In Steven Barnes’ 2002 novel Lion’s Blood, little Aiden O’Dere is rescued from a dismal life in a hidden Irish village when bold Viking entrepreneurs provide Aiden and those members of his village who survive the negotiation process (including his mother and his sister, but not his father) with free transportation to Bilalistan1, far across the ocean. There, the kindly Muslims provide the Irish with room and board, in exchange for such duties as their new masters deem appropriate.
Aiden proves inexplicably ungrateful, even though his new owner, the Wakil Abu Ali, is notoriously easy-going towards his property. Perhaps it’s the hard work, the beatings, the short lives many slaves face, the way slave women are used as sexual playthings, or simple white intransigence, but something about his new life does not sit entirely well with Aiden. There does not seem to be much that he can do about his situation.