Our Bookseller says:
Begin The World Over is like a dream come true… or perhaps America’s worst nightmare. This “counterfactual novel” has it all: queer romance, sumptuous food writing, seafaring interpersonal drama, a bejeweled prophetess, and oh yeah — a revenge quest against Andrew Jackson that culminates in a knife fight on a Federalist-era battlefield! Hands down, Kung Li Sun’s deeply researched debut is the best historical fiction I’ve read in ages and a PERFECT addition to the Emergent Strategy series. Brimming with an infectious revolutionary fervor, Begin the World Over is alt-history of the best sort: angry, hopeful, high concept, and gay as hell. – Terry
Begin the World Over is a counterfactual novel about the Founders’ greatest fear—that Black and Indigenous people might join forces to undo the newly formed United States of America—coming true.
In 1793, as revolutionaries in the West Indies take up arms, James Hemings has little interest in joining the fight for liberté—talented and favored, he is careful to protect his relative comforts as Thomas Jefferson’s enslaved chef. But when he meets Denmark Vesey, James is immediately smitten. The formidable first mate persuades James to board his ship, on its way to the revolt in Saint-Domingue. There and on the mainland they join forces with a diverse cast of characters, including a gender nonconforming prophetess, a formerly enslaved jockey, and a Muskogee horse trader. The resulting adventure masterfully mixes real historical figures and events with a riotous retelling of a possible history in which James must decide whether to return to his constrained but composed former life, or join the coalition of Black revolutionaries and Muskogee resistance to fight the American slavers and settlers.