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Sacred Hunger

Barry Unsworth (Author)


Winner of the 1992 Booker Prize for Fiction: "Possibly the best novel I've read in the last decade."—David Halberstam

Sacred Hunger is a stunning and engrossing exploration of power, domination, and greed. Filled with the "sacred hunger" to expand its empire and its profits, England entered full into the slave trade and spread the trade throughout its colonies. In this Booker Prize-winning work, Barry Unsworth follows the failing fortunes of William Kemp, a merchant pinning his last chance to a slave ship; his son who needs a fortune because he is in love with an upper-class woman; and his nephew who sails on the ship as its doctor because he has lost all he has loved. The voyage meets its demise when disease spreads among the slaves and the captain's drastic response provokes a mutiny. Joining together, the sailors and the slaves set up a secret, utopian society in the wilderness of Florida, only to await the vengeance of the single-minded, young Kemp.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • November 1993
  • ISBN 978-0-393-31114-3
  • 5.5 × 8.3 in / 656 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide excluding Canada and the British Commonwealth.


Endorsements & Reviews

“Wonderful and heartbreaking....It is a book of grace and meditative elegance, and of great moral seriousness.” — New York Times Book Review

“Utterly magnificent....By its last page, you will be close to weeping.” — Washington Post

“This brilliantly suspenseful period piece about the slave trade in the 18th century is also a meditation on how avarice dehumanizes the oppressor as well as the oppressed.” — Chicago Tribune

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