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Ron CharlesBeverly Swerling calls her latest epic about the early history of Manhattan "a novel of war and desire," but it contains a lot more desire than war. In fact, war is pretty far down its list of ingredients -- below pirates, prostitutes, runaway slaves, Chinese gangsters, man-eating rats, kidnappings, riots, rapes, amputations, secret engagements, financial panics, buried treasures and crotchless bloomers. Clearly, if Swerling had been my history teacher, I would have paid closer attention. Perhaps the only sign of restraint in this plot is that she doesn't have sharks swimming in the Hudson.
— The Washington Post