The Gods of Gotham

Faye, Lyndsay

Book - 2012
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
The Gods of Gotham
Penguin Putnam

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.

Baker & Taylor
Joining the newly formed NYPD at the height of Ireland's 19th-century potato famine, Timothy reluctantly assumes his duties in a notorious slum district, where in the middle of the night he hears a little girl's claim that dozens of bodies have been buried in a local forest. 60,000 first printing.

& Taylor

Joining the newly formed NYPD in 1845, Timothy reluctantly assumes his duties near the notorious Five Points slum, where in the middle of the night he hears a little girl's claim that dozens of bodies have been buried in a local forest.

Publisher: New York : Amy Einhorn Books, c2012
ISBN: 9780399158377
Branch Call Number: MYSTERY F
Characteristics: 414 p. : map ; 24 cm.


From Library Staff

New York City, 1845: Timothy Wilde is one of the first men hired for the fledgling New York City police force. The recent wave of Irish immigration has packed the slums in poverty-stricken Five Points and made daily life truly a fight for survival. Good historical detail, well-plotted.

Irish immigrants in 1945 New York.

Timothy Wilde, recently appointed to New York City’s brand new police force, finds himself investigating the murder of an Irish Catholic child in a city where the Irish are both ubiquitous and unwelcome.

From the critics

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Jan 10, 2015
  • ses1995 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Historical fiction. Great look into mid-19th century New York--the corruption, poverty, immigrants, politics and the newly formed police dept. Once I got used to the author's turn of phrase I couldn't put it down.

Jul 16, 2014
  • kevfarley rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Very interesting history. Detective mystery O.K.

Mar 27, 2014
  • becker rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This is a blend of history and mystery. The mystery is the garden variety kind but the history is very good. A very well painted picture of the mood, politics, religion and people of New York in 1845.

Jan 13, 2014
  • path111 rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

I was intrigued by the history woven into the story of NYC during the waves of immigration. Then the Irish were despised and seen as the root of all Gotham's faults. The Nativist reaction, couched in presumed superiority over the "others", has some echo these days as well.

But the book's style seemed contrived. The author insisted on using the street language of the day, and even offered a glossary in the initial pages.

Language and sentence structure were often confusing. To what end? I found myself having to go back and re-read paragraphs to seek clarity about what the author was intending to say.

No, I would not recommend.

Dec 13, 2013
  • Robbol rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Not only is this an excellent 'whodunnit', it is also a stark presentation of life in those times. The squalid living conditions for the working poor and newly arrived Irish immigrants. The quite vicious political skullduggery and the racial/religious intolerance. Even the newly appointed 'copper', Timothy Wilde has a struggle to survive from day to day.

Nov 11, 2013
  • KarenW rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

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.

May 23, 2013
  • finn75 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Dark gritty historical read. Loved it. Highly recommended.

Dec 17, 2012
  • BeccaBB rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

This is a dark story. But it happens in what was a dark time. And through Faye’s writing you feel like you really, at least start to, understand what it was like to live at that time. The setting is very realistically brought to life. I like the use of flash (dictionary provided) which is a street language that not everyone understood. It was interesting to learn some of the words and it added something to the realism of the dialogue. There are a host of interesting characters that are complex and well thought out. And with all the different political and personal motives and goals going on you are kept guessing as to how the mystery is going to resolve. The history of the time is interesting to read about and I like the way Timothy turns from a copper star walking a beat into a detective solving crimes by the end of the book. As I’ve mentioned it is a bit of a dark story but without belittling the bleakness of the times or the hardships of the people Faye manages to put some hope in the story too so it does not leave the reader depressed. The ending does leave the possibility that we will be hearing about Timothy Wilde in the future. Which I will be looking forward to.

Nov 06, 2012
  • gvlee rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

I read the first chapter and it didn't engage me. Too drawn out. I couldn't bring myself to read the rest of the book, so this may not be fair to the rest of the book.

Sep 04, 2012


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