It is 1735 at the height of the slave trade and a young slave is taken from a plantation in Jamaica and sold to an English sea captain, who wants a black servant for his two daughters, in the spirit of the fashion of England’s Georgian society. After an eventful and perilous Atlantic crossing, during which passengers and crew become fatefully entangled, the boy who was Quaccoe, is immersed in a new life in London as James. He discovers he has a musical talent and, now a young man, is acclaimed by society and introduced to Prince Frederick, heir to the throne, Prince George, the future King George 3rd, Lord and Lady Burlington, William Hogarth, Handel and other historical figures.
His life and the lives of the captain and his daughters continue to be entwined with those of the ship’s passengers, both tragically and emotionally. The dramatic events of his life, described within 18th century London, include a kidnapping, a revenge killing, a runaway slave girl, a street burglary and a murder, interwoven with historical events and famous figures of the time. During the fifteen years the story covers, the boy in the turban becomes a music tutor at the Court of Prince Frederick and a celebrity on the London music scene and finally falls in love with and marries the illegitimate daughter of one of his benefactors, William Kent, architect and landscape artist.
Author Joseph Hucknall was born in Cumbria in 1929 where he had a liberal education and wrote his first book at the age of 15. Conscripted into the army at age 18 after which he studied Business Administration at Manchester University, followed by a successful business career until 1985. Since then, Joseph has travelled extensively and has contributed to prose and poetry collections including Gazebo and A Boxful of Ideas – and published his autobiography, A Life’s Tales in 2013. For several years he has participated in a creative writing group tutored by Sheena Joughin, author and literary critic for the TLS, and has thoroughly researched the 18th century period on which this book is based. Joseph now lives in Ealing, London.