The Abduction of Smith and Smith is Rashad Harrison's second novel.
1868. The Civil War has ended. Jupiter Smith a former slave, is a free man. But he's now making his living by selling others into servitude - he shanghais unsuspecting men from the brothels, bars and opium dens of San Francisco and sells them to ship captains in need of a crew. Jupiter is also looking for his wife - it's been seven long years since he has seen her. But , someone else is looking for Jupiter as well - Archer, the son of his former master, the Colonel, - and his half brother. For you see, Jupiter killed the Colonel. The tables are turned when both Jupiter and Archer are 'crimped'onto a ship with a captain of questionable standards.
That's the backbone of the story, but there is so much more. Rollicking is word that comes to mind. Pirates, magicians, convicts, gun runners and more - everyone has their own agenda and their own pockets to fill. But amongst all that, it is the relationship between Jupiter and Archer that is the constant. Can they keep each other alive? Come to terms with their relationship? Harrison explores slavery, love, hate, loyalty, family and more with his characters. The time frame and multiple settings also allows Harrison to also explore the changing and growing nation in many facets, as well as farther afield.
I quite enjoyed Jupiter as a character, with Captain Barrett a close second. (He's got more lives than a cat, a finger in every pie and a deal in every port) The Abduction of Smith and Smith is a busy book. The plot is wide and far reaching, sometimes stretching credibility, but always entertaining. Things slow down a bit in the last few chapters with a more serious tone as memories and resolution come together for Jupiter. I did find the timeline of some of these final chapters a bit confusing.
The Abduction of Smith and Smith fell outside of my regular reading tastes, but I really enjoyed it. It's refreshing to not be able to predict what is going to happen in a book. Read an excerpt of The Abduction of Smith and Smith.
Rashad Harrison was the Jacob K. Javits Fellow in fiction at New York University. He is the author of the acclaimed novel Our Man in the Dark (2011) and The Abduction of Smith and Smith (2015). He and his family currently live in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can connect with Rashad Harrison on his website, oron Twitter ,as well as on Facebook. See what others on the TLC book tour thought - full schedule can be found here.