The wolves terrified him. Curzon scrambled down the ravine, thinking about the bodies that the beasts had dug from their graves after the battle at Freeman’s Farm. An escaped slave like him didn’t stand a chance if they’d caught his scent. Gunfire blasted into the glade. Musketballs peppered the trees, nearly ripping his ear. Curzon threw himself to the ground, hoping no British or rebel fire would strike him. When the smoke cleared, a young rebel was staring down the barrel of a British soldier. Curzon hurled a rock at the redcoat and struck him hard in his shoulder. Seizing his chance, the rebel fired. His enemy screamed as blood spurted over dead leaves.
The shaken rebel soon prepared to rejoin his comrades, and Curzon was off with him to the thick of the battle—fighting for the freedom of the men who had enslaved him.
Valley Forge. Curzon found himself serving in the army as a freeman, without papers to prove he wasn’t a slave. The cold of deep winter set in, freezing the feet of any soldier left without boots. Icy winds swept through the camp on nights too cold for pitching tents. All the barrels of salt pork spoiled. With nothing to eat but handfuls of flour, starvation chewed through the rebel army. Veteran soldiers poured muddy water and crushed grain over heated rocks to make scorched firecakes. Little choice for food remained, other than stealing pumpkins from surrounding farms.
Trapped in a world of hunger, freezing weather, and vicious assaults from his own comrades, Curzon missed his friend Isabel fiercely. She had been the one to free him from Bridewell Prison, rowing all night with bleeding hands to save his life. One cold day, Curzon’s former master rode into camp. When their eyes met, past and future caught in one life-changing moment. Freedom and slavery exchanged places. Curzon’s world was about to begin over again. Isabel was alive, but collared in iron, making another escape all but impossible.
Laurie Halse Anderson writes dramatic history that quickly captures your heart. She is a New York Times bestselling author. She’s won numerous awards and honors, including two National Book Award nominations, the Margaret A Awards Award, and the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents Award. Discover more about her at madwomanintheforest.com.