After the abolition of slavery by the English government in 1830, massive populations of Hindus were lured by French plantation owners into believing that a better life awaited them on Mauritius Island. After a harrowing journey across the Indian Ocean, they were forced to endure a different type of legal injustice—the plantation system. Sueurs de sang tells the story of the battle for freedom from this new disguised form of slavery fought by generations of workers. A young slave in a sugar cane plantation, Kissan struggles desperately to organize an opposition. Thanks to his infinite thirst for freedom, Kissan rapidly incarnates the conscience of his people, and becomes the most respected and admired man in his village. But the languid atmosphere of the tropical island soon becomes one of violence and distrust. Kissan has become to great of a risk for the plantation owners who brutally murder him. Twenty years later, his son, Madan, will carry on his father’s battle risking his life to finally bringing Hindu culture, tradition and courage back to their "adopted" land. As Abhimanyu Unnuth writes in the few lines introducing the novel, Sueurs de Sang is not a "historical novel." Indeed, with the eloquence of the Hindu epic poem and inspired by numerous sayings of ancient wisdom, this novel is above all an attempt to give voice to those that History deliberately stifled and whose descendants form a majority in Mauritius today.
J.M. LeClézio :