(PRWEB) August 16, 2005
ÂThe slaves are to blame for their own despair,Â says the French captain in Matthew WarnerÂs short story about the 18th-century transatlantic slave trade. ÂI 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.Â
ÂMiddle PassageÂ 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 WarnerÂs story, ÂMiddle Passage,Â collects dozens of historical anecdotes about this period into a story now available as a free, downloadable .mp3 audio book from his website, http://www.matthewwarner.com.
ÂI was shocked at what I learned while researching the story,Â says Warner, who lives in Staunton, Virginia. ÂItÂs one of the few stories thatÂs actually scared me while writing it.Â
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, ÂThis tale of African slaves on an ill-fated voyage should be required reading in any course on that despicable institution.Â
This isnÂt 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 ChinaÂs 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.
ÂItÂs not my mission to push a political agenda on anybody,Â Warner says. ÂMy mission is to entertain. But I also believe that the best fiction teaches us how to deal with things weÂd normally find disturbing, whether theyÂre in our present or in our past.Â
ÂMiddle PassageÂ is also being published this month by Undaunted Press as the first story in WarnerÂs 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: http://www.horrorfindweekend.com.
# # #