Zac must carry on his murdered grandfather's search for answers, which draws him deep into the history of slavery in Ghana. Except it might not all be ancient history. Winner of the Glen Dimplex Children's Book Award 2007.
Zac lives with his grandfather, Pops. When Pops is killed by muggers, Zac is devastated. Dumped with foster parents, then in an orphanage, Zac stumbles from trouble to trouble, but the one thing he hangs on to is Pops' obsession with their family history and his ambition to go to Ghana in search of a ransom paid by a descendant 200 years earlier, to keep his son from slavery - a ransom stolen by British government agents at the time, which then disappeared. At least, Zac thinks, he can keep faith with Pops by continuing his quest. So Zac wangles his own way to Ghana.
Alone and far from home, he discovers that Pops' death and everything since is part of a wider plan by some shadowy others, also connected to the lost ransom. In a web of intrigue, deception, betrayal, skulduggery and murder that reaches out of the past to entrap everyone in the present, Zac's quest culminates in a perilous voyage to the Door of No Return in the walls of the ancient slave fort - through which the slaves were once herded to the boats that would take them across the ocean, on a journey many of them would never survive.
... one of the most thought-provoking and complete debut novels published recently ... It's got just about everything between its covers, from hair-raising excitement and chatacters that are so memorable they'll stay with you forever, to breath-taking vistas of Africa as well as almost every emotion you can think of. You'll be gripped by it, moved by it and once you've read it you'll want everyone else to read it too because it's different and original. - Lovereading
... powerful and extremely well-plotted modern adventure novel rooted in the terrible actuality and legacy of the African slave trade ... Sarah Mussi bravely engages with the most serious issues - friendship, trust, betrayal, greed, degradation, survival, the presence of the past. ... Sarah Mussi's narrator, a 16-year-old hoodie, Zac, is wholly disarming and her writing is consistently robust, vivid and tensile. - Kevin Crossley, Judge of the Glen Dimplex New Writers Award
... consistently engaging ... This is a really excellent and original thriller. ... its premise and Zac's wry, streetwise voice make it fresh, funny and compelling. - Amanda Craig, The Times
... original, page-turning ... filled with action, adventure, emotions, a well crafted plot and a delicately handled theme regarding the roles of Britain and Ghana during the slaving era. ... a contemporary adventure story - Writeaway.org
a rollicking good mystery story - TES
... an intelligent and well-plotted blend of Treasure Island, King Solomon's Mines and Roots ... Suspense and important history in one fine novel. - Kirkus
a complex, masterful story - School Library Journal
exciting mystery - Klliatt
Sarah Mussi's first novel, The Door of No Return won the Glen Dimplex Children's Book of the Year Award, and was shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award amongst others. Her second novel, The Last of the Warrior Kings was shortlisted for the Lewisham Book Award. Sarah is currently the Chair of CWISL (Children's Writers and Illustrators in South London) an active group of contemporary children's writers and illustrators who run creative writing workshops and festivals for children.
Sarah was born in Cheltenham, raised in the Cotswolds, attended Pates Grammar School for Girls, got a BA in Fine Art from Winchester School of Art and an MA from the Royal College of Art. She spent over fifteen years in West Africa as a teacher and now teaches English in Lewisham.