book cover of Book of the Little Axe

Book of the Little Axe

A novel by

Ambitious and masterfully-wrought, Lauren Francis-Sharma’s Book of the Little Axe is an incredible journey, spanning decades and oceans from Trinidad to the American West during the tumultuous days of warring colonial powers and westward expansion.

In Trinidad, in 1796, teenage Rosa Rendón quietly but purposefully rebels against typical female roles and behavior. Bright, competitive, and opinionated, Rosa sees no reason she should learn to cook and keep house—it is obvious her talents lie in running the farm she expects to be her birthright, despite her two older siblings. But as her homeland goes from Spanish to British rule, it becomes increasingly unclear whether its free black property owners—Rosa’s family among them—will be allowed to keep their assets, their land, and ultimately, their freedom.

By 1830, Rosa is living among the Crow Nation in Bighorn, Wyoming with her husband, Edward Rose and family. Her son Victor has reached the age where he should seek his vision and become a man. But his path is blocked by secrets Rosa has kept hidden from him. So Rosa sets out to take him on a journey to where his story began and, in turn, retraces her own roots, those of a girl who forged her own way from the middle of the ocean to the grassy hills of a far-away land.

Genre: Historical

Praise for this book

"Book of the Little Axe is epic in ambition and scope, a sweeping tale that illuminates pivotal historical periods in Trinidad and North America, and the links between them. This is also the story of a young man’s coming of age and a mother’s secrets and a family’s love in the face of violence. Lauren Francis-Sharma brings her characters and their tangled histories to life with tremendous precision and sensitivity. This is the work of a major voice, a brilliant talent." - Laura van den Berg

"Lauren Francis-Sharma has written one of those thrilling novels – so valuable and welcome – that adds (or better say restores) another strand to our national narrative. We’re all the richer for Book of the Little Axe." - Peter Ho Davies

"A shimmering epic that forges new paths into the old territory of the American West. Brilliant and unforgettable. Book of the Little Axe is an astonishing journey." - Debra Magpie Earling

"Book of the Little Axe is an epic novel that recreates the hybrid history of Native and African peoples during the era of American exploration and expansion. Lauren Francis-Sharma's care for her characters and skill with her subject shine through every page." - Laila Lalami

"From her gripping first sentence, Lauren Francis-Sharma draws her reader into her intoxicating tale of intrigue, love, conflict, and power struggle at a pivotal time in the histories of Trinidad and the western United States. Her research is meticulous, her prose seductive, her characters mesmerizing. Book of the Little Axe shines a bright light on the little-known connections between the Caribbean and the United States. Readers will find it almost impossible to put this book down." - Elizabeth Nunez

"They say the past is a foreign country but forget to mention that it's also wild. Book of the Little Axe reminds us. Ranging from Trinidad to the mountainous West, Lauren Francis-Sharma has woven an emotional, immediate, ambitious story of love and belonging. Rather than retell a story of first contact between native people and newcomers to the new world, Francis-Sharma has produced a deeply moving novel about the ways in which all of us have always been connected." - David Treuer

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Used availability for Lauren Francis-Sharma's Book of the Little Axe

Hardback Editions

May 2020 : USA Hardback

Title: Book of the Little Axe
Author(s): Lauren Francis-Sharma
ISBN: 0-8021-2936-6 / 978-0-8021-2936-9 (USA edition)
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   

Audio Editions

November 2020 : USA Audio CD

Title: Book of the Little Axe
Author(s): Lauren Francis-Sharma
ISBN: 1-70521-479-7 / 978-1-70521-479-4 (USA edition)
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   

Kindle Editions

May 2020 : USA, Canada Kindle edition

Title: Book of the Little Axe
Author(s): Lauren Francis-Sharma
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA