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Convicted of thievery and transported from England to America, Oliver Cromwell Pitts, shackled to his fellow prisoners, endures inedible food, filthy conditions, and deadly storms on his voyage across the Atlantic. But the hazardous shipboard journey is nothing compared to the peril that waits for him on the colonial shores. In Annapolis, Oliver's indentured servitude is purchased by the foul, miserly Fitzhugh, who may have murdered another servant. On Fitzhugh's isolated tobacco farm, Oliver's only companion is an enslaved boy named Bara. Oliver and Bara become fast friends with one powerful goal: to escape Fitzhugh. Oliver hopes he can find his sister, Charity, brought somewhere in the colonies on a different ship. Bara dreams of reaching a community of free black people in the cypress swamp who may help him gain his liberty.

About the Author


Avi has published more than sixty books. Among them is Crispin: The Cross of Lead, winner of the 2003 Newbery Medal. Other novels with nineteenth-century settings, like The Traitors' Gate -- his grand nod to the work of Charles Dickens -- are listed before the title page, and include the Newbery Honor Book, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. Avi and his family live in Denver, Colorado.

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