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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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8569810,449 (4.01)208
Title:The Gods of Gotham
Authors:Lyndsay Faye
Info:Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam (2012), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 432 pages
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The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye (2012)


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The year the height of the Potato Famine in Ireland sends many Irish people to New York the city gets it's first police force and one of these men is Timothy Wilde. Scarred by an accident his curiosity forces him to look deeper into things and basically to become the first detective. He's both helped and hindered by his politically savvy brother, Valentine who has also joined the police force.

Unrequited love and a lot of messy politics made this an interesting read. You see a lot of the underbelly of New York and a lot of the racism that was prevalent at the time. I'm looking forward to more of this series. ( )
  wyvernfriend | Apr 18, 2017 |
this was a very engaging and vivid read. while i didn't find the mystery too mysterious, and had figured out what was up, that didn't detract from enjoying the storytelling - though, i did find the ending a bit weak compared to the rest of the book. but, there are actually a lot of interesting subjects faye raises in this novel, and i can see it being a good read (and discussion) for a book club. the gods of gotham has a great cast of characters, and i look forward to reading the rest of this series. i am very curious about how it all develops. this book could work very well as a film or TV series adaptation. it could be really atmospheric and really bring 1840s NYC to life. ( )
  Booktrovert | Apr 11, 2017 |
Set in 1845 New York, the NYC police department has just come into being. Amid the roiling animosity by the “Americans” against Irish Catholic immigrants, the “copper stars” commence trying to police the city and themselves, when the murder of a child ignites the fire under the powder keg.

I’m now a fan of Lindsay Faye and The Gods of Gotham. This author made her characters live, planted them in a setting rich with sense of place, and set them in a story both historically significant and worthy as a murder mystery. And to top off a great book, the narrator of the audiobook, Steven Boyer, did an amazing job. 5 stars all around. ( )
1 vote countrylife | Feb 24, 2017 |
When I bought this book, I had no idea it was the first in a series, but I'm happy to discover there are at least two more available for met to read. Set in 1845 New York, this mystery uses to good advantage three historical happenings: a devastating fire that destroyed much of lower Manhattan, the potato famine in Ireland that brought large amounts of Irish immigrants to New York that led to a Protestant-Catholic conflict, and the formation of the New York Police Department. Upon reading the Historical Afterward, I learned a smaller incident, that of the discovery of the body of a murdered infant that sets the tone for the book is also based on reality.

The protagonist is Timothy Wilde, a bartender-turned-copper star of the newly minted NYPD after he's burned in the aforementioned fire and lost his home and savings. Thrust into a case of missing and dead children who were working as prostitutes in one of the bawdy houses, he comes to realize he has real skill at getting to the truth of things. Throw in a complicated relationship with his older, politically connected brother and some social commentary, and the reader is treated with the presence of a wonderful character I sure want to spend more time with. The first half of the 19th Century in New York City is a period with which I'm not very familiar, as it was mostly skipped over back when I was in school, but thanks to this book, I feel I've gotten a bit of education. A good work of historical fiction inspires me to read up on the events covered in the book, and The Gods of Gotham is no exception. ( )
  ShellyS | Feb 16, 2017 |
I absolutely loved this one! Faye captures the very heart and soul of 1845 New York City - or more particularly lower Manhattan - and gave this reader the perfect antihero in Timothy Wilde. Wilde never planned on joining the newly minted NYC police force - known as the Copper Stars for the shape and metallic origins of their hastily crafted "badges" - and his relationship with his older brother Valentine is just one of many side stories captured in this enthralling, sweeping story of crime, religion, politics and friendship. Reading Faye's story, I found my senses of taste, sight, touch and smell responding to her wonderful descriptive writing. The descriptions of certain body mutilations are not for the faint of heart but the complex plot with its twists and detailed forensic analysis, and the well-rounded characters, kept me from shying away from this one. Bird, the homeless girl Tim encounters late one night, is a delight, as are the fast-talking pack of newspaper boys Tim befriends. At its core, this is a police procedural / crime story, but it is so much more than that. It is an exploration of Irish immigration, anti-Catholic sentiment and the essentially lawless state of a younger America and a rich historical fiction worthy of any historical fiction lover's attention.

.... so, am I happy to learn that Faye has written two more books focused on Timothy Wilde? You bet I am! ( )
2 vote lkernagh | Jan 22, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 101 (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
First words
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.
The history of New York's Five Points is rife with legend, speculation, and controversy, but I have done my best to present its condition accurately. (Historical Afterword)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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 6 descriptions

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