"The Book of Negroes: Illustrated Edition" by Lawrence Hill

Abducted from her West African village at eleven-years-old, Aminata Diallo is forced into slavery on an indigo plantation in South Carolina. Trapped in a lifetime of slavery, Aminata draws on the strength of her ancestors and the skills she learned as young girl to improve her life as best as she can given the violence and constraints that surround her. Her determination lands her the opportunity to register her name in the Book of Negroes, a historic British military ledger allowing three thousand Black Loyalists passage on ships sailing from Manhattan to Nova Scotia.

The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill takes the reader on an incredible journey from West Africa, to an American plantation, on to a small community in Nova Scotia, the coast of Sierra Leone in West Africa and finally to London, England. The journey belongs to fictional character Aminata Diallo but is that of the thousands of Africans forced into slavery.

This book is an incredible work of historical fiction. Having studied African History in university I was instantly drawn to this book and it did not disappoint. In fact, this is the best book, fiction or non-fiction, I have read on this subject. And the illustrated edition brings the book to life, making it an incredible keepsake edition.

The book contains over 100 images - early documents, maps, archival photos, period paintings and actual pages from the original handwritten Book of Negroes. These are the images that inspired Lawrence Hill and the ones he drew from to craft the story of Aminata.

If you enjoyed reading The Book of Negroes the first time around you will love this version as it brings the story to life. If you haven't read the book, you must pick it up. This is a fascinating story, one of depth and length that will keep you engrossed until the very last page. The illustrated version is a must-read for any history lover.


  1. This sounds like a really interesting read, thanks for the great review.

  2. I read the non-illustrated version and loved it ... now I want to read the illustrated version, it sounds really interesting! Nice review. :)

  3. I enjoyed the original, my only complaint being the coincidental opportunities constantly offered to Aminata. But I suppose one can chalk them up to a device to move the plot through so many of the African experiences in early America.

    This illustrated version sounds like it is well worth it to take a second look at this novel.

  4. Mine arrived! It's not the illustrated edition but the pages are different. They seem weathered, but intentionally. I can't wait to get to it!

  5. This sounds like it would be a good book club read. Apart from being abducted from their home land, I think it must have been such a shock to end up in a cold area like Nova Scotia.

  6. That sounds really amazing. I just read Sacred Hunger by Barry Unsworth about the British slave trade. This looks like it would be a good companion to that one.

  7. I loved The Book of Negroes and can see how an illustrated edition would really improve it. I'll keep an eye out for a copy as I think it would be good to see what they include.

  8. I am lucky enough to have the illustrated version too and agree that it adds a lot to the story. So very good. One of the best books I've ever read.


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