The darkest time in American history comes alive in Hambley's unforgettable series of mysteries, of which this is the fourth, after Graveyard Dust. In 1835 New Orleans, Benjamin January is a Paris-educated surgeon and musician, but he's also a former slave. Along with white American policeman Abishag Shaw, Ben is asked to help out on an investigation into possible sabotage and murder at a sugar plantation up the river from the city. The catch is that the person asking is his former owner, the thoroughly evil Simon Fourchet. Ben must go to Fourchet's plantation, Mon Triomphe, and work undercover as a slave, chopping the sugarcane in the fields. Ben agrees to take on the dreadful job because he knows that if the "hoodoo" isn't found quickly, the lives and well-being of many slaves will be in jeopardy. Already, "les blankittes" (the whites) believe a slave revolt is brewing on the plantation, and their punishment of the slaves will surely be terrible if more incidents occur. In order to learn the truth, Ben has to undergo all the appalling and humiliating experiences that the plantation slaves routinely endure. Hambly's fiercely burning picture of the horrors of slavery inevitably overwhelms the specifics of the plot, but she evokes the period marvelously, piling detail upon detail to create a finely wrought portrait of the daily lives of slaves on the notorious Louisiana sugar plantations. And her mastery of the slave songs, the backbreaking labor of the harvest, the African-French-Creole culture and the medicine (both traditional and voodoo) is astonishing. (July)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
The latest in Hambly's series featuring freed slave and sleuth Benjamin January is difficult to read, given its graphic depiction of the horrors of slavery. Reluctantly, January agrees to go undercover as a slave for his former owner, Simon Fourchet, to help determine who is sabotaging the cruel owner's plantation. January's motivation is not to help Fourchet, of course, but to stop the reprisals that the slaves will undergo until the guilty party is found. Hambly has done her research, and her depictions of what slaves endured in nineteenth-century New Orleans are brutally realistic. Every bit as jarring as the physical torture is the psychological abuse January must absorb from Fourchet and his despicable henchmen. Hambly effectively combines three genres--mystery, historical fiction, mainstream melodrama--in this disturbing but quite moving story. Jenny McLarin
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Being both a U.S. history buff and a mystery fan, I expected to love this book. I gave up after slogging through 150 pages. Read morePublished on May 13 2002
Being a US History buff, I am always eager to read historical fiction to see how well the writing exemplifies the time period in which it is set. Ms. Read morePublished on Dec 2 2001 by Linda A. Roush
As a mystery writer whose works address social themes, I greatly admire this effort by Barbara Hambly. Read morePublished on July 5 2001 by Kent Braithwaite
This Benjamin January mystery provides a smooth novel of suspense set in New Orleans and steeped with drama and tension. Read morePublished on Jan. 22 2001 by Midwest Book Review
Despite it's graphic details of the realities and humiliation of slavery, I found this book to be a very good read. It kept me guessing until the end. Read morePublished on Nov. 1 2000
Benjamin January was a slave who had been treated brutally by his former master Simon Fourchet. Fortunately for him he had been sold to another master who sent him to Paris... Read morePublished on Sept. 4 2000 by Affaire de Coeur
When January -- "stepped out into the yard straight into the midst of -------------." I gasped out loud, "Oh no" and shut the book afraid to go on reading. Read morePublished on Aug. 12 2000 by Barbara Noble
I have waited long for another Hambly book. After Dragonbane where the characters were so real and moving, to find a very complex, exciting, capable and intricate character in... Read morePublished on July 31 2000 by Jo Ann Rosenfeld