A Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Venture, a Native of Africa, but Resident above Sixty Years in the United States of America, Related by Himself was written in 1798. Venture came to the United States as a slave when he was eight years old. His narrative begins, "I was born at Dukandarra, in Guinea, about the year 1729. My father's name was Saungm Furro, Prince of the Tribe of Dukandarra. My father had three wives. Polygamy was not uncommon in that country, especially among the rich, as every man was allowed to keep as many wives as he could maintain. By his first wife he had three children. The eldest of them was myself, named by my father Broteer. The other two were named Cundazo and Soozaduka. My father had two children by his second wife, and one by his third. I descended from a very large, tall and stout race of beings, much larger than the generality of people in other parts of the globe, being commonly considerably above six feet in height, and in every way well proportioned."
In 1876, Philip Tudor Becher left his wealthy British home in search of adventure. He spent the next several years doing various jobs in San Francisco, Bakersfield, and Chico, California where he found no lack of encounters with dangerous situations. His escapades range from almost getting shot by an angry boss and drunken landlord to falling off a flume while trying to dislodge a log jam and nearly getting killed by a mountain lion. Philip eventually married Ruth Brison and moved his young family to Spokane, Washington where they had run-ins with squatters trying to violently take their land and a criminal gang causing problems. Through it all, Philip and Ruth use their wits, charisma, and innate strength to survive in the early American West.
Salika De'Ath is a Death Demon living in New York City. She kills for a living - humans, demons, whatever she's paid to kill. Abandoned at birth, she has never relied on anyone. If you want anything done, you do it yourself. Times are hard in the death-dealing business, and Salika faces eviction from her apartment when she can't afford the rent any more, so she plans a bank robbery to net her enough cash to set her up for life. She summons a demon from Hell to help carry out her plan, promising him payment from the proceeds of the robbery, and release on Earth. Instead, she reneges on her promise and sends him back with no reward. But when her ill gotten gains are stolen from her, Salika must turn to the demon she cheated before, and ask for help. He doesn't trust her after last time but agrees, although the price has doubled, half up front and half when they get the money back. But that's a problem. She can't pay him anything until they get the money back. So Zcoff asks for an interim payment that doesn't cost anything - he wants help to find meaning to his life. Now Salika must learn to help someone and put them first if she is to get what she is looking for. And at the same time, she learns what it's like to rely on others. And if she and Zcoff happen to fall in love along the way? Well, the path to true love never did run smooth.
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