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.
S. Marie Vernon, Pacific Book Review
In Black Nightingale, Julia Buss has mastered a great historical piece of literature. Written in a third-person narrative format, she brought to life the harsh realities of the world's first war whose tragedies were openly reported to the public.