Shortlisted for the 1976 Booker Prize
The year is 1749, when the Boers ruled South Africa. And so it has come to his Baas’s final command to his Hottentot slave Adam, to flog his mother, because she refuses to prune the master’s vineyard in order to attend her own beloved mother’s funeral. And when he refuses to do so, and his Baas smashes his face with a piece of wood, Adam turns on him, and beats him almost to death. Then he flees to South Africa’s veld. There he comes to the rescue of Elizabeth, a white woman, and the only person to survive her husband’s expedition in the vast South African interior. Alone and terrified, she pleads with the runaway slave to bring her back to the Cape and her home. Adam agrees because he believes by rescuing Elizabeth, he will be awarded his own freedom.
This, then is the stunning story of their trek together, how they find in each other their mutual need and humanity, and finally how their days together turn into an unforgettable, tender love story.