In my 60,000-word historical novel, Cassius needs a plan, a fail-safe plan to save himself and his family from certain death. Until now this virile man has lived on a plantation boldly established as a safe haven for slaves. Tanglewood is owned by John Livingston, his beloved childhood friend. Cassius and his son are talented canine and equine trainers who clinch the annual horse race for John. The defeated neighbor seeks revenge, and together with John’s greedy wife murders Livingston to take over Tanglewood. Now in grave danger of being sold and torn from his family, Cassius must seize control of his future.
He conspires a vengeful, torturous death for the killer despite the hangman’s rope that awaits. Following the crime, he must flee with his son and pregnant wife to face the challenges of the Underground Railroad. This journey reunites him with his mother when they cross the Ohio River. She is a seasoned conductor on the UGR, aided by a Shawnee native whose instincts complement her Tubman-like strength. The tribal leader travels with his beautiful daughter, and Cassius’ son falls in love with her.
They reach a safe house where they find Cassius’ ex-lover, the mother of his son. When he recognizes her, his heart is gripped by memories. He knows her well and senses trouble ahead. She still desires him and plots a way to get him back and secure her freedom. A dealmaker for the bounty hunters, she must deliver their prize.
Tanglewood is a cross between Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup and Grace by Natashia Deon. In preparing to write this book, I read many of the published slave narratives. Moved by their eloquence and strength, I felt compelled to honor their lives with this work.
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