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In the summer of 1716, a Cornish cabin boy named Thomas Pellow and 51 of his comrades were captured at sea by the Barbary corsairs. Their captor – Capt Ali Hakem and his network of fanatical Islamic slave traders had declared war on the whole of Christendom. France, Spain and Italy had been hit in repeated raids. England’s coastal villages had also suffered a series of devastating attacks. Thousands of Europeans had been snatched from their homes and taken in chains to the great slave markets of Algiers, Tunis and Sale in Morocco. Poked, prodded and put through their paces, they were sold at auction to the highest bidder.

Pellow and his fellow ship-mates by bought by the tyrannical sultan of Morocco, Moulay Ismail who bragged that his white slaves enabled him to hold all of Europe to ransom. The sultan was constructing an imperial pleasure palace of such scale and grandeur that it would surpass every other building in the world, built entirely by Christian slave labour. Thomas Pellow was resilient, resourceful and quick thinking and was selected by Moulay Ismail for special treatment. As personal slave to the sultan, he would witness first-hand the barbaric splendour of the imperial Moroccan Court, as well as experience daily terror for twenty-three years, he would dream of his home, his family and freedom. He was one of the fortunate few who survived to tell his tale.

Giles Milton author, Hodder & Stoughton 2004, 316pp, h/c, dj with plastic cover, b/w photos/facsimiles. Ex library issue in reasonably clean and tidy condition.

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  • Seller location: Rotorua, Bay of Plenty, NZ

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