more about Celia Rees) 1764/723 first published 2003
Historical Fiction for ages 11 to 16 published by Bloomsbury Children’s Books
Available from:  Amazon.co.uk
* £8.75, usually dispatched within 24 hours.
Mrs Mad's humble opinion
10/10 Excellent work. Well done!
What's it about?
A tale of two very different girls, growing up in the 18th century, where Pirates still roamed the seas and the slave trade made evil men rich!
What happens?
Fate brings the naïve Nancy Kington to Jamaica where she meets Minerva, a black slave already working in her father's house. As friendship grows between the two girls Nancy's eyes are opened to the awful truth of the world around her. She realises that she is just as much a slave as Minerva and has been sold in marriage to the black hearted Brazilian, Bartholome. Escaping their bonds the two girls run away to secret Pirate village and set about becoming Pirates themselves, in a search for happiness and lost loves!
Is it easy to read?
Quite easily read by all.
Anything else?
This is the best of celia Ress's work so far. It is a powerful story, told with clear insight and total honesty. Rees doesn't describe too many of the awful sights the girls might have seen or experienced, but the few that she does describe are quite harrowing. You cannot fault this book, it appears well researched and is full of the sights and sounds of the 18th Century, whether on land or at sea. It is easily read and quickly demands a second reading to take more in! Absolutely wonderful!
Other books by Celia Rees include City of Shadows, Sorceress, The Host Rides Out, The Soul Taker, The Vanished, Truth or Dare?, Witch Child.
Who says so?
This review by Mrs Mad.
The publisher reckons...
When two young women meet under extraordinary circumstances in eighteenth century West Indies they are unified in their desire to escape their oppressive lives. The first, a slave forced to work in a plantation mansion and subjected to terrible cruelty at the hands of the plantation manager. The second, a spirited and rebellious English girl, sent to the West Indies to marry well and combine the wealth of two respectable families. But Fate ensures that one terrible night the two young women have to save each other and run away to a life no less dangerous but certainly a lot more free. As pirates they roam the seas, fight pitched battles against their foes and become embroiled in many a heart quickening adventure. Written in brilliant and sparkling first person narrative Celia Rees has created a wonderful novel in which the past is brought vividly and intimately to life. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
And here's a sample...
You never forget the first attack. I was cotton mouthed and terrified, standing at the ready, waiting to hear the two ships grind and splinter together. The waiting is the worst of it. I've seen strong men turn pale as putty, and dash to the heads to relieve themselves, or vomit over the side. No-one makes any comment. No-one mocks or jeers at them, even these men who seem to laugh in the face of death itself. They stare straight ahead, gripping weapons and grappling hooks, half pikes, axes and hatchets. Sometimes, Broom ordered drums and cymbals to add to the clamour, or the cannons fired, filling the air with the reek of powder, so we boarded through blinding billows of smoke. Once on the prize, then it was different. Our own fear did not compare with the terror we instilled in the ordinary crew and passengers. We would board with reckless boldness, and if the prize offered resistance, it was kill or be killed. I stood with Minerva as our first fight came, pistols primed and slung about me, my cutlass honed and as sharp as a razor, my axe hanging heavy from my belt. I could not keep my legs from shaking, my knuckles were white from gripping the rail, but Minerva had a stillness about her, her features as calm and expressionless as if they had been carved from ironwood. I'd seen the look before, on the faces of Phillis and Thomas and the other slaves when confronted by Duke in his fury. It was not resignation, more a refusal to show any reaction to whatever fate was about to enfold her. I was green and sick with nervousness. She put her hand on mine to steady me, whispering through the cannon's roar. 'We will watch out for each other. We will not be afraid.' We leapt the gap between the ships together, ready to fight and die for each other.
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