Sunday, August 5, 2012


Edinburgh, 1698. Scotland's crops had failed again, and starvation was building in the cities. A plan was hatched to colonize Panama, ship goods overland, and hence shorten the voyage to India. Half the available cash in Scotland was raised to support the project. Five ships and three thousand souls set off on the venture to be the salvation of an ailing nation—a four thousand mile journey into the unknown. Jamie Leith, a young street-wise teenager, inadvertently stows away, and wakes, a prisoner of the venture and manacled to its success or failure.

Determined to survive at all costs, Jamie faces enemies, storms, and sickness, with optimism and a ‘ne'er say die’ attitude. With the courage of youth, and endurance and instincts learned from the streets, he confronts all obstacles to give his all in the success of the venture. ‘Opportunities’ is the story of the DariĆ©n Venture seen through the eyes of this precocious youngster, and is a roller-coaster adventure set within Scotland’s ‘last chance’ at survival. Jamie Leith embodies the positive spirit that lies in all Scots; the rampant strength of character that sailed the seven seas and drove a population to the four corners of a rapidly growing world.

Ian Hall, author of Opportunities: Jamie Leith in Darien, will present a reading and signing at 7 pm on Thursday, August 9, at the Raven Book Store, 6 E 7th, in Lawrence. Hall's webpage at

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