Reading Level: Grades 7+
First Mate Jack Sparrow, an employee of the East India Trading Company, is somewhere in the Caribbean when his cargo ship is attacked. Luckily, the pirate captain of the attacking ship is a friend of Jack’s, and doesn’t steal his entire cargo. Unluckily, Captain Baimbridge, furious at being attacked, boarded, and stolen from by a female pirate, tries to attack la Dona Pirata. In the ensuing swordfight, Baimbridge suffers from a heart attack and dies, leaving Jack in charge of the ship (though not officially captain… yet.)
Across the ocean, a princess and her brother set sail from a magically hidden island in search of their missing father. They are captured and sold into slavery, but not before Princess Amenirdis casts a protective spell over herself, altering her appearance to that of an old ugly hag. Separated from each other by the cruel slave trade, Amenirdis (now calling herself by the name Ayisha) longs for her brother and hopes for a chance at freedom.
Back at port, EITC employee Cutler Beckett comes into possession of a few pieces of golden jewelry he believes are connected to the legendary island of Kerma - and if he can locate the slave these pieces were stolen off of, he can locate Kerma’s treasure. His hunt soon leads him to suspect Ayisha’s involvement with the royal Kerman family, though her disguise and self-imposed language barrier deter Beckett’s ability to question her further.
Upon Jack’s return to shore with the pirate-lightened cargo ship, and explanation to Cutler Beckett the events of the pirate attack, he is promoted to Captain (huzzah! huzzah!) and given command of the vessel Wicked Wench. Beckett, ironically convinced that Ayisha was once a slave on the island of Kerma, tells Cap’n Jack to offer the woman escape from Beckett’s ownership and then charm her into giving up the location of the island. Then, Jack is to return to Beckett with the coordinates and the fabled Kerman treasure - and Beckett will set sail for Kerma with a dozen slave ships, prepared to snatch up the citizens.
Of course, we all know Cap’n Jack to be a moral man. Don’t we? And of course, Cap’n Jack has another plan up his sleeve - one that doesn’t involve stealing an entire population to be slaves or giving Cutler Beckett any treasure at all.
In The Price of Freedom, Pirates of the Caribbean fans will get to know Jack in an entirely new light than the four movies and love him all the more for it. His wobbling morality and quick wit, paired with his prowess at the helm (of both a ship and a woman) make him an entirely lovable, dimensional character. Yet one doesn’t have to have seen the movies to fall in love with this adventurous naval romp. It's not one to miss.