Rogues In Paradise Book Reviews

Rogues In Paradise Book Reviews includes several Videos of the true fun and provocative Real Stories of Barbados. Its Bajan-Caribbean characters, rogues, heroes, knights, dames, history, and places will transform you from a casual tourist to an informed traveler.  Feed your curiosity. Uncover the island’s mysteries hidden beneath its white sand beaches and crumbling colonial facades.

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Review of Draft Publication 2023

– Calum Glenny

I have visited Barbados regularly over the past 15 years and have become interested in and accustomed to the beautiful island’s people. I learned quickly that the locals are friendly, welcoming, and full of life, character, and history, no matter what it has thrown at them.

I was lucky enough to be passed an early unpublished edition of Ian R. Clayton’s book ‘Rogues in Paradise’. From eagerly opening the book for the first time, I could not put it down.

Within the book, Ian skilfully visits Barbados’ history and life on the island, including its troublesome times, missing no issues while delving into the lives of characters such as the proud Queen Bee (Peggy) on the new high-tech medical stretcher, Rex Wooton, and his Chalky Mount Caper with the ‘stolen’ construction lights. Also, ‘Fred’ and his hilarious courtroom escapade attempt to save the Race Horse Bathing at Pebbles Beach.

While delving into the ‘rogues’ and knights, dames, and unsung heroes, Ian also manages to intertwine stand-out historical events and special places linked to the island and its population, including himself. He also touches on remarkable people like the forward-thinking Errol Barrow, who, despite political opposition, implemented free school education and free school meals for all children. Ian unequivocally links this to today, where Barbados has one of the highest literacy rates in the world.

The entertaining characters’ stories lead into a more somber section when Ian discusses the inhuman and brutal slave trade and how it has and still affects Barbados today.

In a life lesson from Paradise, Ian quotes, ‘Against all odds, the Bajan Spirit was not broken by slavery and colonial indulgence. A strong spirit rises above all.’

Ian’s book is fascinating, as well as funny and solemn; it truly enriches the reader’s historical education of Barbados. With every visit, I recognize the characters (rogues) wandering throughout the island, whether on the beaches, in the towns, or even in the rum shops or restaurants. I truly believe that:

‘The people make Barbados, and Barbados is its people!’

I await the publication of the updated version with anticipation! A very enjoyable and worthwhile read, I guarantee you will laugh and be educated on Barbados’ history simultaneously!

Check out

Calum Glenny
Gourock’s ‘Avid Traveller’


– Must Read Five-Star Review – Jha🏆

A gripping, charming, utterly unputdownable paean to Barbados, this book brims with wit, elegance, and subtle humour.

Rogues in Paradise celebrates the Afro-British Caribbean Culture of Barbados—and the quirky, fun-loving ordinary, and extraordinary people who call it home. In this thoughtful, funny, and provocative debut essay collection from tourism expert Ian R. Clayton, readers find themselves thrust into an evolving world: One that begs exploration of its history, its people, and its culture. Bajans come to life in vivid colour through a series of character vignettes—from their electrifying personalities to their mischievous mechanisms for survival to their quiet intensity. Each character jumps off the page in images as striking as the pictures painted by Woolly Hewitt or Darla Trotman.

With warmth and humour the stories explore humanity, heritage, and cultural responsibility. It speaks to a larger psychological question of character: how can they be so resilient after 300 years of slavery? Interwoven history and lucid storytelling move the narrative outward from personal observation, providing a rich backstory on how people navigate contemporary life against a complicated past.

At its core, Rogues in Paradise redefines what it means to rise for one and as one in pursuit of the common good. It celebrates cultural identity, friendship, and adventure but, more than that, it celebrates the human spirit in us all.

We start our visit to Barbados with the tale of Ace, the first rogue in the story, and then go on to visit multiple characters and places in this memoir cum travelogue. An extremely whimsical style of writing coupled with the author’s obvious love for the island and its people makes for a rather charming, almost old-fashioned portrayal of this Caribbean island and its inhabitants.

I have to start out with some effusive praise of the writing. I’ve read several boring slice-of-life vignettes and travelogues, but this piece of writing was anything but. I can’t quite place the style, but I was able to get a hint of Roald Dahl’s writing in Boy and the first few chapters of Going Solo in the rhetorical flourishes applied to the characters. A bit of Ruskin Bond’s flow in the poems and rhythms applied left, right, and center, which is not to imply a lack of originality. Each character jumps off the page, their images as vivid as the pictures painted by Woolly Hewitt or Darla Trotman. Even though the author does not explicitly describe their physical appearances, one can get a good sense of each one nonetheless. Even the descriptions of places seem to have their own meter, the writing swaying in your head as it gently colours in an increasingly clear outline. The author complements these descriptions with some poetry here and there. I amused myself for a bit by reading the poems out loud, as I believe many others reading this book might do as well.

At the end, though, one puts this book down with a smile on one’s face and a gasp upon the realization that what one thought was five minutes was actually closer to an hour and a half. Reading this book is no effort; it is best described as a joy. It is uplifting, fun to read, and extremely engrossing. A must-read, for sure!

Savyasachee Jha

Ph.D. student working on health systems, but in my spare time, I am a voracious reader of history, philosophy, science, and most importantly, science-fiction and fantasy. I’ve maintained a Goodreads account since around 2015 or so, and I try to review every book I get my hands on!


– David Montgomery, Publisher

Rogues in Paradise will make you laugh and marvel at each story of Barbados’s outrageous characters. The unique islanders jump off the page with high-spirited pranks, sharp wit, uncanny wisdom, joy, and passion. You will love and hate them, and they will forgive you.

Ian writes with keen insight into the irony, humour, and character of everyday people and situations. He brings to life the authentic Barbados, warts and all. It is a Barbados that is not on the tourist map. The people are real and remarkable.

While the book is light, fun, and lyrical, it has a serious tone. Rogues in Paradise interprets history as it relates to the people and culture of the island in the colonial period and after. It offers a unique perspective on heritage and humanity.

Ian’s sharp insight, in-depth observation, and lucid storytelling come from an encyclopedic knowledge of the region and its people. His tales of local characters and legends create a compelling story that celebrates diversity and the human spirit in us all.

David Montgomery, Publisher -The Story of Trinidad

– Author Richard Odey.


Rogues in Paradise delivers an illuminating insider’s view of Barbados infused with lucid history and living memories. It celebrates the defiant spirit of Bajans while examining unflinching themes of adversity, discrimination, and identity with insight and care.

In the captivating travel memoir Rogues in Paradise, author Ian R. Clayton immerses readers in the vibrant history and culture of Barbados. With lyrical prose as smooth as a Bajan rum cocktail, Clayton profiles tenacious locals like the coconut vendor Keith and others, seamlessly blending tales of their grit with insightful social and cultural commentary.

The book shines in its compelling characterization. Through intimate portraits dusted with authentic details, historical, personal, and quotes, ordinary Bajans are brought colorfully to life – their voices as melodic as Calypso music. We ride alongside the mischievous, enterprising he hustles coconuts and sizes up opportunities for a quick buck. And we root for Keith as he defiantly overcomes the odds to become a world-class marathon runner in the class of Eliud Kipchoge, the Greatest Marathoner of the modern age.  There are many others, both extraordinary and ordinary, and their stories represent the heart of Rogues in Paradise – a celebration of the island people who persist with courage and grace, even against cruelty and oppression.

Clayton confronts complex issues of discrimination unflinchingly but with nuance worthy of a tropical storm – turbulent yet mesmerizing. While the lengthy examinations of Barbados’ sociopolitical landscape may be overwhelming, patience yields an appreciation for the author’s eye for vivid accuracy over brevity. Ultimately, Rogues rewards with an exhilarating sense of hope.

Like dipping one’s toes into silky sands on a Barbados beach, sinking fully into the textured history and reporting feels sublime even as it exposes the gritty realities of paradise. Therefore, I unequivocally recommend Rogues in Paradise with 5 shining stars. Rogues in Paradise is a stunning scenic route through Barbados’ essence – her indomitable spirit and the rogues and revolutionaries who color her legacy.

Richard Odey, Author (Nigeria)


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Video Recap of  Reviews


Snippets from Chapter 3  “Two Weeks to Judgement Day” Review video


Acerola (ACE), a charming Rogue, has a special relationship with the law. His crazy antics will amuse you. In “Two weeks to judgment day”,  he contemplates how to get the 500 dollars still to pay. We get inside his head and share his altered state of thinking as he ponders his predicament and his options. His monologue ‘flip,flap,slide and slap’ which he repeats as he strides with purpose down Horse hill is inspired by the sound of his feet on the street.

SEE Acerola Chapter 3 playlist and other chapters >>>>

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NB: The video film will be changed. The current background music videos are primarily local venues, like “Vujaday Music festival,” filmed at live events by the author. Ian R. Clayton

What People Are Saying

-Haley Larkin, Editor, USA
– I like that the story starts with everyday unsung heroes and moves into the more famous individuals, the places, and the raw history. Rogues has a good mix of history and narrative that gets the reader hooked and eager for more – honestly, I couldn’t stop reading. Ians’ voice is strong and engaging, and even the history comes alive with insightful commentary. The authors’ interjections make this an informative and compelling read.

CII Central    –    Media  
– Rogues in Paradise sets a new standard for Travel Literature

Donna Hillyer    –   Editor/Publisher
– I loved how you instantly catapult us into the rhythm of Barbados with Ace, and that carries
through – great imagery/scene-setting.

David Montgomery   –  Publisher  
– Rogues in Paradise is a delightful and amusing book full of insights and intrigue. It is a skilled narrative by Trinidad-born Ian R. Clayton, who moves to the island to build its Tourism Encyclopedia. In the process, he adopts Barbados and falls in love with its people: All the rogues and ordinary/extraordinary rascals he meets along the way.

FriesenPress    –  Publisher
The book playfully interweaves factual narrative with imaginative storytelling and verse. The prose is generally very strong, and the storytelling is highly engaging. You have a knack for collecting and describing the most striking and alluring characteristics of people and places—no doubt a testament to your years in the tourism industry. I was fascinated by the history of chattel houses, for example, and delighted by distinctive local slang such as liming and pompasettin.

The book’s anecdotes and histories are compelling through this storytelling craftsmanship and your narrative perspective; Rogues in Paradise has a playful, celebratory tone that makes the charms of its subject matter irresistible.

For example, at the end of “Pompasettin”:

“She left, giving Mr. Executive a sharp look to make sure he knew his place in the line for coconuts. It was one of those lessons Barbados teaches. You can dress for effect, but no matter how you look and what you do, coconuts are chopped in order of arrival, and your place in the queue is your right.  No one should step out of line in front of a man chopping coconuts with a razor-sharp cutlass—or a woman with an even sharper tongue! “

Here, you have spun a specific case of social etiquette into philosophical but playful insights about knowing your place and getting called out when you don’t.

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Mysterious Eyes Video Rogues in Paradise

The Eyes are a bit foreboding, staring off the screen away from you through the clouds on a misty day. It’s mysterious, the eyes look back at the troubled past, but still, it is paradise.

Upcoming Book by Ian R. Clayton is the true story of Barbados Caribbean rogues, heroes, and everyday people. It is woven with place and history in an epic tale of survival that celebrates cultural identity, friendship, and adventure. More than that, it celebrates the human spirit in us all.

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Media Reviews and Features

TU.TV – References to chilly moos featured in the book – Making ice before refrigeration- links to and Rogues.

TVacres  – Most anticipated books in 2022

Bolsademulher – Eight Fascinating Facts about the Caribbean Island – Features Rogues in Paradise story on African Slaves RoguesinParadise  Sets a New Standard for Travel Literature (Referal via Markhat). features the story of the book – a Lovely first-hand review. Explores the Real Caribbean- Characters and links to Rogues in Paradise. features the new islandmoods technology in Rogues in Paradise Islands Guides

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Review Videos – Book Categories and Themes

A Fun, Provocative True Story of Ordinary People, Rogues, Legends, Place, Culture and History of Barbados

Literary Classification

Travel, Caribbean & West Indies TRV007000
History, Caribbean & West Indies HIS041000
Humor, Cultural, Ethnic & Regional HUM021000

The book categories include – Barbados. Caribbean culture. Character sketches. Travel, Caribbean & West Indies, History, Caribbean & West Indies Humor, Cultural, Ethnic & Regional, Roots, African-Ancesrtry, Caribbean culture, Character sketches, Anecdotal stories, Local colour, Island life, Colonial and postcolonial history.

The themes covered in this The Real Story of Barbados are travel & tourism, adventure, discovery, danger, sailing, climbing, caving, beaches, coconuts, sugar cane, rum, vendors, arts and crafts, food, business, education, colonialism,  slavery, race, freedom, self-government, republic, characters, lifestyles, life-lessons, rogues, knights and heroes.

Rogues goes beyond the Beaches,  into the heart and soul of Barbados with deep Insights into Barbadian History, Culture, and Identity.

For background on how and why the book was written, see Barbados Tourism Encyclopedia Blog


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Chapter Videos >>

See video trailers of some of the chapters >>>>

Table of Contents of the Books Story >>>> 

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