Timing is everything. In the summer of 1874, sixteen-year-old Salima wishes desperately to escape her mundane life on the Nile. As the world flocks to Egypt for the construction of the Suez Canal, the great waterway which will join East and West, Salima emerges into a world swirling with powerful imperial forces. Against all odds, Salima and her friends Emilie and Mikal (and Salima's beloved collie, Fadil) stand against the empires who seek to colonize Egypt.
By a twist of fate, Salima and her new friend Emile are recruited to help the Dutch, and are drawn into a shadowy world surrounding the Suez Canal construction. As she circulates through Cairo and the lands beyond, Salima discovers that her people have been enslaved to dig the canal, working without food, pay or respite. She demands fair treatment, lobbying for decent wages and safe working conditions-an unexpected heroine to the people of Egypt.
A second, more nefarious plot comes to light when it's revealed that the project's European financiers have swindled the Egyptians, and unless the terms can be changed, France and Britain will own Egypt's jewel, and likely her people as well.
Salima and Emilie travel south, to the Valley of Kings, to outsmart the assassins who stalk them. They encounter Khalid, the young rebel leader of the desert tribes. Growing love interests among the band of teen companions threatens to tear them apart, until a mysterious stranger helps them bring the past alive in order to save Egypt's future.
Tom Durwood draws on his background as an educator in literature to both educate and entertain readers in his newest historical fiction, The Illustrated Boatman's Daughter. Deftly presenting important literary themes like imperialism through the lens of a strong female protagonist, Durwood provides a dose of history for lovers of mystery and thrillers. The Illustrated Boatman's Daughter is an old-fashioned epic adventure story complete with swashbuckling fights, treachery and assassins. Readers will find revenge and heartbreak, anguish and love, secret identities, brave deeds in the face of overwhelming odds-and a new perspective on one of history's great tales.
Readers are also rewarded with a wealth of original illustrations by rising artists Serena Malyon, Niklas Frostgard, and Oliver Ryan. The story's dramatic visuals range from painterly portraits to storybook landscapes and moody cinematic action sequences.
"A true pleasure ... the richness of the layers of Tom's novel is compelling. The forty pieces of art complete the experience. The events of this adventure story progress fast. Confrontations take drastic turns. Salima is a heroine in the true sense. She is captivating."
-From the Foreword by Fatima Sharrafedine
"Compelling ... surprising ... strong characterization ... a powerful draw."
About the Author
Tom Durwood is a teacher, writer and editor with an interest in history. Tom most recently taught English Composition and Empire and Literature at Valley Forge Military College, where he won the Teacher of the Year Award five times. Tom has taught Public Speaking and Basic Communications as guest lecturer for the Naval Special Warfare Development Group at the Dam's Neck Annex of the Naval War College. Tom is editor of an online scholarly journal, The Journal of Empire Studies (www.empirestudies.org). Peter Suber, Berkman Fellow at Harvard University, an advocate of the open access movement, praises the journal as a new opportunity for overcoming access barriers to knowledge and research. Dr. Julian Fisher of Scholarly Exchange has also applauded Tom's efforts. Creating valuable academic content and then hiding it behind financial firewalls - the traditional scholarly publishing model - runs counter to the essence of scholarship, learning and sharing, according to Fisher. To see a journal such as the Journal of Empire Studies breaking that mold is exciting. Tom's newspaper column Shelter appeared in the North County Times for seven years. Tom earned a Masters in English Literature in San Diego, where he also served as Executive Director of San Diego Habitat for Humanity. Tom earned his undergraduate degree from Harvard, where he edited an undergraduate arts journal and studied with David McClelland (Roots of Consciousness).
Fatima Sharafeddine is a writer, translator, and editor of children's and young adult literature living in Beirut and Brussels. She has written and published over 120 books, many of which have been translated into various languages.