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The Freedman

Tales From a Revolution Series, North Carolina, Book 9
Narrated by: Shamaan Casey
Length: 5 hrs and 19 mins
5 out of 5 stars (15 ratings)
Regular price: $19.95
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Publisher's Summary

What does liberty mean for a freedman? 

Calabar was brought from Africa to North Carolina as a boy and sold on the docks as chattel property to a plantation owner. On the plantation, he learned the intricacies of indigo production, fell in love, and started a family.  

Abruptly released from bondage, he must find his way in a society that has no place for him, but which is itself struggling with the threat of British domination. Reeling from personal griefs, and drawn into the chaos of the Revolution, Calabar knows that the wrong moves could cost him his freedom - and that of the nation.  

The Freedman is Hedbor’s standalone novel set in North Carolina from his Tales From a Revolution series, in which he examines the American War of Independence as it unfolded in each of the colonies. If you like enthralling stories of familiar events from unfamiliar viewpoints, you’ll love The Freedman.  

Grab your copy of The Freedman today, and experience the American Revolution as a personal journey of discovery.

©2018 Lars D. H. Hedbor (P)2019 Lars D. H. Hedbor

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A book about freedom, war, and friendship


I recently received for review The Freedman by Lars D. H. Hedbor and I enjoyed it very much! This is the 9th book in the Tales From a Revolution Series, North Carolina, but it can be experienced as a standalone novel and that's exactly what i DID.

I listened to The Freedman in one session because the story is very interesting and moves along at a fast pace. The audiobook is a little over 5 ours in lenght and I could not stop it until the very end. The story follows a freedman, a black slave that is free after his master releases him. His name is Calabar, but everybody calls him Jupiter, as his original name is hard to pronounce by white folks. The action is set against the backdrop of the American Revolution in North Carolina and it was the perfect listen for me as I was always attracted by that period in history.

When he sees himself free, our hero has to buy his family from the plantation owner, but he has no money. This is a story about freedom, about war, about hard times, about friendship, loyalty, love, but at the same time, about evil men and ugly consequences. How can a black freedman find a way to save his family? Who, if anyone, would help him?

I really liked the way this book is written, with interesting characters, a vivid world and with a perfect atmosphere. I cared about all the main characters, I am always sad to discover how white people treated slaves and black men in that dark age of slavery and I think that books like this one will be a reminder for all those who want to forget...

The audiobook version of The Freedman is read by Shamaan Casey and although this is the first performance by this tallented narrator and voice over artist that I had the pleasure of listening to, I can say that I am impressed by his great delivery.

Shamaan Casey gives life to all the characters with diffrent voices and accents, while at the same time, he moves the story along seamlessly. He has a really good voice, just perfect for this narration, and he always manages to switch between characters with ease and makes it easy for the listener to keep them differentiated.

I recommend The Freedman to all the fans of Roots, Uncle Tom's Cabin and to those interested in the American Revolution as this was a very entertaining narrative experience for me. This is a book that will stay with me for a time, I'll be wondering what happened to these men and women after the end of the story... I find it that I cared for them a lot.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • KD
  • Somewhere
  • 02-06-19

Jumping in headfirst

this is not the first one book in the series. It's actually the 9th.. but I was still able to enjoy the book because it's a standalone novel and you don't need to have read the old ones. This is fine by me! Calabar is a very endearing character and a rooted for him the whole way.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Great story

This book had good insight and great characters. I loved that it had real history in the story! The narrator's voice is very deep and calming

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Brian
  • Niagara Falls, NY
  • 02-05-19

A Needed Reminder

First and foremost I need to call out the timeliness of this release.  It came out a couple weeks before February, which is Black History Month.  I knew that this was going to be a poignant story about a slave in North Carolina but it was so, so, so much more.

Shamaan Casey absolutely crushes the narration of The Freedman - Tales From a Revolution - North Carolina (I’m going to shorten it to Freedman throughout the review when mentioning since it’s a long title). He was able to voice the slave (and then free) Calabar in such a way that really made me feel like I was transported back there.

Tie that in with the writing style and storytelling ability of Hedbor and you have a story that I will not soon forget. It’s not often that a book teaches me something about history that I instantly have to look up but Freedman will be one of those books.  I am going to do some research on the rights and freedoms of those who were freed by their owners.  It was honestly never a piece of history that I’d ever even considered but it’s now one that I need to know more about.

Freedman is such a real and visceral story.  Numerous times throughout I was brought to tears by the writing and performance.  The book is full of emotion.  It has a lot of negatives but also reminds us of the people that would have risked it all to help out another human regardless of their skin color.

Calabar (known to his owner as Jupiter) is seriously a character that I will remember for a long time.  The way he spoke (purposefully done in a way that made you understand he was an uneducated slave) made me like him even more.  I felt for him and I wanted to help him

Not only is this a book that is needed for history’s sake, but it’s badly needed for the state that our country is currently in.  It’s a not-so-simple reminder of the atrocities that we have done in the name of our beliefs and for the almighty dollar. And it’s a reminder of the path that we need not go back down.

For all the reasons above and more that I haven’t stated, this book is easily one of the best books I’ve read so far in 2019.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Excellent!

I don’t normally listen to historical fiction, but after listening to this I will be. The story was fascinating, and educational. A tale of hope, determination, and friendship. I recommend this book to anyone who loves history, especially early American history. The narration is well done. I’ve listened to a few books from this narrator and he always does a wonderful job.

I have been given a free copy of this book, in exchange for an unbiased review.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Another fabulous book from the author

Mr. Hedbor once again weaved a historical story that kept me listening to the bitter end! Calabar, a slave in an indigo plantation, was given his freedom when his master died and his son felt that since Calabar only knew about the production of the indigo plants and the process of making it suitable for the sell of dye, did not need him and wasn't worth the selling to another plantation owner. Calabar was forced to leave his wife and young baby with a heavy heart and head to the unknown. It was by luck that he meet a merchant who found out that Calabar worked in an indigo plantation and needed his skills to purchase the best stock. This story takes place during the start of the Revolution and gives you the insight on how it would be for a free slave life. And I must say that Mr. Hedbor did a fabulous job in having Shamaan Casey narrator his story. This narrator's voice is so wonderful to listen to and you forget it's one person doing the telling of the story as he changes from one person to another. Bravo to them both!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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This is an excellent book!

The Author has a gift for historical storytelling... I am truly enjoying this series... I have listened to a few already. The characters are well developed and become friends quickly. The Period in time and the attention to said detail are very interesting. The Narrator is absolutely amazing and brings the Charachters to life well. The only disappointment I found, was when the Author was giving credits at the end of the book... He really should have thanked the Narrator... This book was provided free of charge in exchange for a fair review of the book... Thank You!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Sidney
  • United States
  • 01-20-19

Exciting review of historical facts

This book is about a black man who was freed from slavery and his ability to become friends with other people where he was able to make enough money to buy the freedom of his wife and child.

He becomes involved with the American Revolution because he had a talent for shooting and because of his desire to protect his family.

The interactions between the people in North Carolina is well laid out and well done.

This book does a good job of putting into perspective the relationship of the slaves and freedmen of North Carolina. It is concise and well written.

The narration is superb. The narrator has the ability to do multiple voices across a wide range.

This book was provided free of charge in expectation of an honest review.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A story told in history

If you are one who enjoys historically accurate and compellingly told stories, I do not think you can go wrong picking up one of the many “Tales from a Revolution” series of books. For me, this was the first work I have listened too by both this author and narrator and I can say that I wanted more when it ended. The following review is specifically for the ninth book in the series titled “The Freedman”. If you are like me, you may be asking if you have to read the first eight books to enjoy this one. The answer to that great question is no. Each of the books released in this series are stand-alone pieces but some may include character or places from others, so by reading them all you may find some cross-over elements. However, the ones thing that ties them all together is that each takes place during the American Revolution. The ninth book is one of four audiobooks currently available on Audible. The author of this book series is Lars D. H. Hedbor and the available audiobook editions are each performed by Shamaan Casey; at the time of this review. If you are a history buff or someone that does not care much for history but instead likes to have a tightly crafted telling of a story, grab one of these books and give them a listen. Each audiobook contains about five hours of material which provides ample time to lay out a tale while educating you along the way. History is not one of my preferred genres, but I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed the fresh new perspective the author created in this book and I will be looking at trying out other in the future.

Reading a bit about the author from his Audible notes page, I like that his perspective around teaching history wrapped around telling stories. History is not simply about reciting dry facts and events which can easily be forgotten or added to over the years. Humankind, from its roots, has used storytelling to keep history alive from one generation to the next. So, the author of these book makes history come alive by creating believable characters placed in historically accurate situations and locations making it memorable to the listener. I may have learned more about this period in history from this one book than I had during all my previous schooling. I know I will more easily remember parts from this story in years to come.

In this story, one learns just how hard life was and that one’s decisions often had major consequences to not only oneself but others around them as well. The period of the American Revolution may seem like a simpler time compared to today’s hustle and bustle, yet as this story shows, it was anything but easy for one to survive let along a family. This emotional story puts the listener in the shoes of a newly freed colored slave in North Carolina. It sounds like it would be a happier story, but even from the start we see how hard it is when our main character is required to leave behind his beloved wife and child after his new master finds his single skill no longer valuable. Our main character, Calabar, is thrown out in to a world that he knows nothing about. Because he grew up his entire life as a slave, simple things which may seem simple to us were often quite difficult for him. Learning about money, clothing, and food were major hurdles he needed to understand and overcome to survive. Few people would show a colored man compassion during these times, yet friendships are formed, and life-time bonds are created along his journey. Fate deals this newly freed man a welcomed hand when he comes across the path of a trader interested in acquiring high-quality indigo. Calabar is an expert in indigo as this was all he knew about growing up as a slave. This new opportunity opens up many other avenues for not only Calabar but also his family.

When I look back at the writing, the story felt solid and well researched. The scenes were descriptive and most of the characters felt like they had dimension and depth. The author did a good job of showing just how it would have been growing up during this period of time and the many difficulties; both for slaves and non-slaves. There were many twists and turns along the way showing how one event can change the course of not only one man’s life but history as well. I enjoys what I learned about the indigo trade as most of the southern history books are focused on tobacco crops. All along the way I was reminded how hard a life it was for these people. In this story, we are also shown love, hatred, war, and friendship. The author gives us minute glimpses of humor, but these are often few and far between; rightly so. I did laugh out loud when the author referenced the use of snuff. Both my grandma and great grandma, northern Alabama raised, chewed snuff until each was in their nineties. I can recall having to fetch their spit cups many times during my summer visits as a child. Coming away from this book, I realized that even a freed slave had limited rights and options living in the south.

For a newer narration on Audible, I felt that Shamaan Casey did an exceptional job with this piece of historical fiction. I felt that he really gave life and breath to Calabar especially, but he also did good at voicing the many other characters. The deep and rich sound given to Calabar allowed me to more easily picture him while listening. Overall, volume and pace were consistent throughout the book, but I would recommend future books be read at a slightly slower pace. No need rushing a good thing.

Parents and younger readers, this is a book that I think would be appropriate for nearly any age listener. There is no use of profanity, no adult specific or mature content I can recall. It does have some quite realistic and graphic scenes of violence, but nothing that would be out of character or historically inaccurate for a book set in this period. I feel the audience is more geared towards the teen to adult category, but not Young Adult in writing style. As I stated earlier, this is a great way for a student to learn about history and for the adult who may have forgotten much of what they learned in history class to learn something.

In summary the book is rather impactful and educational at the same time. It deals with subjects that are often swept under the rug, yet I believe it was handled appropriately and with respect. I enjoyed seen the growth and maturity of Calabar as the book progressed. The story is what one might expect handed down over generations about this family and their desire to overcome in the face of what seems like impossible odds. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in this time period or just wants to hear a story told and narrated well.

Disclaimer: This audiobook was provided to me by the author, narrator, or publisher in exchange for an honest review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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4.5/5 (rounded) Great entry in a good series

Summary: Jupiter/Calabar is a slave whose master dies. He has a particular skill for judging indigo, but his master’s son sees no value in that because he plans to turn the land into tobacco farmland. Thus, he sets the man free and kicks him off the property.



Additional Comments:

- I’ve heard 2 of the other Tales of a Revolution series. While I’d give the series as a whole a solid 4, this particular story is fantastic. (The NJ one was okay – way too much period specific language - and the West FL one was a tad boring.) The rating I gave this book is not just me judging being politically correct. Of the series, I found it the most interesting in terms of plot and characters and inclusion of history.

- The point about the owner immediately freeing Calabar instead of trying to sell him first seems a stretch. I suppose it was necessary to the plot, but even a sentence or two about him trying and failing would have made that a tad more realistic. The master (Young Green) is described as a penny pincher, so letting money walk off in the form of a healthy slave doesn’t seem true to his character.

- Race relations are a tricky topic to tackle, especially when depicting the dark time in American history where slavery ruled a large section of the country.

- There’s a happy ending of sorts, but it’s still somewhat realistic in that not everything goes Calabar’s way. He and his family face some very tough things headon.

- Narration: Well done. I love the narrator’s voice and it’s absolutely perfect for the book. He handles different voices well.

- Side Note: Every audiobook, the author reads the thank you personally. While he’s a fantastic writer, he also works with an excellent narrator and should probably just let the man read that part. It’s jarring to hear a completely different voice suddenly break in with a historical note or whatnot.



Conclusion: Great entry in a good series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Kate @MLHearingThings
  • 02-19-19

Fascinating, compassionate, and compelling

The Freedman by Lars D H Hedbor is the story of 'Jupiter' Calabar, a former slave who was cast out from the plantation he had worked since childhood. Separated from his wife and infant daughter, Calabar is forced to find his way in the world as a freedman, with only six months grace before he must move on from the colony and make his way out into an America on the brink of revolution.

As a Brit, my knowledge of the American War of Independence is woefully limited. (I've never been able to bring myself to invest in the plight of people who could waste good tea like that...) So it is fair to say that this audiobook isn't my usual listening. I was drawn in by the fact that this story details the Revolution through the eyes of a former slave, a freedman, rather than a soldier or rebel. The impact of such a turbulent time in history on someone whose position in society was already so vulnerable intrigued me, but I prepared myself for it to be unflinchingly bleak. It was perhaps because of this preconception that I found the small moments of compassion so touching. Cooper's assistance in helping Calabar integrate into society as a freedman was touching given the rarity it would have been at the time. And when the milliner, Albright, gives Calabar his first hat - something that helps mark him out as a freedman rather than a runaway - that simple kindness is a braver, bolder gesture than any of the political posturing occurring in the background. The humanity these men demonstrate at a time of such burgeoning destruction was a light in the dark.

Calabar's lesson in politics and culture from Mr Albright helped me understand the wider context of the events, and the ways in which the motivations of the different sections of society at the time intersected. Because Calabar's ignorance so neatly mirrored my own, his education was just as enlightening for me.

I found this book much easier to listen to and far more engrossing than I had expected. I enjoy learning about historical events in both fiction and non-fiction, so I'd felt sure it would be interesting but was not prepared for the required concentration to feel so effortless. This is always a sign of a well paced, well plotted story, and a talented narrator.

Shamaan Casey has a rich, deep, voice with a fullness and complexity that suited this audiobook very well. Casey is pleasant to listen to and was able to retain my attention with his vivid portrayal of a cast of characters whose experience is so far removed from my own.

I'd recommend this audiobook to anyone with an interest in the American Revolution, and to those like myself who wished to learn more about the war and the history of slaves and freedmen in that period. Theirs are the voices we still do not hear with enough clarity, even today. I was very glad to have an opportunity to reflect upon their stories vicariously through Calabar's experience, which was especially relevant given that it is currently Black History Month in America.

*I received this audiobook free of charge in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.