- Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Laurel Leaf Library; Reprint edition (Nov. 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0440227755
- ISBN-13: 978-0440227755
- Product Dimensions: 12.3 x 1.8 x 17.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1 customer review)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 892,987 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Ransom of Mercy Carter Mass Market Paperback – 1 Nov 2002
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"The drama of history unfolds in this gripping tale." -- "School Library Journal"
"Cooney's trademark staccato delivery keeps the pages turning." -- "Publishers Weekly" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Inside Flap
Deerfield, Massachusetts is one of the most remote, and therefore dangerous, settlements in the English colonies. In 1704 an Indian tribe attacks the town, and Mercy Carter becomes separated from the rest of her family, some of whom do not survive. Mercy and hundreds of other settlers are herded together and ordered by the Indians to start walking. The grueling journey -- three hundred miles north to a Kahnawake Indian village in Canada -- takes more than 40 days. At first Mercy's only hope is that the English government in Boston will send ransom for her and the other white settlers. But days turn into months and Mercy, who has become a Kahnawake daughter, thinks less and less of ransom, of Deerfield, and even of her "English" family. She slowly discovers that the "savages" have traditions and family life that soon become her own, and Mercy begins to wonder: If ransom comes, will she take it?
"From the Hardcover edition. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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However, like most books regarding whites and native Americans (although these were Canadian Indians), I found this to be a bit slanted. I find it difficult to reconcile how the authors always seem to come across as a bit sympathetic, at least in Mercy's eyes, to the Indians who have stolen a number of the children after slaughtering some of their siblings and parents. If you put this in modern terms, imagine that a man breaks into someone's house and steals their child and adopts him/her into his family as his own. That man today is instantly condemned by society and will be justifiably punished for his crime. Kidnappings of that sort do happen and we as a society are relieved and rejoice if that child is found and returned to his or her family. Are not these Native American/Settler stories not exactly the same? Does it matter if the man is black, white, Asian, or Indian; isn't it the same crime, regardless of religion or culture? Innocent children stolen from families; most of whom have never harmed a Native American. Yet in the book, we are supposed to rejoice that Mercy has decided to stay with her captors rather than return to her father who has lost his entire family. And this after not much time has passed at all. Granted the real Mercy Carter did choose to stay, but it is still bothersome that the Indians who have done the kidnapping are mostly sympathetic characters in these stories. How does the fact that they are Indian somehow excuse such crimes? We are supposed to excuse the crime as "payback" for the crimes committed against Native Americans (even though the children and their Puritan families were not to blame for those atrocities.)
The other issue I had with the author is that she portrays Rev John Williams in such a poor light. She goes as far in the epilogue that he later wrote "brutal" letters to his children in response to their conversion to Catholicism (if you read the violence that was enacted upon some of these children UNTIL they converted, in today's terms we'd call it "brainwashing"). Anyone can read these letters online; I would hardly call them "brutal". Rather how is a reverend who has lost most of his family, some spiritually, supposed to respond? If you read his actual account "The Redeemed Captive Returning to Zion" it speaks of a man of remarkable courage and bravery in the face of the most horrific experience imaginable. He continues to hold steadfastly to his faith in God throughout his ordeal, convinced that God is merciful, good and forgiving (a view of God we never see in the Cooney book). I think Cooney paints a poor picture of this remarkable man who was a real person who survived a terrible ordeal.
She also states that there is no indication that his 7 year old child, Eunice, wished to return to him, but rather wished to stay with her new Indian family. However, if you read Williams' actual account, he states that he was granted a visit with his child early on, at which time, "she was very desirous to be redeemed out of the hands of the Macquas". What a heartache for this father that his child was not redeemed, and eventually assimilated into Indian society, choosing her kidnappers as her new family and abandoning her real one after time had passed. In the book, Mercy helps hide her from her real father when he is spotted in the street and she is with the child. If you put this into today's context, we are supposed to think it somehow honorable that a child who is kidnapped by a stranger decides to stay with her captor instead of being returned to her own family?
I also found the book to be slanted against the Puritan religion in general. Remember it was the Puritans who landed on Plymouth Rock and enjoyed many many years of excellent relations with the Massachusetts Indians. Most distressing is her description of the Puritan's God; "The Deerfield frontier had been hard and God had not made it easier. Just when the sky seemed blue, the children sweet and the crop good, God would fling hail at the corn and smallpox at the babies. But the French God slipped like a strong shadow behind the path of the Indian spirits. He was a gentler God." It seemed that he author was clearly biased against the beliefs of the Puritan people and slanted towards French Indian Catholicism.
I suppose any author is going to bring their own personal biases into a novel of this depth and length, especially when there are so many different cultures and religions happening, but it seemed a bit too deliberate somehow. I'd still recommend the book, as there is much depth to it, but would also recommend reading the REAL first hand account by John Williams - it's a public domain book, so it can be read right on line or downloaded and taking ALL sides and beliefs into account.
When they arrive at the camp, many are separated from their families.Mercy longs for her father, who was away during the capture.She lives with Tannhahorens' wife, Nistenha.She starts to enjoy life there because she gets to eat.It's pretty gruesome how she enjoys not wearing clothes.During her life there she prays in her mind for god to watch her.She also prays for her brothers to be safe.All this time she is hoping for ransom.
One day a priest from Deerfield brings news. The french allowed him to come to the indian camp.Mercy and her friend, Joseph, come up excitedly. The priest,Father William, is appalled because they are naked and demands to see his daughter, Eunice.It is that day that made Mercy realize how indian she had become.She had made many friends and learned like an indian.She had figured out the indian language.When she goes to town to buy things with her family, she sees her cousin Mary,who has become french.Mary barely recognizes her and her adopted father calls Mercy a savage.
After a while, Mercy's family learns to trust her. Mercy decides to take advantage of their trust to ask to go to town to buy gifts.She leaves with some indian men including Tannhahorens. She meets some french sailors who seemed nice enough to take her aboard, in return for her Catholic cross necklace.Just as Mercy begins to think she's safe, a sailor tries to grab her.Tannhahorens appears and pokes his hand with a knife.Behind Tannhahorens was an army of indians, so the sailors do not fight.
Tannhahorens dies a while after that.One day someone shows up to ransom the children.Mercy wants to yell out where she is, but Nistenha stops her.She lets Mercy decide if she wants to leave and Mercy decides to stay.
The story THE RANSOM OF MERCY CATER. Tells the story of a 12 year old Mercy Carter, Who is taken captive. With her 3 brothers and 1 sister. By the Kadnawake Mohawk Indians. With the rest of the Deerfield children and some adults. When in 1704 Indians raid on the English settlement Deerfield, Mass.
Out in the freezing cloud of winter they are forced to March. Stopping for no one. Finding a small boy who was the same age as March her younger sister 3 years old. Mercy finds it hard to carry two toddle. Falling more and more behind and farther away from her brothers. Mercy knows she is in danger. And March is much too fussy and cries out all the time and be for long is killed.
They sleep right in the snow with no shelter above there heads. Sometimes the Indians will make a snow cave for them to sleep in but that�s about it. They hardly even make fires. And go days at a time without eating. But for mercy going a few days without food is not hard. Deerfield being a poor village goes a few days with out food all the time in hope for the lord�s praise and the gife of food growing. Her mother already dead two years be for the Indian raid and her father gone out to market be for the Indian came, Mercy feel now she only has Daniel to be strong for her bother are to far ahead of her to walk with .Mercy is at the end of the line with a boy named Eben. Who put his sister�s in the basement in hope of saving them. Only to find out that the hole village was burned.
As times goes on mercy finds that learning the langue makes time go faster but doing so is a sin and Ruth reminds her about it all the time. Ruth is other captive that was taken from Deerfield. Who no matter what she does she does not get punished for it. Mercy soon learns her Indian�s name and her own Indian name as well. And is not aloud to go anywhere near her brother. Who to have there own Indian also. Her uncle walks ahead with the other man. Forces to have coaler around there necks and be tied up. So there will be no chance of a run away. When mercy feels she can�t take the huger any more knowing she has to walk all the way to Canada she finds out that the Indians have killed 20 mousses and stored them. Mercy eats heavily knowing she must stay strong lots of the captives had already been killed.
The younger kids get to ride on sleds yelling the Indian words for number all day to keep them busy. Daniel too rides on the sled. But all the older captives are forced to walk still. Each by now carries a pack. Mercy finds out she will be in a village near Montréal. A French city. When they spilt up mercy is not aloud to go with her brother or Daniel. She fears she may never see them again. Now with no family the only word in Mercy head is ransom. But already slipping into Indians ways will she be able to take it if it comes? To find out if mercy will ever see her bothers again or if ransom will come, you�ll have to read the story.