Sunday, November 9, 2014
Crimson Angel by Barbara Hambly
The latest in Hambly's historical mystery series featuring Benjamin January, a free man of color struggling to earn a living for his family in antebellum New Orleans, is uncompromising in its portrayal of the rank injustice, hypocrisy and brutality that was entrenched in law and custom in early America. It was a time when slaves and females were legally chattel, to be disposed of entirely at the will of their masters or male guardians. With few exceptions, neither a slave nor a woman, no matter how grossly mistreated, could expect anyone to help them escape their abusers.
The mystery involves Ben, his wife Rose, and their friend the white fiddler Hannibal Sefton, in a desperate flight from New Orleans to Cuba to the island of Sante Domingue and the free black Republic of Haiti. They are searching for a legendary family treasure left behind when Rose's French great-grandfather fled the violent slave revolt of 1791 --- and for proof of a terrible family secret associated with the treasure that --- almost fifty years later --- has put Rose and Ben in peril of their lives.
Hambly is an excellent writer and her Benjamin January novels expose parts of the American experience that are too often glossed over, and bring them vividly and unforgettably to life.
Click HERE and HERE for reviews of Crimson Angel.