'This is a gripping account that’s exhaustively researched but wears its learning lightly, and proceeds along at a lively pace . . . proof if it was needed, that fact is often more interesting than fiction' ( Metro)
'Ekin is admirably surefooted as he finds his way through an impenetrable thicket of often contradictory sources and weaves his findings into an irresistibly readable narrative. Human interest is always well to the fore in a compelling book which also reminds us of the inexhaustible capacity of history to spring surprises.' ( Scotsman)
'a harrowing tale that sheds light on the little-known trade in white slaves ... a fascinating exploration of a forgotten chapter of British and European history' ( BBC History Magazine)
'Wonderfully interesting . . . A labour of love is how the author describes it, and after 350 easily read pages, it’s well worth the journey' ( Irish Examiner)
'An enthralling read, not simply for the story of the raid itself, which Ekin recreates with bloodcurdling vividness, but for the parallels the author draws with the current geo-political situation' ( Irish Times)
'one of the most compelling reads of the last decade' ( Sunday World (Eire))
In June 1631 pirates from Algiers and armed troops of the Turkish Ottoman Empire, led by the notorious pirate captain Morat Rais, stormed ashore at the little harbour village of Baltimore in West Cork. They captured almost all the villagers and bore them away to a life of slavery in North Africa. The prisoners were destined for a variety of fates -- some would live out their days chained to the oars as galley slaves, while others would spend long years in the scented seclusion of the harem or within the walls of the Sultan's palace. The old city of Algiers, with its narrow streets, intense heat and lively trade, was a melting pot where the villagers would join slaves and freemen of many nationalities. Only two of them ever saw Ireland again.
The Sack of Baltimore was the most devastating invasion ever mounted by Islamist forces on Ireland or England. Des Ekin's exhaustive research illuminates the political intrigues that ensured the captives were left to their fate, and provides a vivid insight into the kind of life that would have awaited the slaves amid the souks and seraglios of old Algiers.
The Stolen Village is a fascinating tale of international piracy and culture clash nearly 400 years ago and is the first book to cover this relatively unknown and under-researched incident in Irish history.
Shortlisted for the Argosy Irish Nonfiction Book of the Year Award
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