This novel is written “around” slavery and the underground railroad, rooted in the state of Virginia. The main character, Hiram, whose father is the owner of the plantation on which he “tasks” and whose mother is a slave who was put on the auction block by his father when he was still a child. Virginia society is distinctly divided into 1) the Quality, 2) the Low Whites, and 3) the Tasked or Tasking.
In a way, this is a coming-of-age novel–one in which a young person navigates an extraordinary set of circumstances, armed with an extraordinary capability. He struggles to understand and control his power of “conduction” throughout the book. Family, love, loyalty, respect for humanity, dedication to a cause…this story has it all. It’s well worth your reading time.
I listened to the audiobook, which is read by Joe Morton. I don’t often focus on the readers, but this one was especially good. His bio says that he “has an extensive list of film and television credits”.