Reviewed in the United States on December 22, 2006
I had never heard of the St. John's slave revolt in 1733. The book tells the story of Raisha, the daughter of a lesser Barato chief, beginning in Africa. The first chapter tells of the events leading to their being sold into slavery, and pictures her life of freedom. The horrors of the voyage and the terror of being sold are brought to life. Cruelty was apparently common, and the life of the slaves was held in small regard. Raisha was betrothed to a chief in her former life in Africa, and they are sold to the same plantation. He escapes before too long, and heads the slave revolt from Mary Point. After new and harsh slave laws are passed, Raisha escapes also. A preacher marries her and Konje in the camp as they prepare for the revolt. At last, a French ship of war from the nearby island of Martinique arrives. The French soldiers come to the slave camp to end the revolt, but things turn out differently than they expect. Konje realizes the futility of resistance, and as the soldiers watch, the entire camp jump from the cliff to their deaths below rather than return to slavery. Raisha alone, knowing she is a carrying a child, refuses to commit suicide. She is taken to Martinique where she and her child are freed after a year.
The book is not a pleasurable read, due to the horror described throughout. There is love too, but the whole story is a tragedy. It would be a good book to introduce the St. John's revolt, and to learn more about the time and customs.