"An astonishing account of an explosive piece of neglected history. Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is woven through a tense prison drama. Epic." —Sir Kenneth Branagh
The war of 1812 is over, but for the inmates at Dartmoor Prison, peace—like home—is still a long way away.
On New Year’s Eve 1814, the American sailors of the Eagle finally arrive at Dartmoor prison, bedraggled, exhausted, but burning with hope. They’ve only had one thing to sustain them during the har- rowing voyage—a snatched whisper overheard along the way. The war is finally over.
Joe Hill thought he’d left the war outside these walls but it’s quickly clear that there’s a different type of fight to be had within. The seven prison blocks surrounding him have been segregated; six white and one black.
Inspired by true events, this novel recounts the remarkable story of the first ever all-black Shakespeare production, staged by segregated American prisoners of war. It is a story of hope and freedom, of loss and suffering. It is a story about how sometimes, in our darkest hour, it can be the most unlikely of things that see us through.