Posted by: koolwine | June 10, 2018

Sao Tome and Principe: Sao Tome

It’s the year 1485. Young Marcel Saulo, along with dozens of other Jewish children, has been kidnapped by the Portuguese and shipped to São Tomé, an island off the coast of West Africa. Like his fellows he should be doomed to convert to Catholicism and toil in the sugar plantations, but good fortune enables him to become a landowner. When the island shifts from a sugar- to a slave-based economy and Saulo refuses to enslave his black workers he finds himself at dangerous odds with the Portuguese government and Catholic church. 

Country Focus:  São Tomé and Príncipe

São Tomé
By Paul D. Cohn
Published by Burns-Cole Publishers, 2005.
336 pgs.

Genre: Historical fiction

About the author:  Cohn recently published his second novel, The Cantora. He lives in Montana.

World Lit Up Rating:
(On a scale of 1-5, with 1 book = turned off and 5 books = lit up)

Paul D. Cohn


“In Lisbon, before those imbeciles drove you Jews out, I had much commerce with your people. So once I explain the slave-trade business, I’m sure you will understand the foolishness of your tenant scheme.” De Abreu began moving coins on the table. “A healthy male negro is worth one of these.” He set aside a gold cruz. “Let’s say he weighs 150 pounds. How much is 150 pounds of sugar worth?” He separated some silver cruzados. “About seven silvers and change, right?” I nodded. “Saulo, you haven’t been a Catholic so long that you can’t recognize a ten-to-one advantage.”

“Ten-to-one,” I said, my jest wasted. “Now I see.”


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