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In 1862, Cassius Howard toils on a tobacco plantation while the Civil War rages, consuming men in its wake. His skill and hard work have made him his master's favorite, but he's unwilling to test that goodwill -- at least not consciously. But when he discovers that a woman who once saved his life has been murdered, Cassius no longer has the stomach to sit quietly and watch the degradation of his people. Intent on hunting for the murderer, he finds a surprising ally in Quashee, a new field hand, and discovers feelings for this young woman he no longer thought himself capable of. This new affection, however, makes a fierce and formidable enemy of his master and threatens the search Cassius has only just begun.
Sweetsmoke is a magnetic, captivating, and meticulously researched debut novel. Fuller has crafted an unforgettable portrait of slavery and a country in turmoil, creating a drama of love and kinship and bringing to life an indelible character in Cassius Howard. (Holiday 2008 Selection)