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July 6, 2010 / C.T. Henry

CURRENTLY READING: Sweetsmoke by David Fuller

Synopsis:
‘I will just come out and say it, Cassius.’ Hoke hesitated, and Cassius saw a tremor in his hand. Apparently the news had been a blow to Hoke as well. ‘She is dead Cassius, that is all there is to it, Emoline Justice is dead, and that is that.’

The year is 1862, and the Civil War is in full flame. Cassius Howard, a slave and carpenter on a tobacco plantation, risks everything – extreme punishment, sale to a cotton plantation, even his life – to learn the truth concerning the murder of a freed black woman, a woman who secretly taught him to read and once saved his life. No one gives a damn about her small, rude, unimportant death in the midst of a brutal and hellish war. No one but Cassius, who braves unimaginable dangers to escape the plantation and avenge her death. With subtlety and beauty set against an epic backdrop, Sweetsmoke captures eloquently the daily indignities and harrowing losses suffered by slaves, the turmoil of a country waging countless wars within itself, and the lives of those people fighting for identity, for salvation, and for freedom.

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