- Age Range: 10 and up
- Grade Level: 5 and up
- Lexile Measure: 640L (What's this?)
- Hardcover: 195 pages
- Publisher: Holiday House (March 1, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0823422178
- ISBN-13: 978-0823422173
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 6.5 x 0.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,584,959 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Escape by Sea Hardcover – March 1, 2009
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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.
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Sara is a compelling character. Although raised in wealth and privilege, she has many survival skills, not the least of which is her ability to make sound decisions after her father is killed. The role of women may be tightly limited in her time and place, but the now-orphaned teenage girl quickly earns the loyalty of several men around her and takes charge of her own life.
Vivid details of everyday life, of the merchant trade, and especially of sea travel create a convincing world and bring the distant past into clear focus. As her ship crosses and recrosses the ancient Mediterranean, plot takes a back seat to characterizations and gripping action. The conclusion comes a bit too abruptly to be completely satisfying, but it leaves open possibilities for the reader's imagination to explore.
(PS. The cover is so neat!)
Genre: Historical fiction, ancient
Age Group:YA, ages 12+
Their narrow escape from Carthage proved to be just the first of a series of adventures that involved sailing through a raging storm, evading the overwhelming Roman navy, fighting ruthless pirates, and bargaining with shrewd merchants. Throughout these struggles, Sara drew upon her impressive skills in medicine and negotiation at a time when women had virtually no rights.
This novel, with its setting in the Mediterranean Sea of ancient times, draws extensively on incentives associated with merchant trade to motivate the plot. Haggling over prices, sailing particular courses depending on supply and demand, and trying to predict changes in the prices of key commodities are all activities involved in Sara's escape by sea. Readers seeking an exciting read with substantive content and strong characters will not be disappointed.