"Those shackles didn't rob us of being black, son, they robbed us of being human."This is the story of one family. A family whose history saw its first ancestor captured, shackled, and brought to this country from Africa. A family who can still see remnants of the shackles that held some of its members captive -- even today. It is a story of pride, determination, struggle, and love. And of the piece of the land that holds them together throughout it all.
This book is an astounding fictional study of the African-American Lewis family traced through two hundred and forty years. Myers wrote this novel to express the changes he saw in the texture of life from one generation to another. He succeeds brilliantly because of the authenticity of his characters; from Muhammad, brought in leg irons from Sierra Leone, Africa, to Curry Island, South Carolina, in 1753, to his descendant, urban-dweller Malcolm, who blends techniques to compose his own kind of music in 1994, and battles to bring his drug-addicted cousin to their family reunion. Myers never lectures; he only creates a stage for his heros and heroines to tell history. His characters expose differences of culture and sentiment by their actions and decisions, while struggling against the societal constraints of each period. They all show love for, and pride in, a family that builds a reputation of self-respect and determination through successive generations.