Dangerfield’s Promise by Terrance Newby

About the Book:

Dangerfield’s Promise explores what freedom truly means to two protagonists living in two different centuries. Blending historical events and contemporary fiction with elements of magical realism and psychology, Dangerfield’s Promise weaves the two story lines together as both protagonists search for their families, and ultimately, their souls. Dangerfield Newby, a newly-emancipated black Virginian, wants to buy his wife Harriet and all of his children out of slavery and move them into the free state of Ohio. Harriet’s owner refuses to sell Harriet or any of the children. Outraged but powerless, Dangerfield decides to join abolitionist John Brown, who he has met previously during his travels through Ohio.

Dangerfield sees John Brown’s bold plan to capture the armory in Harpers Ferry and eliminate American slavery as his best option to free his enslaved family. But the insurrection in Harpers Ferry is quickly put down, and Dangerfield is the first of Brown’s men killed in the raid, shot down in an alley as he flees the approaching army. He carries letters from Harriet in his pocket when he dies. Fictional protagonist Michael Turner is a brilliant black surgeon who embodies the late 20th Century American dream. But his success has come at a high price. He is estranged from his family – he regards them as lacking ambition and innate talent. And his family views him as aloof, arrogant, and neglectful of his responsibilities to his family and the black community. After Turner’s dying grandmother tells him that he may be distantly related to Dangerfield Newby, he begins to research this possible link with history, and in the process, uncovers dark family secrets unknown to anyone living.


“Dangerfield’s Promise by Terrance Newby is part Historical Fiction mixed with a transformative journey of self-discovery. Destiny forms a crucial part of Dangerfield’s and Turner’s lives, especially when it comes to each man reaching a fork in the road: Dangerfield in joining the abolitionist fray and whether Turner relinquishes his investigative journey. The splitting of the narrative between past and present makes this excellent book no less compelling. A moving and wonderful book.”

~ Philip Zozzaro, Manhattan Book Review

Full Review

“The book is a must-read for fans of classic historical narratives, like Django Unchained and 12 Years A Slave. Plus, readers who enjoy magical realism will have their fill of thrills with the hair-raising ghost appearances and intriguing visions. Told through multiple third-person perspectives, the book brings different strong characters and times together in a one grand, epic narrative that is perfect for a complete escape from the mundane.

This remarkable story about the inhumane act of slavery will inspire readers to question the practices they view as normal but future generations might find equally deplorable. Dangerfield’s Promise is so lifelike and emotional that it helped me appreciate how far humanity has come—even though there’s still much room for improvement. Terrace had better make it a series because I want more!”

~ Foluso Falaye, Seattle Book Review

Full Review

Buy the Book – Barnes & Noble, Bookshop.org

About the Author:

Terrance C. Newby is an attorney, writer, and playwright based in Roseville, Minnesota. His first play, “The Cage,” was professionally staged in St. Paul in 2016. His play, “The Body Politic,” was professionally staged in June 2018. His short stories have appeared in OurEcho and in Straitjackets Magazine. “Dangerfield’s Promise” is his first novel.

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