In Patriot's Reward meet an unforgettable cast of characters; James Clarkson — Will's owner, teacher and a successful tanner, Caesar Bannister — King of the Negro Court in Portsmouth, Abigail Wentworth — Will's first wife and a servant to Governor Wentworth's family, and many others from colonial America.
The time is 1755, over a hundred years before the American Civil War. The place, the British royal province of New Hampshire, far north of King George III's southern colonies in Virginia and the Carolinas with their extensive plantations maintained by scores of African slaves.
During the next thirty-five years the white residents of this northern region will have their freedom challenged, take up arms to preserve it, and, along with the twelve other Atlantic seaboard colonies, seek to establish a new government of their own that will treat them fairly and equally.
In the same period a young African enslaved in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, chafes at his bondage and embarks on his personal struggle to attain the same freedoms sought by his white owners. He fights in the same war in the name of the same lofty principles.
Maybe it was a mistake.
Contrary to prevailing widespread belief, at least a few slaves in the eighteenth century were educated and astute observers of the radical events and thoughts boiling in the colonies where they were captive. Will Clarkson is one of these and also, like many other blacks, an active player for himself and his brethren on the new American stage.