In August 1839, what appeared to be a listless "pirate ship," unidentified by any flag, was spotted off the North Atlantic coast of the United States. On board were thirty barely clad black men armed with cutlasses, and two white men - Spanish slave owners with an incredible story to tell. A month erlier, the Amistad had set sail from Havana with a valuable cargo of slaves and $40,000 worth of gold doubloons. She was headed fot the Cuban coastal town of Puerto Principe - but in a matter of days the captain and the cook were dead, and the ship was in the control of the slaves. Thus began "the Amistad affair," which reports Mary Cable, "was to bedevil the diplomaic relations of the United States, Spain, and England for a generation; intensifly bitterness over the question of slavery; and...lead an ex-president (John Quincy Adams) to go before the Supreme Court and castigate the administration" in an eloquent plea for the slaves' freedom. In her fascinating and carefuly researched account, Cable takes us right to the heart of these complex matters, dramatically replaying an incredible series of events that conerged to form a uiquely exciting and challenging chapter in American history.