In one of the most acclaimed novels in recent memory, Edward P. Jones, a two-time National Book Award Finalist introduces us to Henry Townsend, a black farmer, boot maker and former slave who falls under the tutelage of William Robbins, the most powerful man in Jones’s fictitious Manchester County, Virginia. Making certain he never circumvents the law, Townsend runs his affairs with unusual discipline. But his widow, Caldonia, can’t uphold the order he has imposed on his estate and it begins to fall apart shortly after his death. Slaves take to escaping under the cover of night, and families who had once found love beneath the weight of slavery begin to betray one another. Beyond the Townsend estate, the known world also unravels: low-paid white patrollers stand watch as slave “speculators” sell free black people into slavery, and rumors of slave rebellions set white families against slaves who have served them for years.