Eleven-year-old Will Pelham's father is the gaoler for the city of Williamsburg. Mr. Pelham took the job only three months ago and Will is still uncomfortable with the prisoners in the cells beneath his family's living quarters. As he does his chores at the gaol, however, he becomes sympathetic to some of the prisoners' situations, particularly that of Emmanuel, a runaway slave. Then Will starts to suspect that Emmanuel is planning to escape. Will knows Emmanuel would be better off as a runaway the slave is sure to face a harsh punishment, maybe even death, when he's reclaimed by his master. But Will has a responsibility to his father, too. What is he to do?
About the Author
Joan Lowery Nixon (1927—2003) was an American journalist and author, specializing in historical fiction and mystery books for children and young adults. Some of her popular books include The Kidnapping of Christina Lattimore, the Orphan Train Adventures series, and The Other Side of Dark, the last of which was adapted into a television movie entitled Awake to Danger (1995). Nixon won four Edgar Allan Poe Awards from the Mystery Writers of America, and had five additional nominations. She died in 2003 of pancreatic cancer.