The Freedom Merchants
Scholastic 2013 $19.50pb 426 pages
ISBN 978 1 7754 3146 6
Themes: Algiers – 17th century/ Barbary Coast/ Ireland – History 17th century/ Monks/ Pirates/ Slave trade
Liam lives with his family of younger siblings and an older brother in the small fishing village of Ballykillmara. All seems serene in this routine 17th century world. However, pirates are raiding the coastlines of Ireland and England taking young men as white slaves to be sold in the markets at Algiers and along the Barbary Coast and Liam’s brother is captured. With the help of monks from a nearby monastery, packets of gold from a sunken pirate ship and a great deal of courage, Liam sets off to find him and bring him home. From the very first moment the reader knows he or she is safe in the hands of a master storyteller through all the twists and turns of a tangled plot with plenty of blood, the horrors of the slave ships and unfailing faith of the small band of monks. We are never let down and by the end of the story this reader was anxiously thinking only 10 more/ 7 more/ 2 more pages to go and never wanting it to end. Highly recommended.
Year 9 up/ Age 13 up