Christopher Pilie's long anticipated historical fiction novel "Sugar" explores the life of those that lived on the island of Saint-Domingue in the late 18th Century.
Experience the Haitian Revolution through the perspective of the slaves on the island of Saint-Domingue and the those that were trying to escape the violence of the first revolution where African slaves achieved liberty. It was here that they also learned that liberty wasn't simple. The story is told through the intelection discussions of the Enlightenment, explosive battles, and the drama of a violent insurrection. There is suspense, advemnture, and drama on every page.
Those that lived on the island were a part of very complicated cast system that was made up of several groups.
* The Grand Blanc - plantation owners, Artisans, and Merchants - were the wealthy class of people that were the minority in numbers on the island. At the time of the revolution, the population was approximately 25 thousand.
* The Affranchis - freed slaves, mulattos, quadroons, etc - were the middle class of people that were another minority in numbers on the island. At the time of the revolution, the population was approximately 25 thousand.
* The Slaves were the lower class of people mostly of African descent. At the time of the revolution, the population was approximately 500 thousand.
The injustices experienced by the Affranchis and the Slaves boiled over from 1789 to 1791 as the world began to experience a shift.
1791 was a year where the power structures in the world were in great transition and in several cases collapsing in on themselves. The American Revolution had been fought and won, the French Revolution was beginning to rage in Europe, and a revolution was about to break out in the French colony of Saint-Domingue.
The fresh ideas of the Enlightenment collided with the old antiquated ideas of the Middle Ages creating a rejection of monarchies around the world and most of all a rejection to serfdom and slavery. Civilizations all around the world were exploring reason, science, individualism, philosophy, politics, and the arts. Most of all the world was beginning to break away from the societies run by the clergy and the religious.
While this was a refreshing stage in human development it was also a stage in human history that would set the stage for philosophies fueling revolution, imperial dictatorships, and mass murder in the twentieth century. Friedrich Nietzsche famously wrote about the death of God in his book "Thus Spoke Zarathustra",
"God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us?" - Friedrich Nietzsche
It was this sentiment that resonated from the enlightenment and the revolution sparked from its ideas.
In the late 18th century Saint-Domingue, the French gripped tightly to the most profitable colony in all of the world while ignoring the inevitable revolution that was to occur as a reaction to the injustices of slavery. Many throughout history have placed the injustices of slavery neatly at the feet of racism. The evolution of the colony's society in the 18th century showed how racism was just a sliver of the manifestation of tyranny brought about by the French's inability to progress beyond the economic necessity of slavery.
France along with much of the world was enslaved by slavery. The cycle of slavery was one that needed to be broken and the inability for the French to break this horrible institution brought violent death to the beautiful island of Saint-Domingue. It is for us to view this time in history with the view that it was not a simple act to outlaw the institution of slavery. This wasn't a faÃ§ade on the face of French society that could simply be dismantled and discarded. The institution of slavery was an invasive weed where its roots wove itself through all segments of society to its deepest cornerstone and foundation. The only way to rid the society of this weed was to tear society apart.
"Slavery is a weed that grows on every soil.