City of Dreams
Boston book dealer and treasure hunter, Peter Fallon, makes a reappearance in this, the most recent of Martin’s suspense novels that incorporate historic and seminal events in American history with just plain good storytelling. Here, Peter and his fiancée, Evangeline Carrington, find themselves in the middle of a mystery of Revolutionary War vintage – to discover the hiding place of a box of 1780s New Emission Bonds, minted by Alexander Hamilton and his Treasury in order to compensate those who helped fund America’s war against the British. Peter and Evangeline must locate the bonds before notorious and dangerous forces find them and before they lose their own lives in the bargain. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is determining whether the bonds still have value, a decision that will either make some people very, very rich or not.
Martin deftly carries us along on a centuries-long narrative, weaving together past and present events, piecing together the origins of the bonds in Revolutionary War New York City with a terrific story about the young city and its inhabitants; to Hell’s Kitchen from the late 1890s to the early 1900s, with its tenements, brutality and political corruption; to present-day, post 9-11 New York City. As a New York City native, I found Martin’s take on the City and its very foundations – social, political and financial – fascinating. The characters that people his interlacing stories, even historical figures, are multidimensional.
Even the modern story is entertaining, full of twists and turns. What is obvious is how the City is a composite of all those who came before us, how we are all intertwined and how our histories are, at the most basic level, about commonality more than differences.
This is a solid story, well-told, fast paced and interesting.