Lyndsay Faye's novel, The Gods of Gotham
, is an excellent historical mystery set in a time and place not many fiction writers have ventured to date: New York City, circa 1845. On the surface, the year seems unremarkable - James Polk is President, and the American Civil War has yet to occur. However, Faye manages to capture the setting brilliantly, breathing life into the era, making it interesting and relevant to modern readers. She provides real insight into the tensions that permeated New York City during that period.
The mystery upon which the book is predicated is outstanding - well-reasoned and exceptionally complex. After a fire ravages Lower Manhattan, Timothy Wilde joins the newly-formed New York Police Department and, upon encountering a young girl covered in blood, finds himself on the trail of a killer. The author has constructed an intricate, entertaining...
Beyond the Book
In Lyndsay Faye's novel, The Gods of Gotham
, a fire ravages lower Manhattan, setting the stage for her suspenseful historical mystery. In reality, New York City has fallen victim to more than one devastating blaze.
In 1609, Henry Hudson, a British explorer hired by the Dutch to find a faster route to "the Orient," followed what is now called the Hudson River as far as Albany. After realizing that the river would not go through to the Pacific Ocean, Hudson returned to the nearby bay and set up a camp, establishing the Dutch Republic claim to the area. It became a fur trading settlement by 1624, officially becoming the colony of New Amsterdam in 1626 when colonial Director-General Peter Minuit purchased Manhattan from a small band of Lenape natives for 60 guilders...