Tungee’s Gold


Tungee’s Gold: The Legend of Ebo Landing

Author: Tom Barnes

Greed makes people do many things that often go against their principles and beliefs. Taken further, greed can force a person to enter into a deal with the devil, even if the end result would cause harm or injury to others. Tungee’s Gold: The Legend of Ebo Landing is a unique story about a man who wanted to make his fortune by panning gold during the Gold Rush like so many other people. It is the story of a man who not only made his mark and his fortune but also as a result became embroiled in a dangerous plot that might cost him his life, the lives of others and, his integrity.

The time period is the late 1800’s. This historically based novel brings the California Gold Rush and us back to 1851. Finding gold and staking their claims meant a person could create a life for themselves wherever they wanted. In 1851, Gold was discovered in Greenhorn Creek, Kern County leading many people to flood the area.  Wouldn’t you want to be part of this great hunt for Gold?

Depositing the gold in the bank in San Francisco should have been the right decision for Tungee Cahill. But, was it? How and why did he become the primary target of an assassination plot? Who planned the attack and who was behind it? The reasons will become clear and the facts revealed as you read this novel by author Tom Barnes and try to figure our where all of the characters fit and how.

Tungee Cahill wanted to find his fortune and he did. But, what happens as a result will surprise the reader and compel you to read on in order understand that this book is not just about finding gold, but much more. Depositing the gold in the bank in San Francisco should have been the right decision to keep the gold safe. But, was it? Then how and why did he become the prime target of an assassination? Who would have planned the attack and who was behind it? The reasons will be clear and the facts revealed as you read this novel by author Tom Barnes and try to figure out where all of the characters fit and how.

Stopping off at a local restaurant before returning to his hotel, Tungee learns about a group of Aussie’s called the Ducks who caused major problems in the area. Little did he know that he would soon learn more about them and their true mission. Meeting several captains of several ships Tungee learns that there is a shortage of manpower to work on them. But the biggest surprise is yet to come. Walking back to his hotel he is shanghaied. Waking up in a locked cabin on a ship with two other men, he learns his fate. None other than Gideon Foster, the sea captain, he saw at the restaurant that evening, was the cause of his new working and living arrangement.

But, the worst has yet to come, and his keen sense and with the aide of some of the other crewmembers he learns about a possible mutiny aboard ship.  Tungee decides to aide the captain and his crew to foil the mutiny but at what cost? Learning that the name of the ship was also changed beforehand, sends up a red flag and no one has the answer as to why.

The real reason for Foster’s trip to Liverpool has not been revealed and the cargo that will be picked up and delivered will astound the reader and remind you of how difficult it was for some people to survive because of their race.

Slave trade began in 1440 when Portugal started to trade slaves with West Africa. By the 16th century, there was an organized system for slave trade was in place. But, many incidents of slave trade and what could go wrong, as the captives often try to escape are related in this novel.

Jefferson Randolph, a primary character in this book and an ally to Tungee, describes how he felt when he regained his freedom and the fear of the unknown. What happens when you are enslaved and you are no longer bound to a master? Where do you go and what are you going to do? In his case he ran and kept running, but not far enough.

After leaving St. Katherine’s Island the captain informed the crew of their real destination and their new cargo. Informing them that they would unload the grain and pick up 350 slaves created quite a stir and remarks that only prove that prejudice is not a thing of the present but the past.

The fact that they were now a slave trading ship made matters worse for the crew. The possibility of another mutiny was not out of the question. Dobbs, Jefferson and even Tungee would have to decide whether to compromise their way of thinking and go along with the captain or remain in West Africa and hope for the best. In Jefferson’s case he might even be thrown back into slavery.

Captain Foster was faced with an insurmountable task and a difficult decision. He needed Tungee’s help and the help of his crew in order to transport the 350 black slaves to their destination. But, convincing them would not be easy. Tungee, Jefferson, Dobbs and many of the other crewmembers believed and voiced that slavery and slave trade went against their moral beliefs and thought twice before agreeing to help the Captain. But, money talks and morals in this case walked when going along with what you are against might be the lesser of two evils and bring you to safety at the end of the voyage.

Slavery is wrong no matter how you turn it. Treating people like cattle or subhuman is reprehensible. But, there are those that would disagree. The Ebo Tribe has been enslaved on the ship and their King has voiced that he would never become a slave. A young child is groomed and trained as the new messenger of the tribe and the end result of his plan will shock the reader and help you understand why selling someone into bondage for greed in the form of money was wrong. This tribal king encourages his people to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to escape their predetermined fate.

Their ship gone and their journey over Tungee, Jeff, Dobbs and Blakely had to decide on what to do next. Being born a slave and having his papers and not doing anything to help his people, Jeff decides to part ways with the rest and go to Boston. Signing on with another ship Tungee hoped to reclaim his stake and money in San Francisco.

Remember that Tungee was the target of an assassination and the Ducks were not going to give up. This story is about to come full circle when he returns to San Francisco and wants to regain what he left behind.

How this ends will renew your faith in trust, loyalty and friendship. With the help of an Australian Police Inspector and the Vigilance Committee, Tungee is able to right many of the wrongs that not only were inflicted on him but others too. What does happen and what twists and turns the author created at the end will surprise the reader. Is justice served? Who was really behind the plot to kill him? Will he get what he left hidden behind?

Author Tom Barnes weaves a web of deceit, hate, deception and neatly ties up all of the lose ends. “ I  might be a prisoner, but I will never become a slave,” said King Kumi the king of the Ebo tribe. The Ebo Tribe is a group of people that are stubborn, bullheaded and would not allow, anyone to act superior over them. They are their own masters. The sea brought our brave King and his followers and the sea brought him home.

May freedom ring for all and where it does not we need to fight and change it. This book is a must read for everyone and my pick for a number one book for 2010.

Fran Lewis: reviewer and the author of the Bertha Series of Children’s books and Memories are Precious my Alzheimer’s book.

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