Tricked by two men offering him a job as a musician in New York State in 1841, Solomon Northup was drugged and kidnapped. His life in jeopardy, he was forced to assume a new name and fake past. Taken to Louisiana on a disease-ridden plague ship, he was initially sold to a cotton planter.In the twelve years that follow he is sold to many different owners who treat him with varying levels of savagery; forced labour, scant food and numerous beatings are his regular fare. Against all odds, Northup eventually succeeds in contacting a sympathetic party and manages to get word to his family. The ensuing rescue and legal cases are no less shocking and intriguing than the rest of the tale.Northup's meticulous first-hand recordings of slave life provide a true-life testament to tremendous courage and tenacity in the face of unfathomable injustice. A new film premiering in 2014, featuring Brad Pitt and Benedict Cumberbatch, is sure to introduce this amazing story to a new audience.