Ingram Books

Black Cloud Rising

SKU: 9780802159199


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Already excerpted in the New Yorker, Black Cloud Rising is a compelling and important historical novel that takes us back to an extraordinary moment when enslaved men and women were shedding their bonds and embracing freedom

By fall of 1863, Union forces had taken control of Tidewater Virginia, and established a toehold in eastern North Carolina, including along the Outer Banks. Thousands of freed slaves and runaways flooded the Union lines, but Confederate irregulars still roamed the region. In December, the newly formed African Brigade, a unit of these former slaves led by General Edward Augustus Wild--a one-armed, impassioned Abolitionist--set out from Portsmouth to hunt down the rebel guerillas and extinguish the threat.


From this little-known historical episode comes Black Cloud Rising, a dramatic, moving account of these soldiers--men who only weeks earlier had been enslaved, but were now Union infantrymen setting out to fight their former owners. At the heart of the narrative is Sergeant Richard Etheridge, the son of a slave and her master, raised with some privileges but constantly reminded of his place. Deeply conflicted about his past, Richard is eager to show himself to be a credit to his race. As the African Brigade conducts raids through the areas occupied by the Confederate Partisan Rangers, he and his comrades recognize that they are fighting for more than territory. Wild's mission is to prove that his troops can be trusted as soldiers in combat. And because many of the men have fled from the very plantations in their path, each raid is also an opportunity to free loved ones left behind. For Richard, this means the possibility of reuniting with Fanny, the woman he hopes to marry one day.


With powerful depictions of the bonds formed between fighting men and heartrending scenes of sacrifice and courage, Black Cloud Rising offers a compelling and nuanced portrait of enslaved men and women crossing the threshold to freedom.

Review Quotes:

Praise for Black Cloud Rising:


"Faladé's book
is so accessible and rousing, though, that you hope it becomes available as a
mass-market paperback, in packaging that more clearly announces: This book is a
straight-up page-turner. There are no braided points of view here, no too-pretty
words, no splintered syntax. No leaden diagnoses of the human predicament belch
on the smoky skyline. The nature of the American experiment is implicitly
questioned but not burned to the ground...This is a classic war story told simply and well, its
meanings not forced but allowed to bubble up."--Dwight Garner, New York Times


"The story of the African Brigade, a unit of Black freedmen who fought for the Union during the Civil War, gets its due in this superior adult debut from Faladé . . .[Richard] Etheridge is made a fascinating figure, well suited to serve as the focal point for Faladé's exploration of the complexities of Etheridge and his comrades's rapid shift from powerlessness to armed military duty. Engrossing and complex, this will have readers riveted."--Publishers Weekly, starred review

wrought...A masterful depiction of the precarious nature of Black life during the
war and of slavery's unrelenting assault on human dignity."--Booklist (starred

"In this profoundly reflective novel, Zora Neale
Hurston/Richard Wright Award winner Faladé uses real-life Civil War sergeant
Richard Etheridge to explore the immediate consequences of emancipation...A
triumphant examination of U.S. history and race relations at a crucial
juncture, as seen through the eyes of the well-wrought, ever-questioning
Etheridge; highly recommended."--Library Journal (starred review)

"Wright Faladé's richly detailed, grippingly told story breathes life into a revolutionary moment when the U.S. moved a vital step forward toward achieving the ideals we've always proclaimed."--Charles Frazier, National Book Award-winning author of Cold Mountain


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