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The kingdom on the waves
M.T. Anderson
Teen Fiction ANDERSO

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From Publishers' Weekly:

With an eye trained to the hypocrisies and conflicted loyalties of the American Revolution, Anderson resoundingly concludes the finely nuanced bildungsroman begun in his National Book Award-winning novel. Again comprised of Octavian's journals and a scattering of other documents, the book finds Octavian heading to Virginia in response to a proclamation made by Lord Dunmore, the colony's governor, who emancipates slaves in exchange for military service. Octavian's initial pride is short-lived, as he realizes that their liberation owes less to moral conviction than to political expediency. Disillusioned, facing other crises of conscience, Octavian's growth is apparent, if not always to himself: when he expresses doubt about having become any more a man, his mentor, Dr. Trefusis, assures him, "That is the great secret of men. We aim for manhood always and always fall short. But my boy, I have seen you at least reach half way." Made aware of freedom-fighters on both sides of the conflict (as well as heart-stopping acts of atrocity), readers who work through and embrace Anderson's use of historical parlance will be rewarded with a challenging perspective onAmerican history. Ages 14-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Anderson continues the Revolutionary War saga begun in the National Book Award-winning first volume, The Pox Party. This volume opens with the slave Octavian on the run with his former tutor, Dr. Trefusis. The two land in Boston and later flee the besieged city for Virginia, where Octavian joins Lord Dunmore's Ethiopian Regiment in the hopes of winning his freedom. In the regiment, a scourge of smallpox and lack of military readiness decimate the ranks. Why It Is a Best: Six starred reviews are not wrong; the author makes good on the promise of the first book. Octavian's chilling account of the death and deprivation around him and the pure injustice of his situation call into question the values on which our nation was founded. The ending, in particular, relies heavily on the reader's having read and remembered the first volume of the series, but more happens here. Why It Is for Us: Anderson's command of period language and mannerisms brings this time to life through the eyes of a completely unique yet almost archetypal character. Octavian began his journey as an intelligent young man and ends it as an enlightened and empowered (if no better off) one, writing his own story and place in history. The title says it all: astonishing.-Angelina Benedetti, King Cty. Lib. Syst., WA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Octavian Nothing
African American
Fled to Boston out of fear of a death sentence; has visions of liberty; travels to Virginia in the hopes of joining the counterrevolutionary forces in exchange for his freedom.

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