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Kemosha of the Caribbean

Written by Alex Wheatle

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Kemosha of the Caribbean Review

Adventure Stories Featured Books for 13+ readers Featured Books for Young Adults Historical Fiction Star Books

An unforgettable enslaved heroine strives for freedom, ventures to the high seas, and sparks revolution in 17th-century Jamaica

Compelling and characterful, Alex Wheatle’s Kemosha of the Caribbean is an illuminating ode to women of the Caribbean who fought for freedom. Interweaving the piratical history of Captain Henry Morgan with the determination and compassion of an extraordinary heroine, it’s a magnificently spirited story - enjoy as a fine companion to Wheatle’s Cane Warriors.

Jamaica, 1668. Amidst the brutal power-play of England consolidating colonial control from Spain, 15-year-old Kemosha is enslaved on Captain Tate’s plantation, resolute that “They will never tek me dream from me”. And that dream? Freedom from slavery, freedom to be her own person, freedom to liberate those she loves. Then, as Kemosha is sold to work in a tavern in Port Royal, “the wickedest place on earth”, she swears “to all the African gods dat me will come back for me liccle brudder”.

In the tavern, battle-scarred white men gamble and brawl while drunk on “firewater”, with the heady atmosphere evoked in all its colour - Wheatle’s writing always strikes a brilliant balance between action and lyricism. Though subjected to lascivious stares and grabbing hands, Kemosha won’t put up with worse from an English navy man. She fights back and flees, finding refuge with Jamaica’s most skilled barrel-maker, who teaches her the art of sword fighting. Through him, after proving her skills, she joins Captain Morgan, the Welsh-born “richest man in the Caribbean”, who’s heard word of her sword play and bravery.

Life at sea is harsh, with worse horrors awaiting when Kemosha follows the crew to land. Surrounded by the appalling aftermath of a brutal battle, she utters a powerful statement: “Why does one group of people want more than de next group of people?... Why does one have to conquer the other? Why does one have to be de slave and one have to be de masser?”

Remaining steadfast to her dream, Kemosha fights on to bring about the freedom she’s so long desired. Quite simply, Kemosha of the Caribbean swells with storytelling brilliance.

Joanne Owen

Kemosha of the Caribbean Synopsis

Kemosha and her brother have lived their whole lives in slavery.

Sold away to work in lawless Port Royal, Kemosha takes her chance to escape brutal treatment. With fortune on her side, Kemosha befriends Ravenhide, a man with a mysterious past who teaches her the art of swordfighting, and introduces her to the beautiful runaway Isabella.

Yet Kemosha's greatest test yet is upon the deck of the Satisfaction: the notorious Captain Morgan's ship. His next adventure on the high seas could be the making of Kemosha - and her one chance to earn enough pieces of eight to buy the freedom of her brother...

Kemosha of the Caribbean Press Reviews

A vivid and powerful story centred around the struggles of a young enslaved woman who is determined to stand up for herself and fight for what is right, often in the face of danger and cruelty. Another tour de force by Alex Wheatle a truly gifted storyteller -- David Olusoga

Alex paints a vivid character in Kemosha, a stubborn and strong willed slave who refuses to accept defeat at every corner. It is a story about courage, determination, and never giving up... I was rooting for her from the first page to the very end  -- Kereen Getten

A thrilling, incredible story with a wonderful young Black woman at its heart, told by one of the most accomplished writers in the world today. Wheatle creates a heroine who is impossible not to love and who will stay in the reader's mind and heart long after finishing the book -- Sunny Singh

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781839131219
Publication date: 03/02/2022
Publisher: Andersen Press Ltd
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781839131219
Publication date: 3rd February 2022
Author: Alex Wheatle
Publisher: Andersen Press Ltd
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 320 pages
Suitable for: 13+ readers, YA readers
Genres: Adventure Stories, Historical Fiction
Recommendations: Star Books
Collections: 2022 Book Preview: Must Read Books To Look Forward To, 30 books to celebrate International Women's Day,

About Alex Wheatle

Alex Wheatle is the best-selling author of several books including the modern classic Brixton Rock, and the multi-award winning Crongton series. He was awarded an MBE for his services to literature in 2008, has been twice nominated for the Carnegie Medal, and has won numerous awards including Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize. He lives in London.

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