Title: The Kingdom on the Waves
Author: M.T. Anderson
First published October 14, 2008
592 pages, Hardcover
ISBN: 9780763629502 (ISBN10: 0763629502)
“The Kingdom on the Waves” by M.T. Anderson is a literary masterpiece that delves deep into history, weaving together a tapestry of complex emotions and experiences. Octavian and Dr. Trefusis flee their home, seeking refuge from a death sentence, and find themselves stranded in British-occupied Boston.
With everything he once knew left behind, Octavian seeks safety in a world of uncertainty. But as the Revolutionary War rages on, he finds himself caught up in the conflict, with Lord Dunmore’s proclamation offering a tantalizing vision of freedom that he can’t resist.
M.T. Anderson’s second volume in this series is a gripping tale of courage, loss and hope, culminating in a climax that will leave you breathless. With a unique perspective on our national origins, “The Kingdom on the Waves” is an extraordinary work of fiction that will challenge and inspire readers of all ages.
About the Author
Anderson is an accomplished author who has written a variety of books for young readers. He has created picture books that are beloved by children, including Handel Who Knew What He Liked, Strange Mr. Satie, The Serpent Came to Gloucester, and Me, All Alone, at the End of the World.
Anderson has also written several young adult books that have become popular, including Feed, The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, and Symphony for the City of the Dead. His talent for writing extends to middle grade novels as well, with books like The Pals in Peril series and its sequel, The Clue of the Linoleum Lederhosen.
Anderson currently resides in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The Kingdom on the Waves by M.T. Anderson is a captivating and thought-provoking novel that explores themes of identity, power, and oppression through a gripping historical fantasy narrative. Anderson is a critically acclaimed author of young adult and children’s literature, known for his vivid imagination and ability to craft complex and nuanced characters.
Set in a fictionalized version of America during the 19th century, The Kingdom on the Waves follows the adventures of a young African slave named Jacky, who escapes from her brutal plantation and sets sail on a dangerous quest for freedom and justice. Along the way, Jacky encounters a colorful cast of characters, including a band of rebel pirates, a mystical mermaid, and a cunning politician who seeks to use her for his own gain.
The novel is richly detailed and atmospheric, immersing readers in a vividly realized world of ships, storms, and sea monsters. Anderson’s prose is lyrical and evocative, conjuring up both the beauty and the terror of the ocean.
The characters are equally compelling, with Jacky standing out as a fierce and resilient protagonist whose journey is both tragic and inspiring.
At its core, The Kingdom on the Waves is a story about the struggle for freedom and self-determination in the face of overwhelming odds. Anderson deftly explores the complex dynamics of power and privilege that underlie American society, particularly with regard to race and class.
The novel is not afraid to tackle difficult and uncomfortable topics, such as slavery, racism, and colonialism, and it does so with sensitivity and nuance.
However, the novel is not without its flaws. At times, the pacing can be uneven, with certain scenes feeling rushed or underdeveloped.
Additionally, some of the secondary characters feel underutilized, with their motivations and backstories remaining unclear.
Despite these shortcomings, The Kingdom on the Waves is a compelling and thought-provoking work of historical fantasy that is sure to resonate with readers of all ages. It is a testament to Anderson’s skill as a writer that he is able to tackle such weighty themes with such grace and beauty.
This is a book that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page.
Overall, I would highly recommend The Kingdom on the Waves to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, fantasy, or young adult literature. It is a powerful and engaging read that offers both entertainment and enlightenment.
On a scale of 1-10, I would give it a solid 8, based on its strengths in character development, themes, and writing quality.