Excerpt from No Safe Place by Deborah Ellis, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

No Safe Place

By Deborah Ellis

No Safe Place
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Aug 2010,
    224 pages.
    Paperback: Sep 2011,
    208 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Tamara Smith

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Excerpted from Chapter One

“How much?”

“Does it matter? It’s more than you’ve got.”

“You don’t know how much I’ve got.”

“I can smell you. Your stink tells the whole story.”

Abdul clenched his toes inside his torn sneakers. It helped him control his temper.

At least my stink is honest, he thought, from months of hard travel and living rough. He wondered what the smuggler’s excuse was.

“I’ll owe you the rest,” Abdul said. The smuggler scratched himself in places that weren’t supposed to be scratched in public. He exhaled cigarette smoke into Abdul’s face.

“Don’t like dirty Arabs.”

“I’m Kurdish,” Abdul said, then wanted to snatch the words back. He’d just played into the man’s prejudice. Should he say that he was part Arab, his mother’s family from Baghdad? Why bother.

“I’m sixteen,” he said instead, lying just a little. “I’m strong. I’ll find work in England and pay you what I owe you.” He spoke in English, which was better than his French. He knew the smuggler knew both.

“You’ll work. You’ll pay. You’ll do as you’re told.”

My grandmother carried a gun in the mountains fighting for a Kurdish homeland, Abdul thought, and here I am in a back alley of Calais, negotiating with a fool.

“Just tell me how much,” he said. “I’m too tired for games.”

The smuggler spat on the ground, then held out his slab of a hand, wiggling his fingers.

Abdul dug down into his right front trouser pocket, the one with the pouch sewn inside it. He took out a roll of British pounds that had, until recently, been wrapped in plastic and shoved up his rectum. Not even that place was secure. He’d come across bodies with the bellies sliced open.

He took off the elastic band and put the bills in the smuggler’s hand.

“Count it,” Abdul said, “and give me a receipt.”

The smuggler sneered and made Abdul’s money disappear into his own pocket. He was a big man. He used to be muscled but had gone to flab, every meal he’d eaten attaching itself to his belly and his arms.

“You want a receipt, you little Kurd-turd? Ask the CRS. Get your receipt from them. And when you’re finished, meet me tonight, two o’clock, where the campers park, back of the Au Côte d’Argent hotel. Do you know the place?” Abdul knew it. It was by the pedestrian pier, where tourists stood to watch the ferries passing.

“Don’t be late. I’d be happy to leave without you.” The smuggler started to walk away. “You’ll be eating lousy English food for breakfast.”

Abdul was thin from too many months of being on the road, but strong from too many fights with other migrants. He flung himself at the smuggler’s back, wrapping his arm so tightly around the bigger man’s throat that the smuggler began to die, right there on his feet.

“Count it and give me a receipt,” Abdul said. The smuggler tried to shake him off, but his bloated body didn’t function well without oxygen. He reached into his pocket and threw the wad of pound notes to the ground. Abdul released him and went after his money.

The smuggler’s boot smashed into Abdul’s head, sending him spinning into the gutter.

“Keep your money, Kurd-turd,” he said as he stomped away. “I don’t want you on my boat.”

For a moment Abdul was too stunned to move. The kick, then his skull crashing into the curb put his brain on temporary lockdown. But he could feel his fingers, curled tightly around his money.

  • 1
  • 2

Excerpted from No Safe Place by Deborah Ellis. Copyright © 2010 by Deborah Ellis. Excerpted by permission of Groundwood Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Deborah Ellis

Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Mrs. Hemingway
    by Naomi Wood
    Naomi Wood's latest novel, Mrs. Hemingway, is a fictionalized biography covering in turn writer...
  • Book Jacket
    The Stranger on the Train
    by Abbie Taylor
    The opening chapter of Abbie Taylor's debut novel, The Stranger on the Train, took me right back to ...
  • Book Jacket
    Night Film
    by Marisha Pessl
    One of the central tenets of Hinduism states that the world as we know it is just an illusion –...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The City
by Dean Koontz

Published Jul. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  66Tomlinson Hill:
    Chris Tomlinson

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.