The Unfortunate Son

The Unfortunate Son

Written by:

Additional Formats
  • Hardcover
  • ISBN 9780670013982
  • 320 Pages
  • Viking Books for Young Readers
  • 10 and up


Kidnapping, family secrets, and adventure on the high seas–perfect for middle grade fans of historical fiction!

What does it mean to be lucky? Luc doesn’t really know. He was born with just one ear, his father constantly berates him, and his younger brother is already bigger and stronger than he is. But when he is chosen to become an apprentice to a local fisherman, his life takes a turn for the better. Luc is a natural at sea, and before long he and a teenaged girl who lives with the fisherman form a strong bond. That bond is tested when Luc is taken captive by a band of merciless pirates, and sold into slavery.

Moving from 1485 to 1500, from France to Africa, from humble beginnings to a noble future, this historical fiction adventure will leave readers pondering the true meaning of good fortune.


"The nature of luck, fortune and fate is dissected and reexamined over the course of this outstanding novel. Engaging from the very first page, this is one work of historical fiction that will have even readers who prefer fantasy clamoring for a sequel." — Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Leeds’ stellar central cast, with their great hearts and plausible flaws, is bound to charm the audience." — The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, starred review

"Readers are effortlessly transported back to 15th-century France in this beautiful tale of misfortune turned salvation." — School Library Journal, starred review

"Leeds’ story, by turns epic, intimate, tangled, and romantic, takes a cast of indelibly colorful characters across continents steeped in a sense of place and paints a visceral picture of duty, perseverance, and their just reward." — Booklist

Summer 2012 Kids’ Indie Next Pick — Indiebound

Selected for the New York Public Library’s 100 Books for Reading and Sharing list