As he travels across three continents, Fradique Mendes, Portugeuse aristocrat and adventurer, will bear witness to the end of the Portuguese slave trace and the empire's painful attempts to reinvent itself for the modern age. His journey will bring him into contact with slaves and aristocrats, slave-owners and abolitionists, capoeria fighters and witch-doctors. Most importantly, he will meet Ana Olimpia Vaz de Caminha, a former slave-girl said to be the most beautiful woman in the world - and fall deeply in love with her.

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