The Door of No Return by Sarah Mussi

Door of No Return

original date book read: October 18, 2011

Author’s website, no video book trailer found.

Summary (from author’s site): Zac lives with his grandfather, Pops. When Pops is killed by muggers, Zac is devastated. Dumped with foster parents, then in an orphanage, Zac stumbles from trouble to trouble, but the one thing he hangs on to is Pops’ obsession with their family history and his ambition to go to Ghana in search of a ransom paid by a descendant 200 years earlier, to keep his son from slavery – a ransom stolen by British government agents at the time, which then disappeared. At least, Zac thinks, he can keep faith with Pops by continuing his quest. So Zac wangles his own way to Ghana.

Alone and far from home, he discovers that Pops’ death and everything since is part of a wider plan by some shadowy others, also connected to the lost ransom. In a web of intrigue, deception, betrayal, skulduggery and murder that reaches out of the past to entrap everyone in the present, Zac’s quest culminates in a perilous voyage to the Door of No Return in the walls of the ancient slave fort – through which the slaves were once herded to the boats that would take them across the ocean, on a journey many of them would never survive.

Personal Reaction: British setting will make slang issues a minor stumbling block for American readers. Present day mystery of descendant of Ghanain prince battling to bring evidence of British government participation in slave trading = MI5 vs.  teen! I liked it. I think middle schoolers might find it too long/complicated to hold their interest, but it’s not a content issue. Recommended for hs.


Since I started this blog a year after reading this book, I may have to come back later to finish up this post after I read it again and keep notes on the details…

Curriculum or discussion topics: The slave trade in Ghana

Connections to other books:

Items to display with book: Ghana flag, historical photographs of slave forts

Food items connected to story



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