Ted Polet books


Ted Polet


A book of the slave trade and forbidden love

The English edition of my fourth book ANANSI is available from Amazon as a Kindle e-book and as a paperback. The book can also be ordered from general booksellers (ISBN: 9798395461148).

ANANSI is an historical novel set against the slave trade and the Surinamese plantations at the end of the 17th Century. Here is the cover (click to enlarge):

Local research

Over 40 years ago I went to West Africa, during my short seafaring career. In 1978 I made three trips in the cargo vessel Nedlloyd Nile, which took me to Senegal, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Cameroon. Even then I was surprised by the squalor and poverty of the region, and today little has changed. I made a 28-minute film of those trips:

In 2012 I returned to Africa, visiting Ghana. In the course of that trip I visited the former 'trade posts' of Elmina and Cape Coast, which primarily functioned as centres for the slave trade by the Dutch West India Company and the British Royal African Company. Both of these feature in ANANSI.

Finally, I recently visited the tropical country of Suriname to do research, and generally enjoy the trip. To my surprise and delight, I was interviewed in the capital Paramaribo, by journalist Audry Wajwakana of the local Dutch language newspaper De Ware Tijd.

Video trailer

Below is the video trailer for ANANSI (English edition).

ANANSI is the story of the forbidden love of an enslaved woman and a Dutch sailor, who against all odds and the harsh reality of the slave trade hold on to one another, hoping for a better life in freedom. The tale begins in fort Elmina, the headquarters of the Dutch West India Company in what used to be the Gold Coast (Ghana today). It then moves across the Atlantic, ending up in the colony of Suriname shortly after the Dutch take-over in the late 17th Century.

The main protagonists are Efua, a young African woman enslaved by a Spanish slave trader based in Elmina, and a rebellious Dutch sailor, who feel irresistibly attracted to one another. The forbidden liaison comes to light and the girl is sold and put aboard a slave ship to Suriname. The young man manages to talk himself on board another ship to go and search for her on the other side of the Atlantic, a search full of hardship in the South American jungle.

Anansi is a gripping tale of the Dutch slave trade and the horrors of the Surinamese plantations, about Caribbean pirates, hurricanes and the deprivations of seafaring in times long gone. The folk tales of the spider and smart trickster Anansi, which in West Africa are related by the elders to the younger generation, travelled to Suriname with the slave trade, and are at the core of the book. Efua tells the stories she learned from her grandmother and takes them with her on the slave ship to Suriname.

About 93,000 words.

click for an extract from the book


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