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“This novel only begins to explore the dynamics of Asher’s Black world, and the cadre that he is building. Friendship and self-interest will necessarily collide, in what I hope are some dramatic ways. But this is the stuff of the first and subsequent sequels which will end with the death of Asher in 1935 at the ripe old age of 94.” 

This novel is the first of a series of novels that will explore Asher’s world and the social and business groups that he is building in order to advance his dream of founding an African-American dynasty. The sequels will continue the story of Asher’s life up until his dies a very old man.

His mother dead and his father having disappeared, Asher is taken in, at the age of two by an old woman and her grandson. They become Asher’s family, or at least the beginnings of it. As a boy of seven, he hears African drummers in his head who come to play a critical role in Asher’s life. Later, while still a boy, Asher dreams of founding that dynasty. The old woman and her grandson also play important roles in Asher’s life as the three become essentially a family with a secret family name.

Circumstances bring the three to a new plantation and their new owner also plays a central part in Asher’s unfolding story as the slave boy and the slave master become lovers. The slave master also teaches Asher to read and write. Asher’s owner and lover comes up with a plan to deflect attention away from their relationship. The result is two young slave women who bear a total of four children by Asher, all six of whom mysteriously disappear on the same day that Asher, the old woman and her grandson also leave the plantation.

Thanks to the Civil War, Asher, the old woman and her grandson find themselves secretly freed and settled in Atlanta where the three survive the War, and, thanks to their former owner, become financially stable, and later, financially well off, if not downright rich.

Asher’s lover teaches Asher how to read and write beginning at the dawn of their romantic relationship, and Asher in turn teaches the old woman and the grandson. All three, thanks to a tutor, become well-educated as well. Asher and the other two are as smart as a whip, and Asher finds a sophisticated investment strategy that enables him to earn vast sums of money in 1871, the year in which this novel ends. He also comes up with a daring plan to become a developer in a major northern city, operating through white front men. But a disaster puts a hold on this gambit.

The grandson gets married, and shortly thereafter Asher does as well. This puts a strain on Asher’s relationship with his former owner, a relationship already fraught with tension. Tensions also develop between Asher and his wife and the grandson’s wife who chafe at some of Asher’s ways, especially his penchant for secrecy, and at what the two women suspect are Asher’s lies.

The African drummers who played in Asher’s head when he was a boy, enter into Asher’s life in other ways, teaching him and protecting him.

A tragedy, exacerbated by cruel racial discrimination, leads to a dramatic confrontation which has dire consequences for Asher and his relationships with his wife and his former owner. At which point the story ends.