Reviews for Escape by Sea

Booklist Reviews 2009 April #2
Sara and her father, Hanno Harcar, flee Carthage in the face of an impending invasion by the Romans. Sara has already lost her beloved bother in battle and her mother to illness. Now she and Hanno, a wealthy merchant and Carthaginian senator, take everything they own and cast their fate into the turbulent Mediterranean, swarming with pirates and ever more Romans. With coolness and courage, Sara gradually overcomes her terror and becomes a plucky heroine. Hanno never quite recovers from the trauma of having his world uprooted, and Sara must deal with crew, weather, and enemies while making the decisions about where to sail and how to trade the merchandise that is their livelihood. Markus, a proud but honorable Roman patrician who is captured after a skirmish, and Sara eventually learn to trust each other, forming a bond that will prove fortuitous to the safety of all by story's end. While nautical terms and mercantile details clutter the narrative at times, this is still a welcome, seaworthy historical adventure in an atypical setting. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2009 Fall
The Roman Empire's insatiable appetite for expansion changes the life of a Carthaginian girl. After one terrible day, Sara finds herself enduring a dangerous sea voyage that calls upon her untapped courage and leads, perhaps, to romance. Lawrence doesn't fully succeed in transporting contemporary readers to this particular time and place, but the ancient history details are nonetheless intriguing. Glos. Copyright 2009 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2009 March #2
The sheltered daughter of a wealthy merchant flees Roman forces and strikes out on her own in this invigorating historical adventure. Sara bih-Hanno and her father, a senator in the ancient Tunisian city of Carthage, have mere moments to absorb the news of her brother's battlefield death before they must quit their home and the city via the Heron, a cargo ship. Skirmishing with other vessels, they gain several additions to their party, including a Roman soldier they take prisoner, who both intrigues and frustrates Sara. Lawrence imbues Sara's first-person narration with intelligence and her character with a wry stubbornness, realistically portraying her fear and accompanying resolve to plow through it. Especially well imagined is the metacognition she possesses about her manipulation of the men to whom she must entrust her fate. A map and a glossary of nautical terms assist, though don't completely succeed, in making sense of the at-times laboriously detailed combat scenes. Although the end is abrupt, it will also give readers cause to hope for a sequel. (Historical fiction. 12 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews 2009 June

Gr 8 Up--Set at the end of the Second Punic War, this exciting tale opens in Carthage when Sara, the daughter of a local senator and sea trader, hears the devastating news that her brother, a soldier, is dead, and that the Romans are coming. Grabbing only essential supplies, she and her father flee the city on one of the family ships, just back from a trading expedition. Sara, a feisty, clever, but proper Carthaginian young woman, shakes her father from his grief-induced lassitude and does what is necessary for their survival. As the voyage progresses, they take onboard an injured Roman soldier suitable for ransom, deal with a deceitful business contact, and join a Roman ship to defeat pirates. When Sara's father dies, she must find a way to chart her own course in a male-dominated world. Though Sara seems to adjust a bit quickly to her losses, she is well-rounded and complicated. While most of the other characters have fewer dimensions to them, they are believable. What is most engaging is Lawrence's ability to re-create the ancient Mediterranean world--the care of the wounded, shipboard life, the complicated trade that existed between cities--and to explore situations true to the historical period. A grand sea adventure and coming-of-age story.--Barbara Scotto, Children's Literature New England, Brookline, MA

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