The Gods Of Gotham by Lyndsay FayeThe Gods Of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye

The Gods Of Gotham

byLyndsay Faye

Hardcover | February 11, 2014

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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.

Lyndsay Faye is the author of critically acclaimed Dust and Shadow and is featured in Best American Mystery Stories 2010. Faye, a true New Yorker in the sense that she was born elsewhere, lives in Manhattan with her husband, Gabriel. To learn more about Lyndsay Faye, please visit
Title:The Gods Of GothamFormat:HardcoverDimensions:432 pages, 9.27 × 6.37 × 1.36 inPublished:February 11, 2014Publisher:Penguin USALanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0399158375

ISBN - 13:9780399158377

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Rated 2 out of 5 by from slow i found it very slow and it dragged on.... #plumreview
Date published: 2017-05-25
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A good read! I enjoyed this historical fiction. I loved the premise of the newly appointed police department in the Five Points of New York. Faye weaves an interesting story consisting of anti-Irish sentiment, dead children, poverty and crime. I only rated this 3 out of 5 because I did find the ending to be anti-climatic.
Date published: 2017-05-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from You'll Get MORE Than Your Money's Worth I bought this book on a whim, but mostly because it was a $5 clearance novel. Now I almost feel guilty for spending so little on it because this book is amazing! Faye has done amazing research about the time period and customs of this New World - New York era. However, the slang can be a bit confusing, the reason why I am giving this book a 4/5 instead of a 5/5. The suspense of the novel makes it hard to put down and draws you into the story she has created. Definitely a brilliant summer read, especially if you can find them on sale like I did.
Date published: 2017-04-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Gods of Gotham Wonderfully written characters, intriguing historical murder mystery.
Date published: 2017-03-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from a good read! Quite interesting book, great pace, love the history... well done!
Date published: 2017-02-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very good read I thoroughly enjoyed this book and series. I found it to be very well written and a very good mystery. It does take a little time to get used to the lingo in the book as she uses slang from that era, so at times you can get confused. Once you get the swing of it though you can fully engross yourself in the book
Date published: 2017-02-13
Rated 1 out of 5 by from A waste of valuable reading time This book was my Book Club choice and, being a mystery lover, I was excited to read it. It did not take long for me to become completely frustrated by Ms. Faye's writing style. She is a fan of the simile and overdoes it to such an extent as to be humourous-- if it wasn't so irritating. I can appreciate how the author did meticulous research, but she should have written a non-fiction book about the period because, as a novel, this book failed. The characters were wooden and the plot was cumbersome. As for the mystery, I couldn't muster more than mild curiosity as to "whodunnit". Because I was urged by friends to finish the book, I did, and gave a huge sigh of relief when the ordeal was over.
Date published: 2015-05-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Gods of Gotham This amazing novel is so well written that this reader can almost hear and smell 19th century New York. It is set at a time when the city was just setting up its first police force. Copper star, Timothy Wilde, is a completely believable character, with all the flaws and nobility of Everyman. The butchered bodies of children are being discovered and they are known to have worked in the brothels. Amidst the political turmoil and religious strife between the immigrant Irish and the "Nativists", Timothy must work quickly to solve the case. The story is fast-moving and dramatic, as well as an excellent police procedural mystery. It filled all my needs for a book that grabbed my attention and held it to the end.
Date published: 2014-04-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Marvelous historical mystery This amazing novel starts off as a whodunnit set in New York with the introduction of the Copper Stars police force. And quickly becomes an intriguing historical record of that time period including the slang and customs of the era told in exquisite detail. And while I thought I had figured out the puzzle before the end, I was very surprised at the twist in the story. A completely satisfying read by a promising author.
Date published: 2013-11-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I could smell the 5 points Wonderfully written with excellent characters. I love historical fiction when it hits the mark and transports you through time.
Date published: 2013-07-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from The Gods of Gotham Take two historic events, stir in New York City, add a mystery, and you have an absorbing story. Before 1845, New York City had no police force. That year, a new group of "roundsmen" tried to maintain law and order in the city, but not all New Yorkers welcomed or trusted them. New Yorkers met the men who wore copper stars with sneers and resentment. In the same year, Irish emigrants fled the potato famine in their home country and descended upon the city by the thousands. New Yorkers reviled the poor, hungry, diseased, predominately Catholic Irish arrivals. This historical fiction novel relates the story of what could happen in New York City during the birth of a new police force and a dramatic change in demographics. Lyndsay Faye tells the story through the voice of Timothy Wilde, a man who has the course of his life altered by traumatic fires. Wilde is one of several characters who personify Faye's theme of the human need to "pick up and keep going, or pick up and keep going in a slightly different direction" after tragedy. Wilde is a likeable character who gives us gems like: ". . . idiots treasure their facts like newborns . . ." and "Hopstill [a minor character] is a menace to cheerful thought." Faye uses the terminology of the time, and provides a handy reference guide to the "Flash" dialect of the mid-1800s. The language suits the character and the story, and doesn't become tiresome. She adds authenticity to the tale when she mixes real people, like George Washington Matsell, into the story. (He oversaw the founding of the police force.) Faye's creates characters with complexities and contradictions—believable characters, in other words. She bluntly spells out the depravities of the time, and the abuse the Irish and the blacks endured, but still manages to keep the story uplifting and with enough goodness to keep us believing in the human spirit. I'm a fan of historical fiction—I love to learn while I being entertained. I learned many things about New York City that I did not know, and I was entertained.
Date published: 2013-06-05
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Copper stars I love to read books about places I like to visit, and NYC is definitely one of them. Some of the early history of NY and the beginning of a police force of "copper stars" was interesting, but the book never really grabbed me. I didn't find that Timothy was a hero I could cheer for, but his brother Val was rather odd, intriguing, and didn't get nearly enough 'screen-time'. Timothy sets about trying to solve a serial crime, but I don't think the reader was given enough clues along the way to possibly piece together the conclusions Tim reaches, so I was left wanting.
Date published: 2013-03-15
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Disappointing Although this book has been highly recommended by others, I found it slow going in several chapters. The first half of the book was intriguing about life in the mid 1800’s in New York, along with usage of “flash” terminology. However, I started to lose interest during the second half of the book and found myself skimming to the end rather than virtually giving up on it entirely.
Date published: 2013-01-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Timothy Wilde #1 Timothy Wilde is a “copper star” in the slums of New York in 1845. And he’s determined to find the serial killer who’s murdering children and burying them in a field. This book is rich in’s moves fluidly from start to finish with characters who were foreign to me simply because of the time period. Lyndsay Faye does a great job of bringing these characters to life using vivid descriptions and language. The ending of the book wraps up the story quite nicely. I’m left to wonder about this time period, what it must have been like to live from hand to mouth in a city where having nothing meant fighting for survival. Put murder and mystery into the story and you definitely have a book that you can’t put down.
Date published: 2013-01-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Completely Enjoyable! Kudos to authors who can blend historical elements with fictional characters to tell a great story. The creation of the first New York City Police Department was a great backdrop and the journey of the lead character Timothy Wilde was gripping.
Date published: 2012-08-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Bad Cover, Bad Title, Fantastic Read This turned out to be one of the best historical history books I have read in a long time. It is compared to the movie "Gangs of New York", but after the first chapter, this book turns direction to the creation of the first detective of the new New York Police Dept. One of the best reads of the year for me.
Date published: 2012-07-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A really enjoyable historical mystery! I received this audiobook for review from the publisher. I did not receive any compensation for my review, and the views expressed herein are my own. This story takes place in New York City during the time of the Irish Potato Famine, which sends many Irish people abroad in search of a better life. Timothy Wilde has had a hard life. When he was just a youngster, his parents were killed in a fire that ravaged their home and barn. Only he and his older brother, Valentine, survived. Valentine became a pseudo-father to his younger brother and took care of him, and Timothy grew up to be a bartender. It was an honest job for pretty good pay, and he saved every dime he earned so that he could offer something to the apple of his eye, Mercy Underhill. And then, the unthinkable happens: Another fire destroys the bar where he works, as well as his home. Not only have all of his savings been melted in the fire, but his face is also scarred by burns. His dreams have now been destroyed, and he has nothing. Valentine arranges a job for Timothy as a "Copper Star" in the newly-founded police force. Timothy rents a room above a bakery owned by a widow, Mrs. Boehm. A young ten year-old girl, Bird Daley, literally runs into Timothy one evening and she is covered in blood. Rather than take her to the police, Timothy takes her back to Mrs. Boehm's place. The girl has a penchant for lying, and she tells Timothy one falsehood after another. Because of Bird, he is thrown into the city's largest homicide case: Kinchin mabs (aka child prostitutes) are being killed and mutilated, with large crosses cut into their chests. Because of her volunteer work with the poor, Mercy Underhill is drawn into the investigation to identify a victim. Little does Timothy realize that Mercy is the key to solving these unspeakable crimes. This was a really good historical mystery! Faye is a new-to-me author, and Timothy Wilde is just such a fantastic character! He has grown up in the school of hard knocks, and he keeps on keepin' on. He is absolutely brilliant and was made for detective work. After the second fire forced him to find a new place to live, he searched out just the right one. Living above the bakery would ensure that he would be kept well-nourished with day-old bread, even if money was tight. In the winter, the heat from the ovens would warm his room without the need for a fire. He is a natural! I love a mystery that can keep me guessing, and Faye did that for me. With a few shocking revelations, she held my interest right until the end of the story. Faye is a fascinating story-teller, weaving in just the right amount of historical detail. There was a little more political talk than I cared for, but still very enjoyable. I will definitely look into her backlist while I await the next installment in the Timothy Wilde series. Steven Boyer is a new-to-me narrator, and I just loved his performance! His voice was clear and pleasant to the ears, with the right amount of emotion. I wish he would be more liberal with his accents, as his voice for German Mrs. Boehm is, by far, my favourite! Some narrators doing opposite-gender voices sound awkward, but not so with Boyer! He sounds very authentic. MY RATING: 4 stars!! It was really good, and you should put it on your TBR list! Thanks to Penguin Audio for the review copy!
Date published: 2012-05-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A+ Historical Fiction 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.
Date published: 2012-05-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A great read!! I bought this book on a whim. It was in an Indigo email that I received and Im so glad I did. I love historical fiction and this one definately does not disapoint. It is very well written and the characters are fantastic. "Timothy Wilde" is a character that I will hang on to for a long time.... I cant wait for the sequel :-)
Date published: 2012-05-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Eight Bookcases Check out my review of Faye's work on my blog:
Date published: 2012-04-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from History and mystery and a very good read! The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye's is newly released novel today. And it's definitely one you want to get your hands on! "On the night of August 21, 1845, one of the children escaped." I was captured from that opening line - hook line and sinker. History and mystery combined is a sure bet for me and Faye did not disappoint. 1845 is a turning point in the history of New York City. Thousands of immigrants fleeing from the potato famine in Ireland settle in the city and the first formal police force is formed. That line? It's from a report written by 'copper star' Timothy Wilde, a policeman in the Sixth Ward - home to the notorious Five Points and more. Wilde has been hired on based on the recommendation of his bigger than life brother, Valentine. And also on his knowledge of 'flash'. " Flash, or flash-patter, is the curious dialect spoken by foisters, panel thieves, bruisers, dice burners, confidence men, street rats, news hawkers, addicts, and Valentine.....It's not a language, exactly - it's more like a code." Faye provides us with a mini lexicon in the beginning of the book, based on George Washington Matsell's actual book from 1859. (Take the Penguin 'Flash" quiz here.)Matsell is also a character in the book. I loved the amount of history and detail that Lyndsay Faye has woven into her book. It brought the time period to life - the political machinations, the religious unrest, the racial prejudice and the social fabric of the time provided a engrossing backdrop for a delicious plot. Faye's prose paint vivid pictures: (It's a long passage but especially good!) "If there's a wider street on earth than Broadway, a street more roiling, a street with a more dizzying pendulum swing between starving opium fiends with the rags rotting off of them and ladies in walking gowns bedecked like small steamships, I can't imagine it nor do I want to. Colored footmen sitting atop phaetons and wearing summer straw hats and pale green linen coats whirred past me that morning, one nearly colliding with a Jewess selling ribbons from a wide hinged box hung around her neck. Ice delivery men from the Knickerbocker Company, shoulders knotted with painful-seeming muscles, strained with iron tongs to hoist frozen blocks onto carts and then wheeled their cargo into the opulent hotels before the guests awoke. And weaving in and out, mud-crusted and randy and miraculously nimble, trotted the speckled pigs, rubbery snouts nuzzling the trampled beet leaves. Everything begrimed but the storefront window panes, everything for sale but the cobblestones, everyone pulsing with energy but never meeting your eye" But what really grabbed me were the characters. Timothy's life changes radically over the course of the book. From a bartender saving his coins, dreaming of marriage and a small piece of land to being consumed with solving the child murder cases that have fallen in his lap - and finding out he's very good at it. "I wanted to know how they came to be there like very little else I've ever wanted, and I'd never felt so about a puzzle before....this was a single goal, a mountain to climb and see the top with your own eyes, and I needed to know." The relationship between Timothy and his brother Valentine is a mystery to be solved as well. I loved the cast of eclectic supporting characters - especially Mr. Piest and George Matsell. Lyndsay Faye has combined a great mystery with a fascinating look at history and engaging characters, all of which kept me up late, rapidly turning 'just one more page'. I truly hope that that Faye has plans to continue on with these characters. **Just found in an interview with Kirkus reviews...."The first draft of the sequel is finished, actually. It’s the winter of 1846, about six months later, and in it I merrily continue to do terrible, terrible things to Tim and Val." Fans of Caleb Carr's The Alienist would enjoy this book. And author Michael Connelly says "A wonderful book. Lyndsay Faye's command of historical detail is remarkable and her knowledge of hum"A wonderful book. Lyndsay Faye's command of historical detail is remarkable and her knowledge of human character even more so. I bought into this world in the opening pages and never once had the desire to leave. It's a great read." Five stars for me!
Date published: 2012-03-15

Editorial Reviews

“The Gods of Gotham is a wonderful book. Lyndsay Faye’s command of historical detail is remarkable, and her knowledge of human character even more so. I bought into this world in the opening pages and never once had the desire to leave. It’s a great read!” —Michael Connelly“Lyndsay Faye is a superstar-caliber writer. She confidently and exquisitely re-creates the past while her characters live on with you in the present, the elusive gold standard for a historical novel. The Gods of Gotham is a gift to the genre that readers will surely relish while we wait for Faye’s next one.” —Matthew Pearl, bestselling author of The Dante Club“Intriguingly complex yet deliciously smooth, The Gods of Gotham is, in a word, stunning. The vivid characters and deft use of the historical setting read like the work of an established writer at the top of her (or indeed, his) career—that Faye is a newcomer is cause for an exuberance of fireworks, at the mere thought of so many superb novels yet to come.” —Laurie R. King, New York Times–bestselling author of The God of the Hive and The Beekeeper’s Apprentice“The Gods of Gotham is a revelation. Lyndsay Faye puts the drive and passion of a modern thriller onto the mean streets of 1840s New York. She brings a fascinating page of history to life with a gripping, twisty plot, vivid characters, and seamless research. This is historical fiction at its best.” —Daniel Stashower, two-time Edgar-winning author of Teller of Tales and The Beautiful Cigar Girl“Lyndsay Faye’s exquisite new novel, The Gods of Gotham, plunges us into the teeming, sordid streets of old New York. But this is no Whartonian idyll—Faye’s Manhattan is a raucous underworld of criminals and chiselers, the infamous Five Points, where thieves speak their own argot, the sanitation department consists of free-running pigs, and Tammany-backed ‘dead rabbits’ rule with an iron fist. In this vivid and impeccably crafted adventure, newly minted ‘copper star’ Timothy Wilde is the only man who can solve a series of gruesome murders plaguing Gotham. Faye’s prose crackles with historical authenticity so cunningly rendered that readers will lose themselves from the very first turn of the page.” —Katherine Howe, bestselling author of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane“Penetrating psychological study, flawless social history, beautifully crafted thriller . . . The Gods of Gotham is all these things, and a crackling great yarn to boot. Old New York has never been so blazingly alive. Lyndsay Faye is a writer to watch—and keep watching.” —Louis Bayard, author of The School of Night“The Gods of Gotham is an enthralling novel that immediately pulls readers into its twisting tale of murder, conspiracy, and socio-religious turmoil. With an engaging narrator, smart rendering of time and place, and gripping suspense, this superb story is virtually impossible to put down.” —Stefanie Pintoff, Edgar–winning author of In the Shadow of Gotham“With crisp prose, memorable characters, and an impressive respect for its historic setting, The Gods of Gotham pulls you into old New York’s days of the Five Points. Lyndsay Faye is a writer to watch.” —Alafair Burke, author of Long Gone“Reading The Gods of Gotham is like being magically transported to another time. You’ll be overwhelmed with the sights, sounds, smells, and chaos of New York in the 1840s, while never losing sight of the fact that this is a first-rate crime novel for any era. I can’t wait to see what Lyndsay Faye will conjure next.” —Otto Penzler, The Mysterious Bookshop“Lyndsay Faye makes it look easy to write a great historical mystery: First, research the hell out of a remote time period, painstakingly paint a picture of that alien world (in this case, mid-nineteenth-century New York), and then craft a story so compelling that the reader forgets that it’s alien! Her masterful Dust and Shadow reinvigorated Sherlock Holmes versus Jack the Ripper, but this wholly different tale confirms a talent far beyond her (damn her) thirty-year-old age.” —Leslie S. Klinger, author of The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes“The Gods of Gotham blew me away. Unflinching and bold, creative and dazzling, cinematic: nineteenth-century New York is alive.” —Laura Caldwell, author of Long Way Home and Claim of Innocence“The Gods of Gotham is a detective tale set in an era before the invention of the detective. Fully captured are the vibrant scenes and vivid characters of 1840s New York: cavernous oyster saloons, gutter rats feasting on oxtail, righteous abolitionists haranguing skeptics, opulent Greene Street brothels, and much more. Lyndsay Faye captures antebellum New York in all its warped beauty and pornographic decadence.” —Timothy J. Gilfoyle, professor and chair of history, Loyola University Chicago“It’s been almost twenty years since Caleb Carr’s bestselling Olde New York crime novel, The Alienist, was published, and I can’t count the number of times since then that someone has asked me if I can recommend a suspense story anything ‘like it.’ Well, New York has inspired lots of terrific thrillers, but I’ve just stumbled on one of the worthiest successors yet. Lyndsay Faye’s novel, The Gods of Gotham.” —Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s Fresh Air“Put Lyndsay Faye’s The Gods of Gotham on your to-buy list. . . . A treat for readers.” —USA Today “[A] rollicking historical novel . . . sensational account . . ." —Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review“Vivid period details, fully formed characters, and a blockbuster of twisty plot put Faye in a class with Caleb Carr.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)“[A] top-notch historical thriller  . . . Faye’s richly imagined, superbly plotted narrative . . . delivers not one, not two, but three bravura twists.” —Kirkus Reviews “Faye’s new novel . . . dramatically light[s] up this turbulent era. [Her] use of flash, an underground language akin to thieves’ cant (British criminal jargon), further enriches this engrossing historical thriller.” —Library Journal (starred review)One of Kirkus Review’s Top 10 Best Crime Novels of 2012