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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
In the tradition of The Gangs of New York and Paradise Alley, Metropolis revisits 19th-century New York, fusing fact and fiction to capture the moment when a culture based on corruption and greed began to yield to one of hope and industry. Elizabeth Gaffney provides a keenly focused historical perspective the old-fashioned way -- by creating a boisterous tale of flesh-and-blood immigrants all yearning for the American Dream. Her characters long for success but also for love, a goal that seems unattainable amid the filth and violence on the streets.
Gaffney's narrative is built around an honest, pragmatic German immigrant with a penchant for being in the wrong place at the most inopportune of times. When he's set up for torching the building that houses P. T. Barnum's menagerie, he finds himself with few options but to join the ranks of a notorious Irish gang, the Whyos. Falling in love with his protector, a ruthless pickpocket named Beatrice, Gaffney's hero is clued in to the gang's elaborate schemes as well as their secret musical language.
As fraught with suspense as it is rich in period detail, Metropolis draws readers into a New York both older than the Brooklyn Bridge and more labyrinthine than the sewer system that serves the burgeoning metropolis. (Summer 2005 Selection)