The Abduction of Smith and Smith

Written by Rashad Harrison
Review by Marie Burton

Although the novel started out with an uneasy beginning, the author was able to hold my attention as I read the entire book in one day. The setting of the American Civil War’s aftermath is a popular one for readers, yet this story brings us to a harsh reality of how the war’s effect caused ripples for years to come. Wholly intriguing characters in a unique setting set this novel apart as the author writes with no holds barred. Though it comes off as crude when we are dealing with sailors and ruffians who kidnap innocents to force them to work on ships, and run- ins with the mobster-like villains who hold the cards of the day, the entire package presented by author Rashad Harrison is a well-thought-out, suspenseful masterpiece of a story. There are many moving parts, from the fractured relationships of slaves and masters, to brothers-in-arms and women who seek restoration after so many hardships, which will captivate the reader as things slowly begin to connect to each other.

These many twists and turns intermix to create a powerful story as Jupiter Smith, a freed slave, seeks his wife after seven long years. During his search he encounters people from his past, and battles the harsh reality of his life after freedom has been granted through the war. Through one of those twists of fate, Jupiter finds himself kidnapped along with his former master’s son, Archer Smith, and they are both forced to rely on each other, begrudgingly, for mere survival’s sake, during the dangerous voyage. Several characters are featured in the novel, around which the author creates short chapters and scenes, and there are even a few sketches interspersed throughout. The short chapters make it a quick read, but the story itself is a vivid tale that is unforgettable and creative as it brings us from the underbelly of San Francisco to Shanghai and all the way to Liberia. A wonderfully crafted surprise that I would not hesitate to recommend.