Publisher: ducts have separate terms, are sold from abroad and may differ from local products, including fit, age ratings, and language of product, labeling or instructions.NewMint ConditionDispatch same day for order received before 12 noonGuaranteed packaging
Age Range: 14+ Secondary/Adult
Buy the Book
The first volume won among other prizes, the Boston Globe Horn Book Award in 2007 and was given a very positive review in Books for Keeps. Coming to this second volume without having read the first was a challenge as only a two page introduction to Octavian’s background is given to the reader to familiarise himself with his previous adventures. Written in a very wordy style with the use of many unfamiliar words, like ‘berm’, and ‘ensorcelled’ makes it even more challenging to tackle.
Octavian, an educated ‘Negro’, has returned to Boston with Dr Trefusis, his teacher at the Novanglian College of Lucidity in Boston, where he had been the object of an experiment to see if an African had the equal capacities to a European. Fearing war and smallpox they had fled the city but returned to find the Crown in charge of Boston. The two are destitute and Trefusis is ill but Octavian finds employment as a musician. Then seeking freedom Octavian joins Lord Dunmore’s Ethiopian Regiment and is reunited with Pro Bono. They train in Norfolk, Virginia, but when the rebels take Norfolk they retreat on board ship. When out on a foraging party Octavian and his companions are separated from the main party and have to pretend to be captured negro slaves in order to get back to the regiment. The story ends with Dr Trefusis’s death.
Written partly as a diary, partly as narrative and interspersed with papers purporting to be of the time, the language used makes this at times impenetrable. The flow of the story which could be very exciting is slowed considerably by the verbosity of the text and the unfamiliar words or arrangement of words. The rather dry humour tends to be lost in this which is a shame as Octavian emerges as an interesting character, full of observations on his life, other people and his place in the colonies of America. His inability to tell Pro Bono of his mother’s obviously painful death is movingly described.
It is difficult to see a British teenager persevering with this story albeit of a war which lost Britain the American colonies and told by an educated slave with much to say on the state of society.