The Stone That the Builder Refused
Following the widely acclaimed All Souls’ Rising and Master of the Crossroads, Madison Smartt Bell gives us the climactic final chapter in the life of Toussaint Louverture, the legendary leader of the only successful slave revolution in history.
In 1791, what would become known as the Haitian Revolution began as a rebellion of African slaves against their white masters in the French colony of Saint Domingue. By 1793 Toussaint had emerged as the leader of the revolt, proving himself to be as adept at politics as he was on the battlefield. By 1801 he had succeeded in stabilizing the war-ravaged territory and invited exiled white planters, whose expertise was needed, to return and reclaim their properties. The foundation of a society based on liberty, genuine equality, and brotherhood among whites, blacks, and mulattos seemed in place. But the proclamation of a new constitution that abolished slavery and appointed Toussaint governor for life incited Napoleon to dispatch troops in order to reestablish control over the island.
The Stone That the Builder Refused spans the final phase of Toussaint’s career and paints an astonish-ingly detailed and riveting portrait of a new society breaking forth from the chrysalis of a revolution, of the vision that impelled Toussaint to create a society based on principle and idealism, and of the dreadful compromises he was forced to make in order to preserve it.
A masterly weave of the factual and the imagined, this grand culmination of Bell’s landmark Toussaint Louverture trilogy stands alone as a towering achievement of historical fiction.