New York, NY: Harper. (2016) First Edition. Signed. As new in dust jacket.
From the author of the highly acclaimed The Story of Land and Sea
comes a captivating novel, set in the late eighteenth-century American
South, that follows a singular group of companions—an escaped slave, a
white orphan, and a Creek Indian—who
are being tracked down for murder.
In 1788, three men converge in the southern woods of what is now
Alabama. Cat, an emotionally scarred white man from South Carolina, is
on the run after abandoning his home. Bob is a talkative black man
fleeing slavery on a Pensacola sugar plantation, Istillicha,
edged out of his Creek town’s leadership, is bound by honor to seek
In the few days they spend together, the makeshift trio commits a
shocking murder that soon has the forces of the law bearing down upon
them. Sent to pick up their trail, a probing French tracker named Le
Clerc must decide which has a greater claim: swift
justice, or his own curiosity about how three such disparate, desperate
men could act in unison.
Katy Simpson Smith skillfully brings into focus men whose lives are
both catastrophic and full of hope—and illuminates the lives of the
women they left behind. Far from being anomalies, Cat, Bob, and
Istillicha are the beating heart of the new America that
Le Clerc struggles to comprehend. In these territories caught between
European, American, and Native nations, a wilderness exists where four
men grapple with the importance of family, the stain of guilt, and the
competing forces of power, love, race, and freedom—questions
that continue to haunt us today.