Friday, July 15, 2016

Underground Airlines

Slavery. Fiction that relies on alternative history can attract or repel readers when a premise may be seen as too unlikely or as very plausible. The key premise in Ben Winters’ novel, Underground Airlines, is that the Civil War didn’t happen, and that slavery continued in four southern states. With that premise fixed, Winters creates a world that seemed totally plausible to me, and one in which the motivation and behavior of all characters makes a great deal of sense. Protagonist Victor is a bounty hunter for the U.S. Marshalls Service, hunting for a runaway slave. The plot remains thrilling throughout the novel, the characters are consistently complex and believable, and the longing for freedom remains as strong in this alternative reality as ever it has been in our known reality. Given the complexity of contemporary race relations, this novel is timely and uncomfortable, which seems just right. Rating: Five-star (I love it) Click here to purchase Underground Airlines from

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