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In 1788, three men converge in the southern woods of what is now Alabama. Cat, an emotionally scarred white man from South Carolina, is on the run after abandoning his home. Bob is a talkative black man fleeing slavery on a Pensacola sugar plantation. Istillicha, edged out of his Creek town's leadership, is bound by honor to seek retribution.
In the few days they spend together, the makeshift trio commits a shocking murder that soon has the forces of the law bearing down upon them. Sent to pick up their trail, a probing French tracker named Le Clerc must decide which has a greater claim: swift justice or his own curiosity about how three such disparate, desperate men could act in unison.
Katy Simpson Smith skillfully brings into focus men whose lives are both catastrophic and full of hope - and illuminates the lives of the women they left behind. Far from being anomalies, Cat, Bob, and Istillicha are the beating heart of the new America that Le Clerc struggles to comprehend. In these territories caught between European, American, and Native nations, a wilderness exists where four men grapple with the importance of family, the stain of guilt, and the competing forces of power, love, race, and freedom - questions that continue to haunt us today.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By izzie on 09-13-16
Love of life
Would you consider the audio edition of Free Men to be better than the print version?
yes, better enjoyment. I love listening to a story telling
What did you like best about this story?
humans need of love life and sharing
What about the narrators’s performance did you like?
The changes in character voice you knew who was talking
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
yes, cry for everyone in each person's life sadness and each just wanted to belong for freedom, love,bravery
By SydSavvy on 06-28-16
A book of Then for Now
At a time when we really seem to be making progress in discussing and dealing with our diversity in some surprising and amazing ways (i.e., Hamilton), I hope this book doesn't get lost in the crowd with the many nonessential books out there.
I started this with audio but then realized I was lost and didn't want to be, plus I really liked it so I bought the book. I had to glance back at a few places and then savor some of the words, and then it just took off for me and I loved it. (Both Audio and Hardback and Kindle).
What would you do for freedom? What does freedom even mean?
This book lyrically poses those questions while telling the stories of the "free" men and women. It became a surprisingly fast read, once I got the speakers straight. I think this is because Le Clerc's hunt for the men dangles such a good hook that I was caught like a hungry little trout.
*one thing* I personally think it should have ended without the epilogue. I wonder what others think?
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