Underground Airlines

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  • Additional Information
    • Publisher Information:
      American Library Association
    • Publication Year:
      2016
    • Description:
      Underground Airlines. By Ben H. Winters. July 2016. 336p. Little, Brown/Mulholland, $26 (9780316261241). Winters' splendid The Last Policeman trilogy was set in a version of the contemporary world [...]
    • ISSN:
      0006-7385
    • Rights:
      COPYRIGHT 2016 American Library Association
      Copyright 2016 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.
    • Accession Number:
      edsgcl.450036759

Reviews

Booklist Reviews 2016 April #1

Winters' splendid The Last Policeman trilogy was set in a version of the contemporary world that was soon to be destroyed; his new novel is also set in the contemporary world but in an alternate version—one in which the Civil War never happened. Slavery, even today, is still the law in four American states. When Victor, a young African American who works for the U.S. Marshals Service, is tasked with locating a runaway slave, he doesn't plan on going up against a notorious abolitionist movement, or on discovering the hidden truths of his own country. This is a daring and very well constructed novel; readers who enjoyed the Last Policeman novels will find the same intelligent characterization and attention to time and place here. Pair this with Brendan Dubois' Resurrection Day (1999), which takes place in an equally intriguing alternate world, one in which the Cuban Missile Crisis has erupted into nuclear war. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

LJ Reviews 2016 February #2

Winters's The Last Policeman won the 2012 Edgar Award for best debut mystery and has sold 91,000 copies, but while this new book is touted as a thriller, it would seem to be much more. The setting looks like contemporary America, but the Civil War was never fought, and slavery persists in the so-called Hard Four states. A young black man named Victor works as a bounty hunter for the U.S. Marshall Service, tamping down memories of his plantation childhood as he infiltrates an abolitionist cell called the Underground Airlines. He's in pursuit of the runaway slave Jackdaw, whom the authorities really, really want. Victor doesn't wish to compromise his own freedom, but he's starting to realize that there are some terrible secrets at the heart of the government. With a 75,000-copy first printing.

[Page 73]. (c) Copyright 2016 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

LJ Reviews 2016 April #2

In this alternative history, President Abraham Lincoln is assassinated en route to his inauguration. His death leads legislators to come together with one last proposal to keep the Union intact. It works, and today the status of slavery is decided state by state. In the Hard Four states, "peebs" (Persons Bound to Labor) are legally enchained, working 12 hours on and eight off. If a peeb escapes, the federal government is enjoined to find and return him to his owners. Victor works undercover for the U.S. Marshals, tracking down other black men. Now he's hunting a peeb named Jackdaw. Something's wrong, though, and he can't figure out what. Fast paced and filled with menace, the story has an ambience that makes it special. In Victor's supposedly "free" world, everywhere there are traps for people of color—free doesn't mean equal and definitely doesn't mean safe. What's startling is that Victor's experiences could well happen in the contemporary world. VERDICT Explosive, well plotted, and impossible to put down, this alt-hist by the Edgar Award-winning author of the "Last Policeman" trilogy will attract readers of all genres. [See Prepub Alert, 1/25/16.]

[Page 87]. (c) Copyright 2016 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

PW Reviews 2016 May #1

Ralph Ellison's The Invisible Man meets Blade Runner in this outstanding alternate history thriller from Edgar-winner Winters (The Last Policeman). Victor, an African-American bounty hunter for the U.S. Marshals Service, possesses a supreme talent for tracking down runaway slaves in a world in which there was no Civil War and slavery still exists in four Southern states. He's a master of disguise and dissembling. Victor tracks a runaway slave code-named Jackdaw to Indianapolis, Ind., where he ingratiates himself with Father Barton, a purported leader of an abolitionist organization called Underground Airlines, and succeeds in penetrating the group. But soon thereafter Victor impulsively befriends Martha Flowers, a down-on-her-luck white woman traveling with her young biracial son, Lionel, a kindness that soon jeopardizes Victor's carefully constructed cover identity. The novel's closing section contains several breathtaking reversals, a genuinely disturbing revelation, and an exhilarating final course of action for Victor. Agent: Joelle Delbourgo, Joelle Delbourgo Associates. (July)

[Page ]. Copyright 2016 PWxyz LLC