Official Review: Kidnapped by Columbus by Marc Wilson

Please use this forum to discuss historical fiction books. Common definitions define historical fiction as novels written at least 25-50 years after the book's setting.
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Re: Official Review: Kidnapped by Columbus by Marc Wilson

Post by Iam_imari » 09 Oct 2018, 02:46

I love history and enjoy reading on various events that occurred throughout the ages. However, I don’t think I will read this book. Even though this is a fictional novel, I know Columbus to not be the American hero many people have led him to be. He has lead mass genocide that affected millions of indigenous people that help start the Atlantic slave trade.

I personally prefer to read history backs that are based on facts, not fiction.

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Post by Akki1106 » 09 Oct 2018, 02:52

This book will be good choice for the history loving people .. people who love to read classic stories they can enjoy more ...and as a reader i can say that it's an interesting story...u can't leave it until you finished it..

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Post by Sunnyroyish » 09 Oct 2018, 02:54

I never knew there was any kidnapping related to Columbus. The name of the book surprises me. I would want to read it. Congrats on BOTD.
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Post by Rico Njoroge91 » 09 Oct 2018, 03:06

Thank you for the review. It has given me an insight on the book and the whole Kidnapping of the Tainos (Indians) of which they decided to accompany Colombus on his journey back. I find it ironic and quite interesting coming from that point in history to where we are now. The book may be fictional however I tend to believe that events such as what are described in the book have some deeper, hidden meaning or truth to them.

I love the plot of the story and sure seems like it would be worth reading and enjoying at the end of it all.

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Post by ohno » 09 Oct 2018, 03:17

I love the last part where you said "I began with the final Author's Note, and I'm going to end with the Prologue." Your review was almost like an advertisement of the book, it made me curious and now I wanna read it. It also seemed that you've read and understood the story well, your review says it all. Thank you

review of "Kidnapped by Columbus" by Marc Wilson.][/i]
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4 out of 4 stars
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To begin, not at the beginning, but at the end: in an Author's Note at the end of his book Kidnapped by Columbus, Marc Wilson states: “This book is fiction. The story is true.” That some up very neatly the very close ties this story has to actual historical events; Wilson outlines how many events and characters fit with the historical record, but also explains exactly where he has exercised some poetic licence. He amply justifies his use of the term 'kidnapped', with which some historians disagree, to describe the plight of a group of Taíno “Indians” who were taken back to Spain by Christopher Columbus when he returned from his first voyage of discovery.

The first person narrator of this extraordinary account is Guarocuya, one of the six Taínos that Columbus 'persuaded' to join him aboard La Niña. Columbus is an ambivalent figure: decent in many respects, and loyal to his friends, but not always kind to his mistress, and with a tendency to religious extremism, a gift for self-promotion and a strong desire to advance his social status.

Guarocuya recounts his adventures alongside his dear friend Rodrigo, a Spanish Jew, as they travel across Spain to the court of los reyes catolicos, the Catholic monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella. There is plenty of colour, mystery, tension and excitement in the tale and the tensions and dangers only increase when they reach court. Wilson shows how Queen Isabella, in particular, could be capable of great kindness as well as religious fanaticism. She not only acknowledges but also promotes the humanity of the “indians”, whilst others debate whether they are really just monkeys, not entitled to human status. The ugly irony of this, though, is that, because Isabella insists on recognition of their humanity, the Taínos are then expected to convert to Christianity, which brings them within the reach of the notorious Spanish Inquisition.

From that point onwards, it is clear that the main issue of the narrative is going to be whether, and for how long, Guarocuya and his friends, including Rodrigo and the mysterious Count of Messina, will be able to evade a horrific death at the hands of the cruel Torquemada and his fanatical team of torturers and murders.

I hesitated a long time over the rating of this book. If I could give this book three-and-a-half stars, I would. In literary terms it is perhaps just “a good read” - well-structured, and ably narrated; it has also been well-edited, with very few errors. The fictional characters could be seen as lacking complexity and depth, but they are consistent and not entirely one-dimensional. Guarocuya is an engaging narrator who tells his story simply and well. I occasionally found the simplicity grating, and sometimes the fictional embellishments stretched my credulity, but the pace of the story was sufficiently gripping to carry me through all that. Most importantly, and what tips the balance for me, is that this novel offers real insight into a very dark point in history and the kind of thinking that lay behind the terrible human tragedy that was to follow. For that reason, I give this book a rating of 4 out of 4 stars. and I recommend it to all fans of historical fiction and those with an interest in colonialism, human rights and religious freedom.

I began with the final Author's Note, and I'm going to end with the Prologue. Guarocuya explains that his story is being written in his old age, whilst he is in prison, awaiting execution after leading a “failed revolution” against Spain. This means that there is room for a sequel to this book. I dare to hope that Wilson chooses to write it, and I have the courage to read it. It will be grim: there were half a million Taínos before Columbus landed; by the time Guarocuya is committing his story to paper, most of them are dead. The road to genocide, it seems, can be at least partially paved with good intentions.

Kidnapped by Columbus

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Post by Julehart1 » 09 Oct 2018, 03:19

This book seems like it could be a worthwhile read. It’s not really my type of book or genre but it could be interesting to learn more about this particular historic event. Some things were changed though in the book so those parts are fiction. Intriguing for sure. Thanks for your review.

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Post by Samanthajayne12 » 09 Oct 2018, 03:23

I’m not a huge fan of this type of historical fiction. I think it’s very interesting that it’s a true story, but I’m not sure I would enjoy this. I think the cover could be a little more appealing as well!

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Post by Pammy57 » 09 Oct 2018, 03:35

Two sides to every story - what you get taught in school and what actually happened. I find history extremely interesting and thus, this is a book I would definitively read. Lots of new facts to learn about.

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Post by jaliper » 09 Oct 2018, 03:47

I might grasp a little bit of history by reading this book, which I'm currently in to right now. Thank you for this informative review!

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