Sugar Money

Based on a remarkable and little-known true story, Jane Harris’s third novel is both a heart-breaking trip into a troubled colonial past, and a stunning act of literary ventriloquism.

‘The Caribbean of the slavery era vividly comes to life … Harris builds a lush sense of place, and the pace and tension of a rip-roaring adventure here, with derring-do and double-crossing and a looming sense of threat and dread from the start… But what is most striking is the irrepressible voice of Lucien — whose highly original multilingual turns of phrase bring a spark and tingle to the telling of his tale – and the fractious but profound relationship he has with the desperate, damaged Emile.’ – The Times

Martinique, 1765, and brothers Emile and Lucien are charged by their French master, Father Cleophas, with a mission. They must return to Grenada, the island they once called home, and smuggle back the 42 slaves claimed by English invaders at the hospital plantation in Fort Royal. While Lucien, barely in his teens, sees the trip as a great adventure, the older and worldlier Emile has no illusions about the dangers they will face. But with no choice other than to obey Cleophas – and sensing the possibility, however remote, of finding his first love Celeste – he sets out with his brother on this ‘reckless venture’.

With great characters, a superb narrative set up, and language that is witty, bawdy and thrillingly alive, Sugar Money is a novel to treasure.