Hostage: A Year at Gunpoint with Somali Pirates

Paul Chandler, Author, Rachel Chandler, Author, Sarah Edworthy, With
Paul and Rachel Chandler, with Sarah Edworthy. Chicago Review, $15.95 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-1-61374-442-0
Reviewed on: 09/24/2012
Release date: 09/01/2012
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While sailing in the Seychelles in 2009, retired Britons Paul and Rachel Chandler were kidnapped by heavily-armed Somali pirates and held for ransom for over a year in the hijackers' homeland before finally being released. Here, with the help of ghostwriter Edworthy, the couple tell their riveting tale in no-frills prose that shifts swiftly back and forth between Paul and Rachel's perspective. The account of their initial capture is thrilling, but being held hostage for over a year means a lot of idle hours—the couple did yoga, played Patience, created and solved crossword puzzles, and wrote in their journals. But it is the entries composed during the weeks when Paul and Rachel were split up—often without knowledge of the other's safety or well-being—that reveal their dedication to and love for one another. Transcripts of phone calls between the couple and family members back home regarding the exorbitant ransom are both painful and fascinating, revealing tense emotional bonds and sobering financial realities. A noteworthy account of this century's version of crime on the high seas. Photos, illus., and maps. (Sept.)
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