In pre-Civil War Delaware, farmer Thomas Covington is part of a network of Quakers who help escaping slaves headed north. When he shelters a runaway, a slave-catcher comes calling…only it’s not human. The hunter is an automaton, relentless and incapable of mercy. Dealing with the automaton will test Thomas’s Quaker belief that there is “that of God in every person,” and force him to consider whether the mechanical intelligence may be enslaved by its programming, leading to unexpected questions for the Abolitionist movement.
One of my favorite pieces of short fiction in recent years, first published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, reprinted in The Shadow Conspiracy III. Here I read from the beginning, to give you a taste.
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