Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Just imagine for a moment an establishment spook and modern slave wrapped into one, pressed into service to hunt down and reel back in other escaped slaves, and you've got yourself a tracker right out of the bad old days of pre-civil war. A black man forced to do the devil's work.
Now imagine him in our modern world, where the American Civil War had ended in an economic truce and slavery is alive and well and made so very efficient.
Hell, just imagine how easy it'd be to track down every slave with GPS and have a world tweeting happy PR banalities to hide the horrible truth of slums in our brightest cities, labor camps like private prisons, communities openly and proudly racist and happy to thumb their noses at the rest of the world at just how they've managed to fool the IRS, twist the legal establishment, and all the while tell themselves just how humane they are to the downtrodden.
Wait... is this an alternate timeline? An excellent What-If novel? A deeply horrific and oppressive dystopia so very much like the world we've got now?
Yes. Fancy that.
But the point is, we're living it through the devil's eyes, the scared black man in this nightmare world who is forced to do unspeakable things to men and women who should be his brothers, and if you think this is a heavy-handed political tale, then think again. I got sucked right in just fine and loved the story, it's twists and turns. Do you think he finds a way to help his brothers and sisters, and get out of his horrid servitude? Does he infiltrate the Underground Railroad (ahem, sorry, Airline) or does he betray or get betrayed?
Just how complex does this tale get?
Pretty complex. And Very Satisfying. :)
It actually makes me believe that for all the crap we're living through in *this* world, I'm still happy to be *here*.
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