Cane Warriors

Alex Wheatle

Shortlisted for the young adult book prize Carnegie Medal 2022, and winner of The Young Quills Historical Fiction Award 2021, multi-award winning author, Alex Wheatle, writes an astonishing tale of the struggle of 18th century slaves on sugar plantations, and the true story of a Caribbean uprising. 

The only life that 14-year old Moa has ever known is toiling as a slave on the frontier sugar-cane plantation, fearing the vicious whips of the overseers. One night, he learns of an uprising led by the charismatic, Tacky. Moa, with his friends, are to become “Cane Warriors” fighting for the freedom of all the enslaved people in the nearby plantations. To do this, Moa has to kill. 

Written largely in a colloquial voice, this is a powerful and compelling young adult novel. It demands a degree of persistence to follow the dialogue at times but it is a remarkable story, followed by an afterword which introduces some of the background to this disturbing and little-known part of history.

Published by Anderson Digital

Reviewed by Rachel Bolton