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True North: Tice's Story

True North: Tice’s Story tells the great escape of the African slaves out of bondage in the South in the 1850s and 1860s through the dramatic and danger-filled story of one young man, Tice, and his escape to Canada. The 19-year-old, God-fearing Tice runs from his master’s plantation in Maysville, Kentucky, and swims the Ohio River to Ripley, Ohio, where he is connected to a network of people in the Underground Railroad, who rush him northeastward, ever northeastward toward New Brunswick, Canada. Always in pursuit is the ruthless Morgan, his master’s foreman, who even arrives at Portland, Maine, ahead of the runaway.

Early on, Tice is given a copy of Pilgrim’s Progress which he carries with him as his “conductors” teach him to read. On more than one level, Tice connects to Pilgrim in his often frightening race to freedom.

True North: Tice's Story serves as a prequel to "The Last Aliyah" in a descendant of Tice is involved in a modern-day Underground Railroad helping Jews escape America in the face of a worldwide ban on Jewish emigration to Israel.

Reviews
Journalist and consultant Leslie (Midnight Rider for the Morning Star) delves into the obstacles runaway slaves encountered prior to the Civil War. Nineteen-year-old Tice was born and raised on a plantation near Maysville, Ky. His mother is dead and his father sold by the time a stranger hints that he is willing to help Tice escape to freedom. When the opportunity arises, Tice makes it across the Ohio River and is soon guided by members of the Underground Railroad. Because of the Fugitive Slave Law, getting north does not mean freedom, and Mason, the plantation foreman, relentlessly tracks Tice. Leslie vividly describes the plight of runaway slaves, noting differences between biblical slavery and its 19th-century version. He includes a smattering of historical figures, Henry David Thoreau and Hannibal Hamlin among them, in his fictional cast of characters and details notable stops along the Underground Railroad. Tice exhibits a deep religious confidence that will endear him to readers of inspirational literature. While the main plot is a work of fiction, the well-researched historical elements make it believable and even, at times, educational. (BookLife)
News
04/12/2015
Author’s Thrilling Tale Highlights Heroes of the Underground Railroad

The heroes of the Underground Railroad from Ripley, Ohio, to Maine are vital characters in a new novel — True North: Tice’s Story — by Mark Alan Leslie.

Set in 1860, Leslie’s historical thriller follows the 19-year-old, God-fearing Tice as he runs from his master’s plantation in Maysville, Ky., and swims the Ohio River to Ripley, where he is connected to a network of people who rush him northeastward, ever northeastward toward New Brunswick, Canada. The ruthless and relentless Morgan, his master’s foreman, is constantly on his trail.

Along the way, Tice is aided by real historical people who were key “conductors” on the Underground Railroad, including the memorable Henry David Thoreau, who joins Tice from Newton to Andover, Mass.

True North: Tice’s Story is a refreshing telling of the great escape of the African slaves out of bondage in the South in the 1850s and 1860s. And it serves as a prequel to Leslie’s coming The Last Aliyah in which descendants of Tice and the Chadwicks are involved in a modern-day underground railroad helping Jews escape America, which has joined a worldwide ban on Jewish immigration to Israel.

This is the second historical novel by Leslie, a longtime journalist who has won five national magazine writing awards, Leslie authored the nationally acclaimed Midnight Rider for the Morning Star, which was based on the life and times of America’s first circuit-riding preacher, Francis Asbury.

A golf writer for two decades, he also wrote to the golf e-books Putting a Little Spin on It: The Design’s the Thing! and Putting a Little Spin on It: The Grooming’s the Thing!

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