Sacred Hunger

Barry Unsworth (1992)

Though a bit slow to get started, this is an engrossing read, full of memorable characters and adventure. The story of a slave trade ship begins in England with the construction of the vessel and ends with the hull, wrecked and abandoned off the coast of Florida, the crew and “cargo” having mysteriously disappeared.

Benefiting from much research by the author, the reader experiences the horrible conditions of life aboard ship and the even more horrible practice of capturing African natives and stowing them below decks. When the ship nears the American colonies, the story takes an interesting turn involving the formation of an almost utopian society, and one man’s obsession with recollecting his “property” and punishing the man he holds responsible for the loss of his ship.

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