Not many novels have probed my feelings and left me raw as that of "The Gods of Gotham."
It's 1845 and we are taken to the poverty stricken Sixth Ward of New York City.
The potato famine in Ireland brings thousands of emigrants to New York. Soon embers begin to simmer between the Democrats who want the Irish vote and the Whigs who are often people who don't get their hands dirty. They live to see their riches grow. They increase tariffs and would like to deport the Irish to Canada.
As an example of the fiery surrounding, a major fire burns down a large part of downtown Manhattan.
Timothy Wilde was a bartender until this fire wiped out the bar at which he worked while it was devastating the area.
With few alternatives, Tim joins the newly formed police department. He's assigned as a patrolman in the Sixth Ward and is given a copper star as a badge.
There are horrors all around him with people living in squalor, with more people dieing of starvation daily.
He finds a young girl covered with blood and learns that there are Irish children who work at a brothel. There is also a man with a black hood who comes there and cuts up children.
After questioning the girl further, she admits that she followed the man one day and knows where he buried the children. Tim informs his superior, Justice George Washington Matsell, who had become the first person to lead the New York Police Department.
Not to reveal too much in this suspenseful story, but the police find the grave site and Tim is assigned to finding the responsible person.
This is a literary novel that details some gruesome parts but as a historical novel, it seems to paint a more accurate picture of what was going on.
Not many literary novels show such character development as that seen in Tim Wilde and Mercy Underhill and Tim's brother, Valentine. Together, they show growth and development that could be a symbol of what was going on in New York in 1845.
Posted By mike draper to http://mikedraperinguilford.blogspot.com
at 3/16/2012 05:17:00 PM