This bi-family generational saga begins in the 1700s. The British have established Cape Coast Castle in Ghana. Because of Effia’s mother’s cunning plan, Effia is married to an Englishman and moves away from her Asante tribe to live with her new husband in Coast Castle. Esi begins the journey of the second family. She’s locked up below Coast Castle with hundreds of others awaiting shipment to another part of the world and a life of slavery.
The lives of these two families continue to the present day with each chapter centered around the following generation.
In the 1500s in Morocco, Mustafa ibn Muhammad is a kind older brother to his twin brothers and a successful merchant. But when he loses his position due to difficult times, he is forced to sell himself into slavery so that his mother and brothers will not starve. After several years he becomes part of an expedition to New Spain (today’s Southern U.S.A.) led by de Narvaez who plans to capture the land for the Spanish crown and become as famous as Cortes. But once they land in New Florida starvation and disease force the contingent to steal and plunder whatever they can from Indian tribes. Within a year only four have survived: Mustafa (who was reassigned a new name — Estebanico), his master, Dorantes, Cabeza de Vaco and Castillo. Will they ever be able to return to their native countries or will they too, die from disease or at the hands of Indians? This is a fascinating account seen through the eyes of Mustafa/Estebanico a desperate survivor who only hopes for his freedom from bondage.
This is a generational saga of Tademy’s family beginning during the slave era in the United States. We learn the struggles of four prominent women who fought for their freedom while at the same time trying to keep their family together. This is an interesting account because it examines in depth, the lives these women led and how often they were tied to their masters.
Isaiah and Samuel only know the names they’ve been given by their master, Paul, who owns a southern cotton plantation. They know nothing of their past. They are assigned to the barn to tend the animals where Paul plans to use them as breeding stock to enrich his plantation with more slaves. But once the pair mature, their love for each other deepens. When Amos learns of their conduct behind closed doors, he preaches to the rest of the slaves that they are evil. Many turn their backs of Isaiah and Samuel and they become more isolated. But their love for each other sustains them until Timothy, Paul’s only son, returns from the north after completing his education. One night, when he spies the pair entwined in each other arms, their lives change, and will never be the same again.
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