Monday 28 February 2011

Ice King by Geoff Woodland

Title: Ice King
Author: Geoff Woodland
Publisher: MDW Publishing
Published: July 2010
ISBN: 987-0980820102

Author's website:

Rating 5/5

 The cover on this is unusual, with a slightly eerie feel to it.  I like the font used on the front and inside for the title, it fits the book really well.

Liverpool in 1804 was the largest slave trading port in Great Britain.  Ice King shows the discontent, success, wealth and change which the slave trade brought, set against various backdrops from Boston to Cuba and back to Liverpool. 

The King family are in the shipping business, George King is close to downfall in his business and must decide what to do next - collapse or join in the profitable slave trade.  His son, William is totally against the idea, having experienced a Spanish slave trade boat on his travels.  The book tells of greed, turmoil, vindictiveness and the harsh reality of life aboard boats in the 1800s.  My favorite character is William.  He has solid principles based on facts, and isn't afraid to take his ideas and enterprise on them whilst acting against the slave trade. The tension between him and his father, and later on Charlotte is palpable.

I enjoy reading historical stories, this one was no exception.  It's woven really well, and had me turning the pages wanting to know what was going to happen next, all the way through - very engrossing.  The adventures that William has made for fantastic reading.  As a reader I was swept away into a world where women aren't meant to be the leaders and slaves are seen as the same as cattle.  Charlotte, the daughter of a rival boating family, seems pleasant enough at first - appearances aren't all they seem and eventually a poisonous family get what they deserve.

Ice King is a detailed book, packed with information on how life was likely to have been like on board, including insights into surgery and death on board.  It also shows what it must have been like for the family left behind.  Thoroughly enjoyable.

Book synopsis:
In 1804, Liverpool was the largest slave trading port in Great Britain, yet her influential traders felt threatened by the success, in Parliament, of the anti-slavery movement. Few, in Liverpool, condemned the 'Trade'. William King, son of a Liverpool trader, is sickened by what he experiences aboard a Spanish slaver, and dares to speak out against the Trade. This epic, set during the dying days of this despicable practice, has generational change, moral wickedness, greed, romance and the fortunes of war woven through the lives of a father and son caught up in the turmoil that preceded the implementation of the British Trade Act of 1807, which would end Britain's involvement in the slave trade. 

Source - won.

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