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Reviewed by Hilary Hawkes for Readers' Favorite
Redemption’s Warrior by Jennifer Morse and William Mortimer is a poignant story of Christopher Marcos’ imprisonment on Isla Tres Marias. On his 18th birthday, Christopher crosses the US/Mexican border and finds himself falsely accused of smuggling drugs and whisked off to the island prison, which is ruled by the cruel El Jefe. Perceptive Christopher overcomes his distress by practicing the wisdom and philosophy he has learnt through martial arts. This enables him to keep on the right side of those in charge. He meets Juanita, the young daughter of Jose who visits the island regularly by boat, bringing prostitutes. Juanita teaches Christopher about redemption and beneficence and the two enter a mystical cosmic world or meditative state. They fall in love and vow to marry once Christopher has found a way to escape the island. This is no easy task and Christopher has to use all his resilience and inner powers to defeat his fear if he is to embark on his perilous escape plan.
Morse and Mortimer have written a strong story that takes readers into the heartache of innocent Christopher’s seemingly hopeless imprisonment. The characterizations are brilliant and the novel moves at a good pace. The suspense builds and the last third of the book is gripping to the end. Readers will find themselves rooting for the two main characters, and believing in the power of beneficence themselves as Christopher finds the strength to overcome, fight for freedom, and so make redemption possible for others unjustly imprisoned or murdered on the island. I liked the appearance of the dragonfly at key points in the story, representing hope and guidance. A novel for older YA readers.