Thorndike Press

The Prophets

  • Robert Jones
  • Offered By:
  • ISBN-10: 0593295501
  • ISBN-13: 9780593295502
  • DDC: Fic
  • Shipping Weight: 1.15 lbs ( .52 kgs)
  • Paperback
  • Published/Released January 2021

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An Instant New York Times Bestseller
A #1 Indie Next Pick
A New York Times Book Review’s Books to Watch for in January
A Washington Post’s 10 Books to Read in January
A TIME’s 10 New Books You Should Read in January
An O, the Oprah Magazine’s 32 LGBTQ Books That Will Change the Literary Landscape in 2021
A Cosmopolitan’s New LGBTQ+ Books to Add to Your Reading List
An Entertainment Weekly’s 14 Books to Read During Black History Month
A Good Morning America’s Best Books to Read this January
A BuzzFeed’s Most Anticipated Historical Fiction of 2021
A PopSugar’s Best Books of January
A Lit Hub’s Most Anticipated Books of 2021
A Lambda Literary’s Most Anticipated LGBTQ Books of January
A LGBTQ Read’s Most Anticipated LGBTQIAP Fiction of 2021 Picks
A Kirkus Reviews’ Most Anticipated Books of the Fall

Isaiah was Samuel’s and Samuel was Isaiah’s. That was the way it was since the beginning, and the way it was to be until the end. In the barn they tended to the animals, but also to each other, transforming the hollowed-out shed into a place of human refuge, a source of intimacy and hope in a world ruled by vicious masters. But when an older man — a fellow slave — seeks to gain favor by preaching the master’s gospel on the plantation, the enslaved begin to turn on their own. Isaiah and Samuel’s love, which was once so simple, is seen as sinful and a clear danger to the plantation’s harmony.

With a lyricism reminiscent of Toni Morrison, Robert Jones, Jr., fiercely summons the voices of slaver and enslaved alike, from Isaiah and Samuel to the calculating slave master to the long line of women that surround them, women who have carried the soul of the plantation on their shoulders. As tensions build and the weight of centuries — of ancestors and future generations to come — culminates in a climactic reckoning, The Prophets masterfully reveals the pain and suffering of inheritance, but is also shot through with hope, beauty, and truth, portraying the enormous, heroic power of love.


Customer Reviews

“Brims with so much confidence and artful flourish that it’s hard to believe it’s Jones’s first book. Following a line of esteemed authors, he explores the story of enslavement in America and makes it his own. . . . Jones’s expertly drawn characters have depth and purpose, and the writing is beautiful despite the subject matter. A work that will resonate with those moved by Charles Johnson’s MIDDLE PASSAGE and Colson Whitehead’s THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD.”

— Library Journal (starred)

“Exquisite . . . Jones conveys powerful truths with well-chosen words in spare prose. . . . A masterfully told story that will haunt readres from beginning to end.”

— Booklist (starred)

“Powerful and beautiful . . . The lyricism of THE PROPHETS will recall the prose of James Baldwin. The strong cadences are equal to those in Faulkner’s LIGHT IN AUGUST. Sometimes the utterances in the short interpolated chapters seem as orphic as those in THUS SPAKE ZARATHUSTRA. If my comparisons seem excessive, they are rivaled only by Jones’s own pages and pages of acknowledgments. It seems it takes a village to make a masterpiece.”

— Publishers Weekly (starred)

“An ambitious, imaginative, and important tale of Black queerness through history.”

— Kirkus Reviews