CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF PICADOR BOOKS
Winner of the National Book Award 1990
The Apocalypse would definitely put a crimp in my career plans.
Rutherford Calhoun, a puckish rogue and newly freed slave, spends his days loitering around the docks of New Orleans, dodging debt collectors, gangsters, and Isadora Bailey, a prim and frugal woman who seeks to marry him and curb his mischievous instincts. When the heat from these respective pursuers becomes too much to bear, he cons his way on to the next ship leaving the dock: the Republic. Upon boarding, to his horror he discovers that he is on an illegal slave ship embarking on the Middle Passage, the portion of the triangular trade route that saw slaves transported from Africa to the US.
Staffed by a crew of criminals and degenerates, the Republic is on a mission to enslave members of the legendary Allmuseri tribe, while the sadistic yet philosophical Captain Falcon has a secondary objective: securing a mysterious cargo that possesses a terrifying and otherworldly power. What follows is a story of Rutherford’s battle for survival, as he finds himself juggling loyalties between the ship’s crew and the enslaved passengers, and is forced to use every ounce of the charm and cunning that he possesses to endure the desperate conditions and battle the myriad deadly forces on the high seas.
A masterful blend of allegory, black comedy, naval adventure and supernatural horror, this wildly inventive novel is a true modern classic.
Part of the Picador Collection, a new series showcasing the best of modern literature.