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Black Kestrel Adventure in Madeira

361 pages5 hours


Black Kestrel, Adventure in Madeira, set in 1890 on an Atlantic island is the story of a young man struggling to find himself. Jose Abreu hates the lord who dominates the land and people. When he is disobedient, he is ordered to work in the fields above his village, and he dreams of a free life. On his 16th birthday he will be drafted to serve for six years in the army of King Carlos and he refuses to serve. The church may be a way to escape. He goes to the priest Father Segundo seeking lessons to read and write like his sisters. The priest urges him to obey his landlord and his father. His father and brothers want him to settle down and be obedient. Jose wants to be free to live his life. He suffers from living on a manor held in fee, honor to the lord, and armed service. His family slaves on the land to pay the annual fee. The vineyard and sugar plantation produce poorly. The landlord demands his duty. His dominion forces the family into poverty. Jose leaves the land without permission and ordered to work in the quarry and from the steep height sees a yacht sailing toward the island. A stranger seeks refuge with the village shopkeeper Pistola. He gives Jose hope of a new life and freedom from the land. The island faces famine from crop failure. The village well becomes infected with cholera bacteria and sealed by the military.
He loves his sister Maria and she has an offer of marriage and will leave the family. She taunts him about Rosa Castagna, the girl who loves him.
The authority of the Church, the king’s militia and the land lord depress him. Where can he run? Who will help him? Can Pistola, the storekeeper, the Englishman Talbot, or Rosa Castagna his sweetheart? Will he remain enslaved? Must he leave his beloved island of Madeira?

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