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Book Review: A Place Called Freedom by Ken Follett

Freedom is a prized value for a man. However, it was a rare gift for poor folks during the era of colonization. A man can be born as a slave but he can prefer to die as a free man. However, it was rarity. The story of Mack seems to be based on the similar lines. Mack and Esther are twins. They live in Huegh, a small village in Scotland. Their parents were slaves in a coal mine; they died of starvation when the coal mine shut down for some valid reasons. Mack and Esther are, too, slaves in a coal mine owned by Sir George Jammisson.

Mack wishes to be a free man–he knows writing and reading otherwise miners are illiterate. So, he writes to a lawyer in London and gets a letter that says as per the rule he should be set free on his twenty-first birthday. He reads the letter in open, in a church, and provokes the Sir George Jammisson. Mack is the troublemaker, so Jammissons torture him brutally. However, he is a man of steely determination.

One chilly night he swims across the river to run away, and when he's about to freeze in the bone-chilling water, he is being saved by Lizzie Hallim, the would-be daughter-in-law of the Jammisson family. Lizzie Hallim is a bold and adventurous lady, and Mack is both: fearless and handsome. For this reason, she has a natural inclination rather an infatuation towards him. However, she knows the social difference, thus keeps calm about her love-like desires. Moreover, she falls in love with Jay Jammisson instead of Robert Jammisson–which instigates the hostilities between two brothers.

Mack in London struggles hard to make a living but his dashing and fearless style puts him into a grave situation as he takes a stance against one of the prime coal undertakers, Sidney Lennox. Sidney Lennox influences Jay for framing Mack for riots and subsequently wants to get him killed through the hands of government by executing him in the public.

It is again Lizzie Hallim that saves him in the court. Next, he is transported to Virginia, a colony of British, in a ship owned by Jammissons. In the same ship Jay and his wife Lizzie Hallim are travelling. By the way of the slave auctioning, Mack is brought to work in a tobacco plantation, which accidentally is owned by Jay, and Sidney Lennox is the farm manager.

As the events unfold, it becomes clear that Jay is disloyal to his wife and the main reason behind his marriage to Lizzie Hallim is to occupy her estate High Glen for coal mining. Jay loses interest in her and when she gives birth to a stillborn baby the gap widens beyond the limits. At the same time, Mack and Lizzie develop a bond of love and plan to run away to some far-away mountains. Mack can do anything to have his freedom, and on the other hand, Lizzie Hallim can go to any extent to have herself indulged in true love. Mack really works hard to break the fetters of slavery.

Except the start and end, rest of the book seriously considers the political events from colonies that debilitate the powers. The book is staged around 1768–when Boston tea party upturned the business strategies of major powers like British. In the guise of slavery and heady romance the novel holds an historical significance. The book is so gorgeously written that it makes for a riveting read. 


  1. Thanks for sharing, been reading Ken Follet books since I was in my early teens.

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting. I love his war fiction novels most.


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