There really was a 13 year old boy named Miles Philips who went away to sea in 1568 to join John Hawkins third slave trading voyage from Africa to the West Indies. The English ships were ambushed at San Juan in Mexico and although Miles escaped he was later marooned on the Mexican coast and it took him 17 years to get home. The outline of this Tudor odyssey was recorded by the chronicler Richard Hakluyt in his great work, Principal Navigations of the English Nation, in 1589, but there was so much that Miles dare not tell and Richard could not publish. Freedom's Pilgrim is imagined as the full story that the elderly Miles left for his grandchildren, narrating his life as a slave, a runaway slave, a prisoner of the Spanish Inquisition, a wandering healer, a Spanish soldier and a Barbary pirate and how he won his beautiful senorita and brought her home with him. It is a story of a boy growing up in strange and brutal circumstances to become a mature and resourceful adult poised for further adventures.
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