Thursday, November 8, 2007

Voyage of Midnight

Being the true story of my, Phillip Arthur Higgins’, misfortunate childhood, and of my subsequent voyage from Africa with a cargo of slaves, of the frightful sufferings endured during that middle passage, and of what happened afterward
As told by Michelle Torrey

In 1818, 12-year-old orphan Phillip Higgins boards the ship Hope and sets off for his new life with his uncle in America. Only, his uncle isn’t there. Phillip is taken in by the kindly Mr. and Mrs. Gallagher, who treat him like the son they never had. For two years Phillip stays there, until one day, while walking along the wharf, Phillip sees his uncle, now captain of the Formidable. Using his knowledge of medicines gathered from working in the Gallagher’s apothecary shop, he signs on with his uncle as surgeon’s mate. Phillip is delighted to be reunited with his only living relation, but once aboard things begin to look a bit strange. It is not until they are well underway that the true nature of their voyage is revealed; the ship is headed for Africa, where “black gold” can be found. Convinced that they are doing the Africans a kindness by bringing them to God and civilization, Phillip goes along with his uncle’s moneymaking plans. He even receives his own personal slave, Pea Soup, from a rich slave trader. Soon though, the horrors of the slave trade come out, and Phillip must decide whose side he is on.
I expected Voyage of Midnight to be an easy-to-read classic-style adventure story, and that’s pretty much what I got. It’s a good introduction to the internal good versus bad battle, mixed with adventure which younger readers would probably enjoy more than I did. Phillip Higgins’ story is based on a true one, but it is not told in a particularly memorable way for elder readers.

My first book read and reviewed for the Seafaring Challenge (hosted by I Heart Paperbacks), making me a Midshipman. Read others
reviews at the Seafaring Tales Blog.

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