Wednesday, October 1, 2014

All Saints' Rising | Madison Smartt Bell

I was a little daunted by the size of this book, it's 530 pages. But as I began to read this epic historical novel I was swept away by the well written account of the Haitian slave uprising in the late 1700's and early 1800's. The research involved would have been a huge undertaking in and of itself, but the author has done a seamless job of balancing historical detail and fictionalising characters to engage the reader.

I knew very little of what happened in Haiti before and during its bid for independence. Brutal and violent, savage and indiscriminate all parties involved were intent on massacres and torture to bring about their desired government.

The slaves rebelled against the white plantation owners who had oppressed them for centuries. The whites fought between themselves, the French against the English. Mixed up with all that were the Mulattos and other mixed race people. All in all a great knot of belief and histories and philosophies all trying to untangle themselves and gain the upper hand.

Well worth investing the time to read, and as it's so well crafted, it won't take very long. Interesting from a historical point of view and the characters are so well portrayed, the reader engages with them and cares deeply about their fate.

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