Paperback - 2012
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"God and whiskey have got me where I am. Too little of the one, too much of the other."
--David King, 1895.

Born a slave in 1847, but raised as a free man by the Reverend William King, David has rebelled against his emancipator and his predestined future in the church. He's taken up residence in the nearby town of Chatham, made a living robbing graves, and now presides--in the company of a German ex-prostitute named Loretta--over an illegal after-hours tavern.

These days that final, violent confrontation with Reverend King seems like a lifetime ago. The residents of Chatham know David as a God-cursing, liquor-slinging, money-having man-about-town, famously educated and fabulously eccentric. And he seems to be more-or-less happy ... that is, until the death of Reverend King brings his past crashing down upon him.

Inspired by the Elgin Settlement, which by 1852 housed 75 free black families and was studied by Lincoln and Harriet Beecher Stowe, David is a fiery look at one man's quest for knowledge and forgiveness, and a moving portrait of life after the Underground Railroad.

Ray Robertson is the author of Why Not? Fifteen Reasons to Live .

Publisher: Ontario : Biblioasis, c2012.
ISBN: 9781926845869
Branch Call Number: Fic
Characteristics: 296 p. ; 19 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Jan 05, 2015

This was a great book about freed slaves in Canada. It is set in Southern Ontario and is a fictional story based on real events and people. The main character is a strong complex man.


If this book is some attempt to dignify himself by using an abstract to violating the Biblical King David. Do a better search, do something interesting and write about your own family instead of making up nonsense. Is your mother or father named Robin anywhere in your lineage first generation? Find out about you. Evidently you haven't made a well enough search, and found the records as to whom your possible made up imagination of an 1847 slaves origin is from, the thing is you really do sound like you are persecuting someone you have neither met nor taken into consideration the consequences of falsifications.

Apr 22, 2013

Wonderful book for book-lovers.

hermlou Feb 02, 2011

Born a slave in 1847, David and his mother are rescued by Reverend King, who starts a settlement in Elgin, Ontario for escaped slaves. David is highly educated and loves reading and collecting classics. When his aged mother suffers unbearable pain, he buys morphine to help her die. The reverend thinks David is taking drugs and stops the financial support. David moves to Chatham, where he makes money by renting his upstairs to an undertaker, selling bodies to medical schools, and running an illegal bar in the basement. Interesting story includes glimpses of abolitionist John Brown and poet Walt Whitman.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at SLPL

To Top