|Cover artist||Gregg Kulick|
|2 October 2014 (hardback), (electronic book)|
|Awards||2015 Man Booker Prize|
A Brief History of Seven Killings is the third novel by Jamaican author Marlon James. It was published in 2014 by Riverhead Books. The novel spans several decades and explores the attempted assassination of Bob Marley in Jamaica in 1976 and its aftermath, through the crack wars in New York City in the 1980s and a changed Jamaica in the 1990s.
The novel has five sections, each named after a musical track and covering the events of a single day:
The first part of the novel is set in Kingston, Jamaica, in the build-up to the Smile Jamaica Concert held on 5 December 1976, and describes politically motivated violence between gangs associated with the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and the People's National Party (PNP), especially in the West Kingston neighbourhoods of Tivoli Gardens and Mathews Lane (renamed in the novel as Copenhagen City and Eight Lanes), including involvement of the CIA in the Jamaican politics of the time. As well as Marley (who is referred to as "the Singer" throughout), other real-life characters depicted or fictionalized in the book include Kingston gangsters Winston "Burry Boy" Blake and George "Feathermop" Spence, Claude Massop and Lester Lloyd Coke (Jim Brown) of the JLP and Aston Thomson (Buckie Marshall) of the PNP.
The book was awarded the 2015 Man Booker Prize. This marked the first time that a Jamaican-born author has won the prize. According to the BBC: "[Man Booker judge Michael] Wood said the judges came to a unanimous decision in less than two hours. He praised the book's 'many voices'—it contains more than 75 characters—which 'went from Jamaican slang to Biblical heights'".
HBO has optioned the novel and is planning a television series, although no debut date has been announced.