I chose this book because it seemed interesting enough to force me out of my normal areas of reading. The late 17th century setting was compelling, taking the reader from the streets of London to the plantations and mountains of Jamaica. The author clearly has a passion for the history that is the basis for this novel, and I enjoyed the authenticity of the story.
Unlike many novels that romanticize their setting, Scatterwood
delves deep into the horrors of the slave trade, indentured servitude, and early sugar plantation work. Some scenes made me cringe and hope that no person had truly had to suffer such indignities (knowing full well that they did). From devilish overseers to swarms of biting insects, the trials of our protagonist, a man blackmailed into indentured servitude with an impossible mission to accomplish, are brought to life.
I do feel that I would have had a bit of an easier time following the action and keeping track of the cast of characters had I first read The Bitter Trade
, which introduces them. Everyone is brought onto the scene in this book as though the reader should already know them, and the action happens so quickly that I sometimes found myself a bit lost. However, for those looking for a fast-paced adventure that reveals some dark aspects of history, this book is a great choice.
3.5 stars. I received this book through NetGalley. Opinions are my own.