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Daniel by Richard Adams
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Daniel (2006)

by Richard Adams

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Hate to say it, since I'm such a fan of some of Richard Adams' work, but this is a mess of a book. The narrative voice doesn't work, the word choices often are just wrong, and there's not enough of a plot to keep things interesting. A disappointment. ( )
  JBD1 | Dec 30, 2014 |
The first half of this book—growing up as an American slave, making the crossing to England, becoming a free man, and getting entangled in the Slave Trade—is absorbing, and I was pleased to see that Adams can still write well, well into his 80s. The second half, dealing with Daniel's efforts with the British cause of Abolition, though interesting and informative, reads more like a textbook—an impressive accomplishment, given that it's all related in first-person by the title character. Had the second half been written in a more personal style, with more detail given beyond "I met with Mr. Clarkson, who introduced me to Mr. Wilberforce. Then I sailed with Mr. Zachary to Sierra Leone" etc., the book would have been much more enjoyable, not to mention far longer than its current meager 250 pages.

Another thing to note is the bizarre structure of the book: Part I is 40 pages long, Part II another 20 or so; the rest of the book is Part III, and there are no chapters, and very few section breaks. I notice that his previous book (The Outlandish Knight—which I have recently acquired, but not yet read) has a very similar structure. I'm not entirely sure how this affects the reader on a psychological level, but it seems an odd choice—especially in Daniel, where Part III has an abundance of natural plot breaks that would lend themselves very easily to subdivision into further Parts.

Recommended for Adams completists, or people interested in the history of slavery—but that's about it. ( )
  saltmanz | Jan 29, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Richard Adamsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Benwell, OwenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Juliet, with much love from Dad
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In the half-lit, foetid shack the new-born baby, slippery with blood and with part of caul adhering to its head, was received by grimy hands and laid down, wauling, among the rubbish on the earth floor — vegetable peelings, a rag damp with dirty water, a few crushed insects, an old, shredded blanket, and the entrails of a drawn fowl.
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A powerful, spellbinding tale from the author of Watership Down. It is the story of Daniel, a slave born in in 1759 in the US, brought to England where he eventually joins the campaign for the abolition of slavery.

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