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"De Maria (The Cassandra Curse) writes an absorbing tale replete with Barbary pirates and concubines. In 1640, a badly injured woman washes ashore on the coast of England following an explosion at sea. Warda, the woman, has come a long way from the island of Malta where she was born, and her sickbed confession to a priest is a story of adventure, enslavement, and piracy. Disowned by her family, young Warda is raised by a Catholic priest who teaches her Latin and the healing arts and prepares her to live as an anchorite. But the landing of a pirate ship dashes that, and Warda is captured and sold into slavery in North Africa. Through changing circumstances and locales, she remains fiercely stubborn, balancing a refusal to concede to her circumstances with a ferocious desire to live at any moral cost. The author creates a memorable heroine and renders scenes set in unfamiliar places and times with only a few details and swift dialog. Varying viewpoints provide a fuller portrait of Warda, her aching soul, and her momentous choices. Catholic writer De Maria deserves a wide audience." (March, 2011)
— Publishers Weekly

"A soulful, beautifully written, and haunting novel."
Ron Hansen, NY Times Best-selling Author, Mariette in Ecstasy

"The hypnotic tale of an unforgettable girl who loses everything in the world but her courage -- and the unshakeable knowledge that with every new trial, her soul remains at stake. Set in the terrifying days of Barbary piracy, peopled by both savages and saints, this novel will rivet any reader ever to have felt the forces of evil and redemption. It is a meditation on guilt, innocence, and transcendence that will haunt the reader long after the book is done."
Mary Eberstadt, Author, The Loser Letters: A Comic Tale of Life, Death, and Atheism

"This is serious fiction with prose that is clean, strong, and worthy. We are drawn into a first-rate story-Corsairs, Barbary pirates, cruelty, slavery, shipwreck, suffering, and heroic sanctity. It has skillful character presentation and true craftsmanship in the narrative: dreams, memory, straight reporting, and confession. Above all, here is the Catholic Faith in all of its depth, radiance, and plenitude."
Thomas Howard, Author, Narnia and Beyond

More reviews will be added as they come in.