Sara and her father, Hanno Harcar, flee Carthage in the face of an impending invasion by the Romans. Sara has already lost her beloved bother in battle and her mother to illness. Now she and Hanno, a wealthy merchant and Carthaginian senator, take everything they own and cast their fate into the turbulent Mediterranean, swarming with pirates and ever more Romans. With coolness and courage, Sara gradually overcomes her terror and becomes a plucky heroine. Hanno never quite recovers from the trauma of having his world uprooted, and Sara must deal with crew, weather, and enemies while making the decisions about where to sail and how to trade the merchandise that is their livelihood. Markus, a proud but honorable Roman patrician who is captured after a skirmish, and Sara eventually learn to trust each other, forming a bond that will prove fortuitous to the safety of all by story’s end. While nautical terms and mercantile details clutter the narrative at times, this is still a welcome, seaworthy historical adventure in an atypical setting. Grades 6-9. --Anne O'Malley
About the Author
L.S. Lawrence was born in London in 1953 and emigrated to Australia in 1977, having gained a degree in History from University College . He taught in Australian secondary schools and in two universities for many years, obtaining a master's degree in the process. He is now semi-retired and has returned to his first love, historical fiction set in the ancient world. Escape by Sea is his second novel, after Eagle of the East (Omnibus Books, 2007). Lawrence has a passionate interest in history, and his fiction is based on the bones of real stories. Detailed, descriptive, poetic, filled with action, his books transport his readers into another world and another place, an ancient world peopled with strong and charismatic characters.