Like with any book I’m editing, I’ve read many drafts of The Prophets. And each time, I found myself skipping over one particular line—actually willing my eyes to glance over it and to quickly move on. Because the line was so overwhelming to me that it’d make me cry. Every time. (And who has the luxury to cry when there’s editing to do?)

The Prophets is undeniably dark, because of all of its truths. And though it is a historical novel, it’s an unflinching exploration of troubling issues that continue to plague us today. But—somehow, incredibly—it is ultimately life-affirming and joyful. I always describe this book as a celebration of love in all its forms, and the enormous, heroic power of love. 

It’s the story of two enslaved men—Isaiah and Samuel—in Antebellum South, whose forbidden love and the human refuge they find in each other comes to threaten everyone on the plantation around them, from their fellow slaves to the master's family. The writing is masterpiece-level stunning, sharing the lyricism and intensity of a classic like Beloved

But what’s amazing is how quickly these pages turn—this book is so rooted in a strong and steady plot, with each page building on an almost unbearable crescendo of tension the weight of centuries—of ancestors and future generations to come—culminate in a climactic reckoning that is as inevitable as it is utterly surprising. I promise you will never forget this ending.

You might recognize Robert Jones as the voice behind the very popular social-justice platform, Son of Baldwin. He always has been inspired by Toni Morrison's missive that “if you find a book you really want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” He was long troubled by the long-held idea that a love like Isaiah and Samuel’s would be a result of white supremacist capitalist patriarchy…so he set out to do a lot of research. His activism is inseparable from his art, and with this book, he has shown his ability not only to be part of the conversation, but to lead it. 


I’ll never forget something Robert said to me the first time we spoke: “The Prophets is a story not of our ancestors’ enslavement, but of their liberation.” It was then that I knew that I’ve worked my entire career for this opportunity and responsibility to play a small role in ushering his debut into the world. By reading this book, you are taking part in this important and timely journey with us. 


Sally Kim

SVP, Publisher, G. P. Putnam's Sons




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