Congo Jack: A Novel

Overview

Indeed, Madu's fortune had changed! Enslaved by his tribe in Nigeria, then captured, transported, and sold as a slave to the British army on the island of Dominica in the New World, he now belonged. He had stature, he strutted in the glory of the uniform of the all-black British Eighth West India Regiment. The lowly field negroes feared and hated the regiment. Even lower-ranked white soldiers obeyed the commands of black sergeants. Had they not given him a new name, Congo Jack? Had he not performed valiantly at ...
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Overview

Indeed, Madu's fortune had changed! Enslaved by his tribe in Nigeria, then captured, transported, and sold as a slave to the British army on the island of Dominica in the New World, he now belonged. He had stature, he strutted in the glory of the uniform of the all-black British Eighth West India Regiment. The lowly field negroes feared and hated the regiment. Even lower-ranked white soldiers obeyed the commands of black sergeants. Had they not given him a new name, Congo Jack? Had he not performed valiantly at the Battle of St. Martin against the French? And Jubba Lily loved him! After he was enrolled in the army in 1799 his new life so consumed him that he could scarcely remember his old name, Madu, or his tribe, Margi. The regiment was now his tribe. And then, the night of 9 April 1802. Mutiny! The regiment in rebellion. Jack an unknowing participant. And now, Jack in a guardhouse cell, being tried at army court-martial with six of his comrades, their lives dependent on the trial defense mounted by the enigmatic Souverine Petro. Set on the broad canvas of Africa and the West Indies in a time of slavery, war, and revolutionary change, Congo Jack looks into the heart and mind of a stolen African, a "memory man" who could recount for hours the history and folktales of his tribe, but who as a soldier was reduced to the meager words of pidgin English. But as Jack thinks, we hear language that is rich and insightful, and insight is what he needs if he is to redeem himself from his unwitting role in support of slavery.

Based on the slave uprising in 1802, when a group of African solider-slaves on the British West Indian island of Dominica revolted and captured the island's military base, Roger Norman Buckley's debut, Congo Jack, is narrated from jail by the eponymous slave, mistakenly charged with commanding the uprising. Awaiting his trail, Jack reflects on his adult life as a slave, first in Africa then in the West Indies, and on the slave woman he loves. This forgotten historical event is indeed gripping, but one wonders if Jack's musing, reflective and often passive voice does the remarkable story justice.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780963247650
  • Publisher: Pinto Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/1997
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 6.26 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 1.03 (d)

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