THE FREE TRADERS by F. F. Nicholls


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Can't we be just farmers?"" Tom asks his smuggler father. But the Sussex farmer says no, they need the profits to supply what his meager earnings won't provide. Tom thinks otherwise; first when he witnesses the accidental death of a young dragoon; again when he realizes the dragoon was twin sister Mary's secret beau, finally when his Latin instructor -- who suspended him from school -- asks for his help in breaking up the ring. Then his own mother begs, and Tom knows he must betray his father. It isn't easy, but it is made more bearable by a ten-year sentence rather than the gallows assigned to his father's buddy. The barest suggestion of detail reveals life in the 1790's and Tom's decision is not couched in contemporary moralizing terms. A fast-paced after-dark adventure -- crime doesn't pay but kids will pay attention.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1968
Publisher: Scribners