The Unfortunate Son

The Unfortunate Son

Book - 2012
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Luc, a youth born with one ear and raised by a drunken father in fifteenth-century France, finds a better home with fisherman Pons, his sister Mattie, and their ward Beatrice, the daughter of a disgraced knight, and even after being kidnapped and sold into slavery in Africa, he remains remarkably fortunate.
Publisher: New York : Viking, 2012.
ISBN: 9780670013982
Branch Call Number: LEEDS
Characteristics: 302 p. : map ; 22 cm.


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BPLNextBestKids Dec 21, 2012

Luc is not well treated by his father who regards him as a freak since he only has one ear. Eventually Luc decides he has taken enough abuse and he leaves to go and live with a fisherman, Pons, his sister, Mattie, and their beautiful ward, Beatrice. Luc will learn to fish and at first everything goes well but one day Pons and Luc go out too far and are attacked by pirates. Pons is left for dead but Luc is kidnapped. After a long journey they arrive in North Africa and Luc is sold as a slave. What seems a disaster at first turns into a wonderful opportunity that Luc comes to appreciate. This is a marvellous adventure story that will enthral the reader. Highly recommended! Reviewed by BPL volunteer EE.

m2 Nov 26, 2012

A well written and interesting historical fiction piece about the relations between Muslims and Christians in 16th Century France. The main characters have nuance and depth. Deals with family, loyalty and freedom, all great themes for Upper Elementary/Middle School.

_hollister_ Jul 17, 2012

this book was alright, a bit boring at times. i wonder if there is a sequel though, the book seems like there is more of a story to be told.


Utterly satisfying (though the cover does it no favors). Leeds has penned a kind of historical conspiracy novel for kids that reads beautifully. I loved the characters, the setting, and the tricky subject matter. I also loved that Luc's master is a three-dimensional character, neither a kindly saint nor an evil stereotype. Religion (Christianity vs. Islam) is handled delicately here and with great skill.

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What is luck and where do you find it? Luc has always seen himself as incredibly unlucky. Born with only one ear he's happy to escape his cruel father when the chance to apprentice to a local fisherman presents itself, Luc finally feels like his luck has changed. Living with the fisherman's family Luc comes to love the man's sister Mattie and the beautiful Beatrice, a noble girl brought down in the world. Unfortunately his happy time is cut short when raiders kidnap him and sell him to an Arabic nobleman in Tunisia. As Beatrice tries to help Luc, and discovers his true past in the process, Luc never gives up on hoping for his freedom, even as he trains as a surgeon and learns to read with his new master's help.


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