Transatlantic Slave Trade Dramatized in Free Audio Book

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Author Matthew Warner has released a free audio book of himself reading "Middle Passage," a short story dramatizing conditions aboard an 18th-century slave ship bringing Africans to the New World. ItÂ?s available as a downloadable .mp3 at

“The slaves are to blame for their own despair,” says the French captain in Matthew Warner’s short story about the 18th-century transatlantic slave trade. “I make my efforts, get them to eat, and do they respond with willpower? Gratitude? No. They turn Middle Passage into a living and dying hell.”

“Middle Passage” was the term used to describe the transportation of over 10 million slaves from Africa to the West Indies and Americas between the 15th and 18th centuries. Author Matthew Warner’s story, “Middle Passage,” collects dozens of historical anecdotes about this period into a story now available as a free, downloadable .mp3 audio book from his website,

“I was shocked at what I learned while researching the story,” says Warner, who lives in Staunton, Virginia. “It’s one of the few stories that’s actually scared me while writing it.”

As the story shows, enslaved Africans were claustrophobically stacked like cordwood belowdecks by captains wishing to maximize profits. Suffering from dehydration and disease, the slaves often attempted suicide by refusing to eat and by jumping overboard into shark-infested waters. When Cemetery Dance magazine reviewed the story in 2002, it said, “This tale of African slaves on an ill-fated voyage should be required reading in any course on that despicable institution.”

This isn’t the first story by Warner that has tackled a tough subject. His debut novel, THE ORGAN DONOR, released by Canadian publisher Double Dragon Press as an e-book and paperback, illuminated the Peoples Republic of China’s practice of selling the organs of its executed prisoners. His forthcoming hardback novel, EYES EVERYWHERE, from Raw Dog Screaming Press, is a psychological suspense thriller about paranoid schizophrenia.

“It’s not my mission to push a political agenda on anybody,” Warner says. “My mission is to entertain. But I also believe that the best fiction teaches us how to deal with things we’d normally find disturbing, whether they’re in our present or in our past.”

“Middle Passage” is also being published this month by Undaunted Press as the first story in Warner’s limited-edition softcover collection, DEATH SENTENCES.

Matthew Warner will be a special guest at the Horrorfind Weekend convention in Hunt Valley, Maryland, from August 19-21. More information:

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