Sinopsis

The sixteen-year-old Catalina Solis is bound to the Caribbean island of Margarita to live with her husband Domingo Rodríguez, when the ship is being attacked by English pirates. To save herself, she jumps off board wearing the clothes of her brother who had been travelling with her. After two years on an isolated island, she’s rescued by the merchant Esteban Nevares. To escape her mentally impaired husband, she strickes a deal with Nevares to be the son he never had, Martín Nevares. Together they embark on an extraordinary adventure on the Chacona (Nevares’s ship) as traders in the ports of the Caribbean and as arms smugglers for the cimmarones (free slaves) living in Tierra Firme. Tierra Firme in Spain’s colonial times was the name given to Venezuela, the Isthmus of Panama and part of Colombia which was a province of New Granada.

Asensi’s novel is very entertaining and gives us a view on a part of history that we rarely read about. It offers insight into the society of the Spanish colonies a century after Columbus discovered the New World. How people lived and struggled to survive in a rough environment. In those days, the commercial administration was established in Sevilla.

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