The Freedom Thief (Paperback)
Shortly before the Civil War exploded in the South, thirteen year-old Ben McKenna was fighting his own war against slavery, on the hemp plantation in Kentucky where he lives. His best friend, a crippled slave boy, Josiah, was about to be sold by Ben's father, and Ben decided to stop that sale by planning an escape for Josiah and his slave parents. When the buyer for Josiah arrived early, Ben realized the escape had to take place that very night. Without any kind of plan, or even a map, Ben and Josiah and his parents, Bess and Jesse, embarked upon a journey to find the Ohio River and the freedom that lay beyond for slaves. Instead, of help along the way they found hostility, danger, and deception, in a quest that almost cost their lives. Plagued with fear, hunger and exhaustion, they are on the run from slave hunters and their dogs -- dogs that followed their scent no matter what they did to disguise it. Hidden barns, tiny attic rooms, cellars full of rotting fruit and vegetables were their only means of safety. After each brief stay they had to leave and run again. Treachery seemed to be the name of the game, and Ben was never sure if they were ever going to find the safety and freedom of the Ohio River.