This is a story of the underground railroad, of memory, and of magic—all told with Coates’s exquisite prose. The story opens with Hiram Walker—born enslaved—ferrying his brother and master home. When their carriage goes over a bridge, they plummet into the cold river below. Hiram experiences something inexplicable in that moment just before he drowns: an intense memory of his late mother, dancing. That memory will turn out to be key to a rare and powerful magic called “Conduction,” which Hiram must master if he is to save himself—and his people.