Royal Navy warships sail off the west coast of Africa to intercept ships involved in the slave trade and free their “cargo,” who are to be sold as slaves in Brazil and the U.S.
Fifteen-year-old John Spencer is an officer cadet sailing with the “Sentinel.” He learns firsthand about the hard work on board a ship and also finds himself involved in combat.
The author adeptly describes his very believable characters, “the good, the bad, the indifferent, the heroes and the villains” as well as their motives.
The fate of the kidnapped Africans, who are chained and treated like cattle, is portrayed in dramatic scenes.
Peter Carter wrote this book “in memory of the millions of Africans who were kidnapped and forced into slavery and the thousands of British Royal Navy sailors who perished trying to free them.”
The book also illustrates how judgments can in fact be unjust, with the righteous being punished and the criminals acquitted.
This story also reminds me of my former classmate Jochen, who decided at thirteen that he wanted to set out to free the Indians, the Native Americans. Similar feelings arise when reading “The Sentinel.”
Ages 13 and up.
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