Barry Unsworth’s gripping historical novel about the Atlantic slave trade shared the 1992 Booker Prize with Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient.
Outcast Matthew Paris boards the Liverpool Merchant as ship’s doctor on a slave trade voyage. Illness breaks out, and slaves are ordered to be tossed overboard. Mutiny ensues and, with Paris as one of the leaders, the ship sails for Florida to establish an egalitarian society. Meanwhile, the loss of the ship has ruined its owner, Kemp, who hangs himself. Twelve years later, upon hearing rumours of a utopian interracial community in Florida, Kemp’s son sets out for revenge.