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Reviewed by Gisela Dixon for Readers' Favorite
Dark Knowledge by Clifford Browder is a historical fiction novel set in New York around the American Civil War era. Dark Knowledge is the story of Chris Harmony and his search for his family’s roots and secrets. Chris is a young man who has always been proud of and inspired by his family that has been in the shipping industry for the last three generations. After Chris’s father passes away, he comes across a chest with old shipping papers that motivate him to research and write about his family’s history, which he had been told was one of glory on the sea. However, as soon as his uncle hears of the plan, he tries to steal the chest. Chris manages to hold on to the chest and with the help of his sister, Sal, starts uncovering a wealth of lies and the ugly reality that his family, for generations, has in fact been involved in the slave trade and human trafficking of African-Americans. This is the story of Chris and his quest for the truth, with many surprises and twists and turns along the way.
I enjoyed reading Dark Knowledge and Clifford Browder definitely managed to recreate the vibe and feel of that era so that I could almost smell the salty sea air and feel myself transported to that period. The characters are very well drawn, and in addition to Chris and Sal, who are fantastic, all of the other family members, former ship captains, etc. also have their own flavor and personalities. Sal is shown to be a smart and capable woman which I appreciated. But most of all, this is Chris’s story and Clifford Browder succeeds in highlighting the horrors of slavery through this book. This is great read!