A high wind in Jamaica
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The Bas-Thornton children are obliged to leave their idyllically carefree life in late nineteenth century Jamaica after a hurricane destroys the family home. Together with their Creole friends, the Fernandez children, they board a ship and set sail for school in England. The ship is captured by pirates. The children must now, at any cost, retain the goodwill of their captors in order to survive. They take to piratical life with remarkable coolness and matter-of-fact-ness and soon are perpetrating grim deeds of violence without turning a hair. One child stabs a bound captive to death and then pins the blame on others who are hanged. Ironic, unsentimental and often very funny, Hughes's fable examines the thought processes of children, so often alien to the adult mind with remarkable acuity. It is a classic novel of childhood which paved the way for later works, notably William Golding's Lord of the Flies.
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