Seven for a Secret – New York – Lyndsay Faye

Want to visit New York when the first police force was created? Yes!
Want to visit New York when the first police force was created? Yes!

Seven for a Secret is the second Gods of Gotham novel and whips you back to New York in 1846 six months following the inception of the first police force in the city.

But this is a increasingly dangerous New York for the city is experiencing an influx of  immigrants. Tensions are high.

This is a novel which is historically rich and perfectly evocative in every line from the use of the Flash language used at the time by the criminal fraternity to the sights, sounds and smells of the cities and its locations –

Five points 1827
Five points 1827

The two most iconic sites in the novel are the Five Points and the tombs – the tombs was the name for the prison and police station at the time and it was situated in the Five points area of the city – a notorious slum full of vice.

However the focus of the novel is the underground railway and the story of the  underworld of New York,  the horrific dealings of the so called Blackbirders –  those who seized so called runaway slaves from the south – (many innocents, free men were captured instead – the story of Solomon Northup is alluded to).

Solomon Northup
Solomon Northup

Many people might know know the story of the Underground Railroad that formed to try to smuggle slaves from plantations up to free states and to Canada, but hardly anyone talks about the fact that free people of color were snatched up all the time and sold in the other direction.

Solomon Northup for example was one such man who was snatched from his family and taken to work on a plantatino in the south.  It is a shocking tale of free African Americans who whilst out for the day minding their own business can be taken off the street and then sold for profit.

Lyndsay Faye
Lyndsay Faye

Allow Lyndsay to take you on a tour herself –

A Castle Clinton B- Chinatown   C Old St Patricks and D Ear Inn
A Castle Clinton B- Chinatown C Old St Patricks and D Ear Inn

Five Points is a perfectly clean corporate spot right by Chinatown, for instance, and even the streets have been changed.

But Old St. Patrick’s is still there, and intact, exactly as Timothy would have seen it when paying a visit to Father Sheehy.

Valentine’s house is worth a visit; there’s a very very old building that would have been quite near the water on Spring Street where Val lives, and it’s a wonderful bar called the Ear Inn–one of the best Guinness pours in the city, and a great lunch to boot.  Val would have lived on the second floor, and I described it just at it is still.

If you want to see Castle Garden where the Democrats throw their fete at the end of Seven for a Secret, that’s no longer out on the water, but it’s definitely still there, though it’s calledCastle Clinton.

You can pay a visit to George Washington Matsell’s grave, he’s buried a few blocks from my old apartment at Trinity way uptown in Washington Heights.  And visit the Tenement Museum, it’s wonderful.


On that note, we’ll leave you wandering the streets of Manhattan at your leisure. Happy booktrailing!

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