Orphaned and plagued with the grief of losing everyone he loves, 15-year-old Abdul has made a long, fraught journey from his war-torn home in Baghdad, only to end up in The Jungle - a squalid, makeshift migrant community in Calais.
Desperate to escape, he takes a spot in a small, overloaded England-bound boat thats full of other illegal migrants - and a secret stash of heroin. A sudden skirmish leaves the boat stalled in the middle of the Channel, the pilot dead, and four young people remaining - Abdul; Rosalia, a Romani girl who has escaped from the white slave trade; Cheslav, gone AWOL from a Russian military school; and Jonah, the boat pilot's ten-year-old nephew. As they attempt to complete the frantic and hazardous Channel crossing their individual stories are revealed and their futures become increasingly uncertain.
No Safe Place is a novel of high adventure and heart-stopping suspense by a writer at the height of her powers.
Excerpted from Chapter One
Does it matter? Its more than youve got.
You dont know how much Ive 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 smugglers excuse was.
Ill owe you the rest, Abdul said. The smuggler scratched himself in places that werent supposed to be scratched in public. He exhaled cigarette smoke into Abduls face.
Dont like dirty Arabs.
Im Kurdish, Abdul said, then wanted to snatch the words back. Hed just played into the mans prejudice. Should he say that he was part Arab, his mothers family from Baghdad? Why bother.
Im sixteen, he said instead, lying just a little. &...
No Safe Place is my favorite kind of book: one that brings seemingly different characters together and shows that, lo and behold, they are not so different after all. One that illuminates the connections that the characters have, and that, ultimately, we all have.
(Reviewed by Tamara Smith).
Full Review (775 words).
Deborah Ellis has been all over the world. And she hasn't just visited places, she's done things. Big things. She went to Pakistan to help at an Afghan Refugee Camp; she went to Israel and the Ghaza Strip to talk with Israeli and Palestinian children; and she went to Malawi and Tanzania to spend time with children orphaned by AIDS. Deborah has written books that draw on each of these experiences - some fiction and some non-fiction - and at the heart of her work is her deep passion for peace and her unwavering support of children.
She says it best: "It has been a real privilege for me to sit with people in many parts of the world and learn how their lives have been drastically altered by war or disease, and how they try to ...
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