Kemosha of the Caribbean

Alex Wheatle

Shortlisted for the YA Book Prize 2023
Library Junior Guild Gold Standard Selection in the USA and Canada

Kemosha of the Carribean

In this swashbuckling new adventure, fifteen-year-old Kemosha and her eleven-year-old brother have lived their young lives in slavery. Sold away to work in lawless Port Royal, Jamaica, Kemosha takes her chance to escape brutal treatment. With fortune on her side, Kemosha befriends Ravenhide, a man with a mysterious past who teaches her the art of swordfighting, and introduces her to the beautiful runaway Isabella.

Yet Kemosha’s greatest test yet is upon the deck of the Satisfaction: the notorious Captain Morgan’s ship. His next adventure on the high seas could be the making of Kemosha – and her one chance to free her brother…

Kemosha of the Caribbean is a thrilling pirate adventure with a thought-provoking message about violence and a brilliant heroine.

‘Alex paints a vivid character in Kemosha, a stubborn and strong willed slave who refuses to accept defeat at every corner. It is a story about courage, determination, and never giving up even when the stakes are constantly against you. Even when there is no way out.
Kemosha never accepts defeat, she has the strength of a lion and I was rooting for her from the first page to the very end.

I saw her stubbornness as strength, and her short temper as courage. Such is Alex’s talent that I am left wondering where is Kemosha now, I hope she is doing okay.
Can’t wait to read this again.’ Kereen Getten, author of When Life Gives you Mangoes

‘Wheatle weaves an authentic, heartening tale that explores the bonds between family, the heartache that comes when such bonds are forcibly cleaved, and the lengths siblings are willing to go in order to save each other. Well written and full of thrills, this cross between Margarita Engle’s Hurricane Dancers and L.A. Meyer’s Bloody Jack Adventures series will inspire hope and spark admiration.’ Booklist

‘A thrilling, incredible story with a wonderful young Black woman at its heart, told by one of the most accomplished writers in the world today. Wheatle creates a heroine who is impossible not to love and who will stay in the reader’s mind and heart long after finishing the book.’ Sunny Singh, author, professor

‘A vivid and powerful story centred around the struggles of a young enslaved woman who is determined to stand up for herself and fight for what is right, often in the face of danger and cruelty. Another tour de force by Alex Wheatle a truly gifted storyteller.’ David Olusoga

‘Also challenging stereotypical depictions of enslaved people in fiction is Alex Wheatle’s KEMOSHA OF THE CARIBBEAN, which puts a young black girl centre stage in a thrilling high seas adventure set in 1660s Jamaica. Born into slavery and sold to work in the colonial outpost of Port Royal, Kemosha escapes aboard the ship of the notorious pirate Captain Morgan, eager to earn enough to buy her brother’s freedom. Kemosha’s indomitable spirit, determination and wit make for an unforgettable heroine.’ Book of the Month, The Observer

Kemosha of the Caribbean is easily the best pirate tale I have ever encountered. If that seems a bold statement, its boldness pales in comparison to Kemosha’s enduring bravery and steadfastness.The Plot Thickens (Black Girls Create)

‘A stunning historical adventure that upends stereotypes.’ The Times


  • Andersen Press UK
  • Akashic USA
  • WF Howes audio

Material: finished copies, pdf (310pp) (publication Feb 2022)