Chains Laurie Halse Anderson Published by Bloomsbury ISBN 9780747598060 The American Revolution was fought in the latter half of the 18th century, when 13 colonies in North America joined together to break free from Great Britain and form an independent country. They wanted to be in charge of their own government and not be controlled by British politicians in London. The British government wanted to hang on to the American colonies, and in August 1776, an army of 30,000 men was shipped from London to deal with the revolutionaries. Meanwhile, amid all the fighting, around 500,000 people in the 13 colonies were literally slaves. Between 1700 and 1775, more than 300,000 Africans had been sold as slaves to the New World. As the Revolution gained momentum, many slaves fled their owners and joined the British. The land was in turmoil. Set in New York at the beginning of the American Revolution, Laurie Halse Anderson's Chains is all about the importance of freedom both for a new nation and for one young girl. Isabel is a slave to a kind owner on a country farm. When her owner dies, Isabel and her younger sister are sold to the cruel Mr and Mrs Lockton and dragged from their home to New York, just as the British are struggling to keep control of the freedom fighters. Chains is a compelling, well researched novel with fascinating historical detail and a very real central character. Anderson has certainly packed a lot of colour, fact and detail into her tale, but she never loses track of the personal story she is telling. Isabel's story will be remembered long after the last page.