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The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye

The Gods of Gotham (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Lyndsay Faye

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6828114,002 (3.97)159
Title:The Gods of Gotham
Authors:Lyndsay Faye
Info:Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam (2012), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 432 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye (Author) (2012)


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Timothy Wilde becomes one of the first members of the NYPD after a fire destroys his home and all of his savings from his bartending job. His brother, Valentine, is already a copper, so named for the copper stars they wear. As he is patrolling his designated area he has a collision with a young girl, dressed only in a nightgown and covered with blood. This chance encounter leads him to the investigation which turns into apparently a mass murderer of children.

Set in the middle of the 19th century in New York City, the reader gets a feeling for the anger and fear growing from the influx of Catholic Irish escaping the potato famine in their own country. As the discovered children are found with a cross shaped cut in their torso, the suspicion falls on the Catholics and the summer heat erupts into riots in the streets.

Timothy is a low key hero, scarred from fire, worshipping a woman from afar, unfamiliar even though gentle with damaged children, he is a knight charging into a new field. This promises to be an exciting and interesting series and I'm glad to be in it on the ground floor. ( )
  mamzel | Sep 26, 2015 |
The Gods of Gotham is a mystery set in New York City in 1845. The potato famine in Ireland has led to an influx of Irish immigrants, and nativism is prevalent. New York City has just formed its first police force. The bodies of children have been discovered and it is up to the newly formed police force to investigate.

This book has a lot of things going for it. The writing is excellent. The author does a splendid job setting the story in the time period. It feels authentic and bursting with life and it made me eager to learn more about the political and social life of mid-1800s New York City. Sometimes it is a bit challenging to read, as there is a lot of 1840s slang in the book, and the glossary in front isn't always helpful. The narrator of the story, a bartender turned police officer, is just plain likable. A decent human being with a good heart, he's the kind of guy you'd love to have either serving you a drink or protecting you from the bad guys. The story itself is captivating, not exactly in a "can't put it down" kind of way, but it kept me reading.
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  klburnside | Aug 11, 2015 |
It is 1845 and the potato famine has struck Ireland. Immigrants are coming to America in droves and most of them arrive in New York City. Overpopulation has caused slums to form, gangs to rule, disease to rage unchecked and of course, corruption and crime to run rampant. The year 1845 also sees the formation of the first NYPD. Giving the copper star to political friends, known “enforcers” and some questionable characters is the norm and intimidation rather than police legwork appears to be the way to halt the criminals. Timothy Wilde is the most reluctant of the “coppers” being given the job by his brother’s (questionable) good graces after a fire destroys everything he owns as well as half his face. He is walking home during his first week on the job when a waif of a girl runs headlong into his legs. Street urchins, homeless orphans and child prostitutes are the norm for the Sixth Ward he patrols and Timothy knows he should take her to “The Home”. Something about her tugs at him and instead he takes her to his home. Not knowing this would be the beginning of his first real investigation Timothy trips through the muck and the mud, the haves, the have-nots and the have-nothings of New York and finds he is a good “copper” after all.

Turn the first page of this book and you step back into the New York of 1845. Ms. Faye researches her book so thoroughly and writes so convincingly you can almost smell the smells and feel the grit as the story moves along. She transports the reader back to a time when Manhattan was divided by colour and nationality, primarily made up of slums, with a few well-to-doers living high and farmland greenery only a carriage ride away. Drawing on her meticulous research into the history of her newly adopted city of residence, Ms Faye produces a book of accurate historical fiction that reads like a thriller.
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  ChristineEllei | Jul 14, 2015 |
Gods of Gotham is a rare gem. I enjoyed all of it. The characters, their development, and being ushered through a world long gone, but for a few hours quite alive. Thank you Lindsay Faye for a great book. I'm sure I'll devour more Timothy Wilde stories in the future.

I was way behind on this book, but I loved reading it. Why the wait? I think when it came out, I was just NYC’d out. I get it. It’s America’s City. It’s the center of publishing (and much/ most? of TeeVee), but I’ve never been, have no connection to it personally and get tired of the setting. *THAT SAID* I fully acknowledge being a grouchy hick who gets really obnoxious about something like a book’s *setting*.

So what makes Gods of Gotham’s 1840s NYC setting perfect? This story, this incredible book, couldn’t happen in another city, in another time. It’s perfect. ( )
  benjclark | May 15, 2015 |
I'm not sure who reviewed this and inspired me to pick it up, but whoever you are, thanks! I really loved it. I loved the characters in their wacky imperfections. I loved some of the characterization of the "copper stars" but how it wasn't over the top or obnoxious. The politics thrown in were perfectly infuriating and hilarious. Author was pithy enough to keep in entertaining without ruining the tone of a good mystery.

I did figure it out very early on. But what strikes me as important about this fact is that, even though I was right, the storytelling was so good that it didn't matter. My enjoyment was not hindered by knowing.

Just a good, old fashioned, who done it. I will definitely continue with this series. ( )
  tnociti | May 6, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 84 (next | show all)
New York City of 1845 is a cacophany of competing lexicons. In The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye, the city’s political bosses, religious leaders, starving Irish immigrants, impoverished nativists, civil leaders, race-baiters, headline writers, popular novelists, street hawkers, sinners, lovers, and criminals each employ language as distinctive as a police report’s. But also whispering among the leaning hovels of babble in Five Points are secret loyalties, monstrous acts, and madness.
Amid many intersecting factions, venues, and intents, the novel retains a glorious and tragic coherence. Without being epigraphic, The Gods of Gotham is a feast of language, 1845’s New York City as a magnificent assembly of newspaper articles, poems, sensational novels, crime reports, advertisements, amateur theatrics, hawkers’ calls, political promises, and flash conversations, making those tender and awful things that can’t be said even more keenly felt.
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For my family, who taught me that when you are knocked considerably sideways, you get up and keep going, or you get up and go in a slightly different direction.
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When I set down the initial report, sitting at my desk at the Tombs, I wrote: On the night of August 21, 1845, one of the children escaped.
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Book description
In 1845 New York City Timothy Wilde, a twenty-seven-year-old Irish immigrant, joins the newly formed NYPD and investigates an infanticide and the body of a twelve-year-old Irish boy whose spleen has been removed.
Haiku summary
Timothy Wilde is
One of New York's first police

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0399158375, Hardcover)

1845. New York City forms its first police force. The great potato famine hits Ireland. These two seemingly disparate events will change New York City. Forever.

Timothy Wilde tends bar near the Exchange, saving every dollar and shilling in hopes of winning the girl of his dreams. But when his dreams literally incinerate in a fire devastating downtown Manhattan, he finds himself disfigured, unemployed, and homeless. His older brother obtains Timothy a job in the newly minted NYPD, but he is highly skeptical of this untested "police force." And he is less than thrilled that his new beat is the notoriously down-and-out Sixth Ward-at the border of Five Points, the world's most notorious slum.

One night while returning from his rounds, heartsick and defeated, Timothy runs into a little slip of a girl—a girl not more than ten years old—dashing through the dark in her nightshift . . . covered head to toe in blood.

Timothy knows he should take the girl to the House of Refuge, yet he can't bring himself to abandon her. Instead, he takes her home, where she spins wild stories, claiming that dozens of bodies are buried in the forest north of 23rd Street. Timothy isn't sure whether to believe her or not, but, as the truth unfolds, the reluctant copper star finds himself engaged in a battle for justice that nearly costs him his brother, his romantic obsession, and his own life.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:32 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

New York City, 1845. Timothy Wilde, a 27-year-old Irish immigrant, joins the newly formed NYPD and investigates an infanticide and the body of a 12-year-old Irish boy whose spleen has been removed.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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