The Known World
By Edward P. Jones
Henry Townsend, a former slave, has a fondness for Paradise Lost and an unusual mentor -- William Robbins, perhaps the most powerful white man in antebellum virginia's Manchester County. Under Robbins's tutelage, Henry becomes proprietor of his own plantation as well as the his own slaves. Henry tragically fails to understand the fundamental flaws in his thinking that he can be a better slave master than a white man.