Synopses & Reviews
Sacred Hunger is a stunning and engrossing exploration of power, domination, and greed. Filled with the sacred hunger to expand its empire and its profits, England entered full into the slave trade and spread the trade throughout its colonies. In this Booker Prize-winning work, Barry Unsworth follows the failing fortunes of William Kemp, a merchant pinning his last chance to a slave ship; his son who needs a fortune because he is in love with an upper-class woman; and his nephew who sails on the ship as its doctor because he has lost all he has loved. The voyage meets its demise when disease spreads among the slaves and the captain's drastic response provokes a mutiny. Joining together, the sailors and the slaves set up a secret, utopian society in the wilderness of Florida, only to await the vengeance of the single-minded, young Kemp.
Through the story of an 18th century slave ship, this novel explores moral choices, the corruptions of greed and material gain, and men's behaviour "in extremis". It also articulates current concerns of corruption and distress. The author was awarded the 1992 Booker Prize for this novel.
Part of the Unsworth backlist reissue programme, undertaken by Penguin to support the publication of his latest paperback, "Losing Nelson", which is also featured this month.