Although the book deals with a dark and serious subject — slavery in 1800 AD — it is not all doom and gloom. The story is told from the differing points of view of different sets of people in three different locations:
In Louisiana, the story is told both from the point of view of a black slave family as well as from the point of view of their masters.
In West Africa, the narrative follows a black tribal family prior to capture and through to subsequent transportation and enslavement.
In Britain, the points of view are those of three different types of slave traders and the world in which they live.