Winner of the Booker Prize
Liverpool, 1752. William Kemp has lost a fortune in cotton speculation, and must recoup his losses if his son is to marry the wealthy woman whom he loves. His last resort is a slave ship, one that will take him to the Guinea coast, where he will trade for human cargo, then embark on the infamous Middle Passage. When disease ravages the ship and the African prisoners mutiny, William's profit-seeking venture falls apart. Slaves and sailors alike will join together to found a utopian community on the coast of Florida--not knowing that the vengeful, younger Kemp is in pursuit. Unsworth's tour de force is a profound meditation on the sacred hunger--the greed--couched within human nature, animating the slave trade. It is a novel that transcends its setting, illuminating larger truths that resonate to this day.