A History of New York's Great Fires: Background information when reading The Gods of Gotham

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The Gods of Gotham

A Novel

by Lyndsay Faye

The Gods of Gotham
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2012, 432 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2013, 352 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs

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About this Book

Beyond the Book:
A History of New York's Great Fires

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 (about $1,000). (The legend that it was purchased for $24 worth of glass beads has since been debunked.)

By 1664, the British took control of the land and King Charles II's brother, the Duke of York, renamed it "New ...

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