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It is 1830. Rutherford Calhoun, a newly treed slave and irrepressible rogue, is desperate to escape unscrupulous bill collectors and an impending marriage to a priggish schoolteacher. He jumps aboard the first boat leaving New Orleans, the Republic, a slave ship en route to collect members of a legendary African tribe, the Allmuseri. Thus begins a daring voyage of horror and self-discovery.
Peopled with vivid and unforgettable characters, nimble in its interplay of comedy and serious ideas, this dazzling modern classic is a perfect blend of the picaresque tale, historical romance, sea yarn, slave narrative, and philosophical novel.
Interweaving the real and the surreal, Charles Johnson spins eight extraordinary tales of transformations and metamorphoses.
An Illinois farmer teaches a young slave everything he knows—with fatal consequences. A young boy growing to manhood as a country sorcerer’s apprentice learns the difference between power and strength. From the first piece to the last, these stories capture very real human experiences in a new and startling light.