Rebels of the Kasbah – Book One of the Red Hand Adventures
The Rebels of the Kasbah is a tale about the basic human needs of food and water, the will to survive and the strength and resiliency of friendships. Against all odds, four children, who have been kidnapped or sold into slavery, forge a life-saving alliance and a close friendship.
They are unlikely friends from four very different backgrounds. Tariq, an orphan from Tangier was rescued from the streets; Aseem was sold into slavery to settle a debt; Fez’s family was killed by the Caid army; and Margaret was kidnapped while on a family vacation. Their first ordeal is to survive their journey to the slave compound of the all-powerful, Caid. Their bond helps them endure being slaves of the Caid and strengthens the one thing they have in common, the will to live and get away from the harsh conditions of their captivity.
Set in 1912’s Morocco where the desert is shrouded by intrigue, greed, and the blowing sands of wars and misfortune; a harsh land , ruled by even crueler men who resort to beatings, torture and death to further their fortunes. The slaves only value is if they can monetarily advance the Caid or increase the Caid’s stature over friends and enemies, often by riding unpredictable and vicious camels in races across the desert. The jockey who comes in last is beaten or put to death.
The four friends, even at their young ages, have life experiences they use to survive, but just barely. They realize they won’t all survive if they don’t escape. As captives they are starved, beaten and bullied by the other slaves. Little by little they make a plan to escape. Not everyone in the slave community is bad; the young captives cultivate friends in the Caid and are also being sought by their friends in Morocco. The children know they must escape or risk certain death.
With the help of Malik, the leader of a rebel group vowing revenge on the Caid for murdering his family, three of the children manage to escape. They are glad to be gone, but their friend Aseem has been left behind in spite of having made a pact they would all get out of the slave community together. Someone must go back and rescue Aseem before he is killed. But their whereabouts are reported by a traitor in their midst and now their rescuers are also in peril. The story of the four children continues in Wrath of the Caid, Book Two of the Red Hand Aventures.
Rebels of the Kasbah, with its exotic locale and resourcefulness of the children, is an exciting read for young and old alike. Suspense and intrigue on every page make this book, although written for the middle grades, a story for all readers who like adventure. – Sue Cornfield