Wednesday, November 14, 2007

City of Glory by Beverly Swerling

Sequel to City of Dreams by Beverly Swerling.

Overview: Swerling sets her enthralling follow-up to City of Dreams against the backdrop of the War of 1812, when New Yorkers are suffering the dire economic effects of a British blockade of American ports, and talk of secession is rife. In Manhattan, the wealthy and unscrupulous trader Gornt Blakeman is the leader of the secessionist schemers. Blakeman's nemesis, and Swerling's larger-than-life hero, is surgeon and patriot Joyful Patrick Turner. Having lost a hand to a British cannonball earlier in the war, Joyful returns to Manhattan to start over as a "Canton trader." When Blakeman tries to rally New Yorkers to secede and kidnaps Joyful's sweetheart, the comely and headstrong Manon Vionne, Joyful races to expose Blakeman's treachery and rescue Manon from his clutches. Swerling's swashbuckling tale brings old Manhattan vividly to life, throbbing with restless energy and populated with a diverse and intriguing cast of characters: both real (John Jacob Astor) and richly imagined.

My review: While I enjoyed City of Dreams I liked City of Glory so much better. Having a story with so much history and so many participants is much easier follow over the 10 days this story takes place than the 130 or so years of her first book. While only 2 main characters carry over you could read this book as a stand alone.

One of my issues with her first book and, integral part of that story, were the medical scenes of which there are only a couple in this sequel. Rather these characters are involved with trying to keep a new nation together in a time of crisis. Her characters come to life and the time in which they live is described with such attention to detail that one would believe they were actually there. The story is very entertaining and moves along.


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