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Cane Warriors


Moa, a fourteen-year-old slave, gets caught up in the most significant slave rebellion in Jamaican history, paying homage to freedom fighters all over the world.

Now available for preorder. All preorders will ship on or before October 20, 2020.

Forthcoming: 10/20/20

$14.95 $11.21

What people are saying…

Alex Wheatle is a finalist for the 2021 NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature!

“Black Sheep stands tall with Cane Warriors by Alex Wheatle, following Moa, an enslaved 14-year-old in 1760s Jamaica who is recruited by rebels to fight in the slave rebellion called Tacky’s War.”
Publishers Weekly, included in Sneak Previews for Fall 2020

“Alex Wheatle writes from a place of honesty and passion, with the full knowledge and understanding that change can only happen through words and actions.”
—Steve McQueen, Academy Award–winning film director

“This is a vital part of British and Jamaican history brought vividly to life. Alex Wheatle has reclaimed our ancestors and given them the voice they were denied.”
—Catherine Johnson, author and screenwriter

“The importance of this book cannot be overstated. Alex Wheatle takes the truth and creates fiction to illuminate that truth. He too is a warrior—a word warrior. I saw my ancestors in this book, and now I know that Alex and I really are brothers.”
—Benjamin Zephaniah, author of Gangsta Rap

“Though it is a work of fiction, Cane Warriors is rooted in reality, the horrors of colonialism, and the subjugation of a people, which provides an educational experience for the reader with the turning of each crisp page . . . Cane Warriors serves as an inspiring but also sobering reminder that the fight for survival spans across centuries and is very much ongoing. And it is not about the survival of a lone individual, but rather the collective struggle, what that entails, and what it means.”
—Nadine White, news reporter, HuffPost UK

“Alex Wheatle is a master storyteller. He writes with urgency, passion, and the empathy we all need to wrestle with the realities of transatlantic slavery, bringing marginalized narratives straight out of the shadows, right into the frame. Every kid in the country needs to read this book.”
—Jeffrey Boakye, author of Black, Listed

“Terrific. A pacy, provocative ode to an important part of Jamaican history from one of our most versatile, trailblazing authors.”
—Irenosen Okojie, author of Nudibranch

“I love Alex and all he stands for in the world of literature.”
—Kerry Hudson, author of Lowborn

“Alex Wheatle is an inspirer. He sheds light in dark places so that we might see the unseen and hear the unheard. He is a vital writer. He is a prince among men. Long may he reign.”
—Lemn Sissay, author of My Name Is Why


Now available for preorder. All preorders will ship on or before October 20, 2020.

Part of our Black Sheep imprint for young readers.

Irresistible, gripping, and unforgettable, Cane Warriors follows the true story of Tacky’s War in Jamaica in 1760. A powerful young adult tale told through the eyes of Moa, a fourteen-year-old slave, this fictionalized account of the most significant rebellion of the time is rarely mentioned in history books or taught in schools.

The story begins as Moa is awoken in the middle of the night by one of the rebels, who informs him that the revolt will begin on Easter Sunday. Moa’s father doesn’t like the idea of his son joining the rebellion, but his mother gives Moa her blessing. Together, Moa and his sixteen-year-old best friend Keverton take up arms, learning about brotherhood, courage, faith, and sacrifice along the way.

Alex Wheatle’s brilliant storytelling and characterization vividly bring to life the issues, pain, and the power structure of the era, along with the hopes and the dreams of the people. In writing this story, Wheatle’s meticulous and extensive research evokes the stories and legends passed down by word of mouth over the centuries.

Book Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Published: 10/20/20
  • IBSN: 9781617758553
  • e-IBSN: 9781617758737
  • Hardcover
  • IBSN: 9781617759062


ALEX WHEATLE is the author of several best-selling books including the young adult novel Home Girl, the modern classic Brixton Rock, and the multiaward-winning Crongton series. Wheatle’s body of work is a finalist for the 2021 NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature. He was awarded an MBE for his services to literature in 2008, has been twice nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal, and has won numerous other awards, including the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize. He lives in South London. Cane Warriors is his latest novel.

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