Reading Group Discussion Questions

Due to popular demand, here are some ideas for book club discussions:

  1. How did this book challenge your views on piracy?
  2. Why do you think the author chose a British Somali as the main character?
  3. Did you enjoy the way the book switched between action in Somalia and behind the scenes in London and Oslo?
  4. Were you shocked at the way modern shipping is portrayed?
  5. Did the international nature of the book with action in different countries make it richer for you?
  6. Think about an eighteen-year old boy you know. Would he have reacted as Abdi did to the circumstances he found himself in?
  7. Did the book make you think about the conflicts between upbringing in the UK and links to their parents’ mother countries which affect a lot of British youth?
  8. Is Lisa a bad woman? What would you have done in her place?
  9. The UK government refused to pay a ransom to rescue the British couple Paul and Rachel Chandler when they were kidnapped by Somali pirates from their yacht. Did this book make you change your mind about that decision?
  10. Is it right to pay ransoms to pirates to free seafarers?
  11. Everything in this book has actually happened in real life.  What shocks you most?
  12. What most surprised you in the book and why?
  13. Piracy affects seafarers in all sorts of places around the globe. Why do you think that we don’t hear about it in Europe and the USA?
  14. When you buy something it is always made abroad. Do you ever think about how it got to your home country and the people who move goods around the world? Did this book make you think more about what happens at sea?
  15. Were you offended by any of the stereotype characters in the book?
  16. Was the ending a surprise? Did it satisfy you? Why or why not?

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