Jamaica Fiwi Roots

THE SECRET PACT

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rooted in his love for Jamaica, where he was born, the author embarked on a journey seventeen years ago to explore its rich history. He is not a historian, and does not profess to be one, just someone who has caught the bug for its history. This gave life to The Fiwi Roots Project, a collection of websites preserving the island's heritage and vibrant culture, offering nuanced insights into its people, timeline, iconic Great Houses, historical events, geographical features and much more.

During his career in technology, he authored a book and was a contributing author or technical editor for several others, all published by McGraw Hill. After retiring in 2019, he began focusing on the Fiwi Roots Project, spending time in the United Kingdom, tracing the lineage of Jamaica's Great House owners and the flow of wealth derived from their plantations. The website: "Jamaica Timeline" was launched the next year, during the COVID-19 lock down. It provides a chronological overview of Jamaica's history, including its people, industry and music. A self-funded annual scholarship was also launched that year, for students in the rural interior.

In 2023, the idea arose to create a platform for budding Jamaican writers, young and old, to share their short stories with the world. From this initiative, "The Secret Pact" was unintentionally born. The original goal was to write a short story to launch the site, but the story took on a life of its own. With vibrant characters swimming in his imagination and pieces of the island's lesser-known history that had long fascinated him, the story began morphing into something much larger. The end result was a novel, weaving fascinating historical events overlooked in traditional education into an engaging adventure reminiscent of beloved classics like the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew but crafted to appeal to all ages.

And the best part? It's entirely Jamaican, presenting the island's rich history through vivid imagery and narratives, allowing the reader to experience it firsthand. Additionally, the book includes a website link at the end that delves deeper into the story, decoding what's factual and what's fictional.

THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THE BOOK

I have always been fascinated by Jamaica's rich history; such a small island with such a remarkable influence on the world. Today, it's renowned for its natural beauty and the island's enduring legacy in music and sports, but its impact reaches as far back as the 17th and 18th centuries.

Back then, sugar was one of the world’s greatest wealth-producing industries, with Jamaica being Britain's largest producer in the Caribbean. The need for efficiency in sugar production spurred technological advancements, positioning the island as one of the early catalysts of the Industrial Revolution. The resulting wealth fueled further innovation, modernizing British cities like Liverpool and Bristol. It also created new industries and diversifying others such as banking and insurance.

Yet, behind the stories of success lies a mostly forgotten tale—that of the island's original inhabitants, the Tainos, and the Africans who were transported there. This immense wealth generated by sugar, was tragically built on the backs of enslaved Africans and came at the price of decimating the island's indigenous Taino inhabitants; a process that began with the arrival of the Spanish and continued under the British.

As a child, growing up in Jamaica, I was taught that the Tainos had all died under the harsh conditions imposed by the Spanish. However, current history and modern evidence, such as DNA research , reveal the presence of indigenous Taino ancestry amongst the Accompong Town Maroons, suggesting some mixing and possible survival. Moore Town Maroons, also known as Nanny Town, in particular, preserve a strong claim to Taino heritage.

The notion that Tainos may have coexisted with the Windward Maroons in the rugged terrain of the Blue Mountains intrigues me. It opens up a realm of new questions and exciting possibilities: What was life like for those who survived? How did they navigate a peace treaty heavily favoring the British, and what were their experiences during that tumultuous period?

The Secret Pact, set in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica in 1743, three years after the end of the First Maroon War, imagines just that through the lives of characters like Willow and Kai, along with their band of unlikely conspirators.

The story unfolds amidst historical figures such as Nanny, one of Jamaica's enigmatic national heroes, Quao, Jeddo, and Lt. Thicknesse, whose memoirs provide invaluable insight into the era. His writings are among the few—if not the only—sources that offer a description of Nanny. According to legend, Nanny was a practitioner of Obeah, a spiritual practice with ties to West Africa, encompassing herbalism, divination, and the manipulation of spiritual forces for purposes such as protection, healing, and influencing personal and communal affairs.

This fictional tale transports readers into the past, blending historical events and places with imagined characters and narratives. It offers readers a glimpse into the past through the imagined lives intertwined with the setting and legacy of the Windward Maroons' resistance.


Available Formats

in 15 countries

 

Reviews

Susan
I recommend this book
Reviewed in the United States on May 27, 2024
Verified Purchase

I’m not a Jamaican and bought this book out of curiosity. It was very engaging; it kept me up late to see how the story ended. I was drawn to Aiyanna's character and found myself rooting for Silas.

What’s also good was that there is a link at the end of the book that explains what’s real and what’s not. This helped me put the story in context, making it even more meaningful. Not only was the story engaging, it also helped me understand the history.

Easy read and a very good story.