The Boy in a Turban

(7 customer reviews)


  • Author Name: Joseph Hucknall
  • Publication Date: 28/05/2018
  • Format: Paperback

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SKU: 9781912362660 Categories: , , Tags: , ,


It is 1735 at the height of the slave trade and a young slave is taken from a plantation in Jamaica and sold to an English sea captain, who wants a black servant for his two daughters, in the spirit of the fashion of England’s Georgian society. After an eventful and perilous Atlantic crossing, during which passengers and crew become fatefully entangled, the boy who was Quaccoe, is immersed in a new life in London as James. He discovers he has a musical talent and, now a young man, is acclaimed by society and introduced to Prince Frederick, heir to the throne, Prince George, the future King George 3rd, Lord and Lady Burlington, William Hogarth, Handel and other historical figures.

His life and the lives of the captain and his daughters continue to be entwined with those of the ship’s passengers, both tragically and emotionally. The dramatic events of his life, described within 18th century London, include a kidnapping, a revenge killing, a runaway slave girl, a street burglary and a murder, interwoven with historical events and famous figures of the time. During the fifteen years the story covers, the boy in the turban becomes a music tutor at the Court of Prince Frederick and a celebrity on the London music scene and finally falls in love with and marries the illegitimate daughter of one of his benefactors, William Kent, architect and landscape artist.

Author Joseph Hucknall was born in Cumbria in 1929 where he had a liberal education and wrote his first book at the age of 15. Conscripted into the army at age 18 after which he studied Business Administration at Manchester University, followed by a successful business career until 1985. Since then, Joseph has travelled extensively and has contributed to prose and poetry collections including Gazebo and A Boxful of Ideas – and published his autobiography, A Life’s Tales in 2013. For several years he has participated in a creative writing group tutored by Sheena Joughin, author and literary critic for the TLS, and has thoroughly researched the 18th century period on which this book is based. Joseph now lives in Ealing, London.

7 reviews for The Boy in a Turban

  1. Claudio Chediac

    This story transport us back at a time when it was considered „common sense“ to sell the lives of people to benefit the economy of chosen nations. It tells the story of Quaccoe, aka Smiley, aka James, brought to England by a slave trader at young age, he went to become a music virtuoso.
    The characters in these pages live and you’ll be left at a loss when the book ends, wanting to know more about each who takes part in the story. I certainly couldn’t put the book down and have to praise the proficiency of the writer, Mr. Hucknall. He weaves his fictional characters with people who actually lived and became known in the XVIII Century in a masterly way, to the point of successfully connecting even the illustration of the cover to its contents.
    Further telling would spoil readers who haven’t catch up with this magnificent writer and for my part I can only say that I’m looking forward to his next literature adventure and the good time I know I’ll spend reading them.
    Get „The Boy In A Turban“ and travel well – an absolute recommendation!

  2. Margaret Crick

    A remarkable and fascinating story, well told and researched. It kept me interested to the end. A most engaging read. And a delightful cover!

  3. Hanna Wysoki

    It’s a very interesting and well researched story. I learned a lot about life in the 18th century England. At the same time it’s a captivating reading, a real page turner. I wish the book was longer as I wonder what happened to the characters after the book ended. I hope for a sequel.

  4. Shahana Knight

    Loved reading this book so much that I got through it in no time! Great read.. highly recommend it!

  5. Michael Crick

    A splendid first novel – an extraordinary feat for someone of 89. A very easy read, & Joe has done a huge amount of fascinating research on the slave trade, and life in 18th century England.

  6. Jill Murphy

    A well researched and pacy novel covering the life of James, brought to Georgian London as a slave, and who has a great talent for music. A thoroughly enjoyable read, peopled with vivid characters, and you’ll get a spot of historical education along the way.

  7. Lea Marshall

    I really enjoyed this book. It is well written and the story is fascinating.

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