An NPR Best Book of the Year
A wildly original, incendiary story about race, redemption, the dangerous imbalances that continue to destabilize society, and speaking out for what’s right.
One could argue the story begins the night Allegra Douglass is awarded Distinguished Chair in Philosophy at her top-tier university in New York—the same night her grandmother dies—or before that: the day Allie left Birmingham and never looked back. Or even before that: the day her mother disappeared. But for our purposes Allie’s story begins at the end, when she is finally ready to tell her version of what happened with a white supremacist named Matthew Strong.
From the beginning, Allie had the clues: in a spate of possibly connected disappearances of other young Black women; in a series of recently restored plantation homes; in letters outlining an uprising; in maps of slave trade routes and old estates; in hidden caves and buried tunnels; and finally, in a confessional that should never have existed. They just have to make a case strong enough for the FBI and police to listen. This is when Allie herself disappears.
Allie is a survivor. She survived the newly post-Jim Crow south, she survived cancer, and she will survive being stalked and kidnapped by Matthew Strong, who seeks to ignite a revolution. The surprise in this doesn’t lie in the question of will she be taken; it lies in how she and her community outsmart a tactical madman.