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Posted April 28, 2007
This title will surprise most readers, albeit in different -- and hopefully numerous -- ways. The story, set mostly in coastal New Hampshire during the Revolutionary War era, follows the quest of Will Clarkson, an actual slave owned by the author's ancestors, for his freedom beginning with his capture in Africa. The same things that drove author Clarkson to write about, and apparently identify with, the slave Clarkson will likely keep most readers captivated. Neither of the two Clarksons manage to come up with a singular answer that explains what compelled the people of the time to create and sustain slavery...but they both explore the subtleties, nuances, ironies, hypocrisies, and inertial forces that empowered what we, today, consider such an obviously reprehensible institution. The story is for all Americans...as its unconventional setting (both temporal and geographical) aid the reader in seeing how the legacy of slavery in America transcends time and place...and even reaches its dark hand into the hearts and minds of all of us today. Don't look for a sermon here. Author Clarkson's success -- like Slave Clarkson's goal -- is to get people to step back and take a look at slavery from a different perspective. What the reader takes from this story is up to the reader. The author also weaves a number of Revolutionary War battles into the story as Will Clarkson takes up arms to fight for the colonists' freedom, providing an added bonus for readers who enjoy battlefield accounts. Yet for those of us (like me) who aren't partial to such accounts, the author keeps us engaged by delivering comprehensible descriptions of the battles and keeping the storyline -- and the evolution of the main character -- the central focus throughout these military engagements. Readers will also appreciate the author's generous endnotes that explain in a most satisfying detail where the lines between fact and fiction are drawn, with sources cited for the historical intersections and explanations for his detours and bridges and side passages as he spins his captivating tale.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.