A Cage Without Bars begins in 1492, when Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain sign the Edict of Expulsion, giving all Jews three months to leave the country. Joseph Belifonte, a twelve-year-old boy, travels to Lisbon, Portugal with his parents and younger sister, Gracia. However, after eight months, Joseph and Gracia, along with hundreds of other Jewish children, are kidnapped. They are put on a ship and taken to the island of Sao Tomé, off the coast of West Africa. They are forcibly baptized and worked as slaves on the sugar plantation. This historical novel tells their story.