Bristol in 1787 is booming, from its stinking docks to its elegant new houses. Josiah Cole, a small dockside trader, is prepared to gamble everything to join the big players of the city. But he needs ready cash and a well-connected wife. An arranged marriage to Frances Scott is a mutually convenient solution. Trading her social contacts for Josiah's protection, Frances enters the world of the Bristol merchants and finds her life and fortune dependent on the respectable trade of sugar, rum, and slaves.
Into her new world comes Mehuru, once a priest in the ancient African kingdom of Yoruba. From opposite ends of the earth, despite the enmity of slavery, Mehuru and Frances confront each other and their need for love and liberty.
Once again, Philippa Gregory brings her unique combination of a vivid sense of history and inimitable storytelling skills to illuminate a complex period of our past. Powerful, haunting, intensely disturbing, this is a novel of desire and shame, of individuals, of a society, and of a whole continent devastated by the greed of others.
©1995 Philippa Gregory Ltd (P)1997 HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
"Philippa Gregory is a very good storyteller indeed." (Sunday Times)
"Rich, melodious, and supple prose...compelling and intelligent." (The Times)
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