RATOON by Christopher Nicole

RATOON

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Christopher Nicole sets the kind of story that MGM used to describe as swashbuckling in the county of Demerara, part of British Guiana, during the 1823 East Coast Insurrection. John Dart grows up on the family plantation, ""Elisabeth"", very much the daughter of her hardworking, indomitable father. When father is killed in pursuit of a runaway slave, Jackey Reed, Joan's ineffectual brother inherits the plantation. Joan is driven off after an argument with her whiptoting sister-in-law, Madeleine. Just then the slave-master rebellion begins and both the girls are taken prisoners by Reed, now leading the insurrection. Madeleine is raped into a hateful frenzy. Joan Dart, in the isolating rage of the events, of war, submits rather happily to the handsome ratoon, her ex-slave Jackey Reed. She learns something of a lesson in brotherhood. Intermingled are conflicts among the revolutionaries (Christian teachings versus savage bloodletting), combat scenes, the temporary reversal of roles (""Now I is mistress of Elisabeth""). There's one very funny minor character named Jessie. Fair adventure. That's all.

Pub Date: Aug. 27th, 1962
Publisher: St Martin's Press