Known primarily for his bite-sized nonfiction collection, heavy on the comedy, Kevin Christopher Brown transitions to the serious novel in KINDRED SPIRITS, a jump he makes with success. KINDRED SPIRITS is a very special and concise work of historical fiction that follows a pair of slaves whose journeys, to varying degrees, intersect with a tribe of Seminoles. There is no excess on these pages. Brown keeps his prose spare to match the landscape and setting, and every plotline is straight, with no detours. This economy is the story’s greatest strength and, as the momentum builds, we readers race toward (with mounting dread) the brother-vs-brother showdown the author has set up. Along the way, Brown surgically administers history by the eye-dropper, these lessons as concise as the prose itself, making the readers feel all the more enriched for the experience.
An often overlooked partnership between the Seminole Indian Nation and southern slaves is masterfully brought to light by the creative storytelling of the author Kevin Brown. Just as the many Native American Nations partnered and formed deep relationships with African slaves, the main fictional characters of Tropher and Skibby both entertain and enlighten the reader to the historical fact that both groups fought hard for peace and freedom and formed one of the most unique bonds in history. This is a story that needs to be told and Mr. Brown uses precise imagery, outstanding character development and historical accuracy in telling it. So easy to put 5-stars on this must read book.
Potent Storytelling: I was very moved by this book. There is such power in a well told story to reveal and inform. This story took me deeply into the complexity - and brutality - of human history in North America. I found a depth of compassion and dignity in Brown's writing that requires more than a superficial read - I felt invited into a consideration of the entire cast of characters - Topher, Skibby and Mercy, of course, but also Master Jack and LaSalle. Who are these people and how have their views of the world evolved through the generations? How are they held captive by each other, and by their belief systems? And what happens as these world views, beliefs, cannot sustain, but must tear each other apart... Kevin Brown has written a short book, but it is epic in its scope and understanding.
Kindred Spirits is a fast-paced and engaging story that is alive on the page and kept me wanting to know what would happen next. The author's vivid imagery and attention to detail made me feel as if I was right there on the page with the characters. An excellent read!
Written with a cinematic eye and perfect timing, Kindred Spirits cuts a slice of antebellum American history and lays it bare. Brown has hit the mark with this slim first novel, capturing at once the unique setting of the slavery-infected South and the universal theme of the human quest for freedom.
Eloquently told story of perseverance: "Kevin Brown's historical fiction, Kindred Spirits tells a heart wrenching story filled with perseverance, determination, choices, love, hate, greed and bravery. Beautifully written with believable characters. I have and will continue to recommend to others!"
It’s been quite a while since I read a book that I did NOT want to end. Kindred Spirits is one of those. From the numbered articles of LE CODE NOIR to the agony of relentless lashings of a captured slave, the author portrays with pithy eloquence the brutality of slavery and oppression in the antebellum South. Although suffused with horrors that are as gut-wrenching as any Greek tragedy, the potency of Kindred Spirits lies in its protagonists – Skibby and Topher – whose plights are at once captivating, inspiring, and tragic. Brown creates characters that very quickly become real to the reader – which makes their trials, torments, and hopes for freedom all the more absorbing. I found myself invested in the characters – envisioning them, rooting for them, agonizing with them, and often being surprised by them. Brown crafts characters that we feel for, and whose tumultuous plights animate his message that “freedom is not free.” Kindred Spirits is a great read and highly recommended.
Kindred Spirits was named a finalist in the 13th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards for African American Fiction.
"It is our great pleasure to inform you that you are a Finalist in the 13th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards. Your book truly embodies the excellence that this award was created to celebrate, and we salute you and your fine work."