A savagely real novel of degradation, violence and slaves without chains.
They were the hunted, the outcasts, the men who had fired guns too quickly and the woman who had been raped too often. There was no place for them in the white world. They were free black men and women driven to a womb of hell by incredible brutality – and their only salvation lay in the merciless justice of the swamp itself.
Survival of the fittest:
No white man had ever wanted Hellbottom swamp. Not even the land-hungry hordes of newly freed slaves tried to settle it. But the outcasts, the hunted, did – and it changed them.
They became hard, wary, their eyes caught the smallest movements, their ears the slightest sounds. The swamp punished even the most simple mistakes with death, so they, like all other creatures in Hellbottom, were the finest of their kind. They were black, ruthless, deadly and waiting . . . and one day the hunters came.
Vulture: A black giant of a man who’d gone to war for his freedom, then brought his hopes of a new world to the halls of Congress only to be betrayed. Now he was back home – in a world that wanted him dead.
Comfort: She was strong, powerful and needed no man. If she took one – when she took one – it was on her terms. As Vulture learned. In the end, her grief and her rage at the whites over what they had ripped away from her would know no limits.
Woodson: Once he had lived to fight. Blind to the color of the troops he had led as a white officer in the war, he had cared only that they fight well and survive. Now all he wanted peace. But neither side would give him that.
Thistle: The conjure-woman loved her preacher husband. But when he dragged her to a stream and forced baptism upon her she was terrified that her powers had been stolen away from her and that she could not protect him or her children any longer.
And many more, all of them living and loving in Hellbottom swamp.
Waiting for the day they knew would come – and did.