Unfortunately, this book's cover is not the most appealing. It's a bit of a mystery how the cover came to be, because the book has almost nothing to do with ships and piracy—it's a tiny, tiny part of the book. This is sad, because the cover will probably turn people off from reading this book that comes with starred reviews and is being talked about in a few circles (by those who've actually read it) for the Newbery Award.
This book felt like fantasy to me, but it's historical fiction. I kept having to remind myself of that. It is one of those rare books that is so good at subliminally parceling out historical information, you never feel dumped on, and yet you understand the book's setting completely. It is balanced in its portrayals of different faiths: Christian, Muslin, Jewish. Salah, the wise man of the book, is pretty much brilliant and his words of wisdom are quotes I'm thinking of hanging on my walls.
But the characters—ah, the characters! I loved them all. Every one. And I believed in them, I believed in them at the beginning and I believed in their growth at the end. I ached for them all in the best of ways.
This book ends with room for a sequel. A great deal of room. I pray Constance Leeds will create one. I want more of these characters. I want to know what happens.
There were a few slow moments if I could even call them that, but not many, and oh, the patience was so worth it.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did:
The Unfortunate Son by Constance Leeds
(I hesitate to even put a picture of the book here, but I must. Please do NOT judge this book by its cover)