Black Nightingale

Mary Seacole hero of the Crimean War

A novel byJulia Buss

Mary Seacole was a real hero of the Crimean War, a self-proclaimed "doctoress" and contemporary of Florence Nightingale. She was a black Jamaican woman who risked her life to help sick and dying soldiers at the battlefront. This tale imagines her experiences as she faces impossible challenges, grapples with the flaws of human nature, and copes with death and loss. The Crimean War was the first war of the industrial era. Its armies, unadjusted to modern warfare, pitted Russian muskets against French rifles. For the first time in history, telegraph sent speedy press reports to newspapers, and war photography showed pictures of the horror to the public at home. In this war, Mary Seacole confronted killing on an industrial scale, as well as thousands of deaths from infectious disease, when little was available to treat the dying.