Categories: Fiction - Literary
March, 1850. In the tense days before the Civil War, a slave breakout in the labyrinthine swamps of Maryland’s eastern shore sets loose a riveting drama of violence, hope, and redemption among slave catchers, plantation owners, watermen, runaway slaves, and free blacks. Liz Spocott, a beautiful runaway slave, shot and near death, is wracked by disturbing visions of the future as she lies shackled to an old woman in the prison attic of the notorious female slave-trader Patty Cannon and her gang. The ancient nameless woman reveals “the Code,” a fiercely guarded cryptic means of communication for slaves on the run. Armed with an array of words that she does not understand, Liz escapes once again, but now must evade an enraged Patty Cannon and a new nemesis, Denwood Long–a troubled slave catcher and waterman, who is coaxed out of retirement to break the Code. As she makes her desperate run, Liz is thrust upon the denizens of the swampy peninsula: the handsome slave Amber, the terrifyingly wild Woolman, the widowed Kathleen Sullivan. Meanwhile Liz’s extraordinary dreams of tomorrow create a freedom-seeking furor among the once complacent slave community. The mysterious disappearance of two children, one white and one black, seeds an explosive ending.

Filled with rich history–much of the story is drawn from historical events–and told in McBride’s signature lyrical style, SONG YET SUNG brings into full view a world long misunderstood in American fiction. This is a story of tragic triumph, violent decisions, and unexpected kindness.