From Publishers Weekly
Yellow fever, bad water and political corruption make for high drama in a lively, well-researched novel set in 1820s New York City. David Hosack was the doctor famous for attending Hamilton after his duel with Aaron Burr and for founding Bellevue as a hospital for yellow fever victims. As the novel opens, the fever epidemic of 1814 is still a grim memory, and the doctor and his young assistant, Albert Dash, are calling for a quarantine of New York Harbor, as they believe the sickness spreads from incoming ships. Eamonn Casey, publisher of the New York Herald
, and John Laidlaw, a Wall Street tycoon, dispute this theory; Casey, planning to run for governor, agrees to protect Laidlaw's interests in the port in exchange for his financial backing. Dash and Hosack's struggle to thwart the politicians and the disease takes readers through reeking hospitals, closed-door meetings, society soirees and the raging, teeming life of the Bowery, climaxing with scenes of a terrifying riot in the Park Theatre and a panicky mass flight from the city. A love triangle subplot feels a bit hackneyed and sometimes threatens to take over the story, yet the novel contains such vivid scenes and reaches such a satisfying conclusion that it's easy to forgive some occasionally shallow writing. Wood admirably reminds readers of the strange and haphazard evolution of the science, government and culture we take for granted. (Apr.)
Forecast: Local sales should be strongest for this New York novel by a transplanted Australian—it would sit well next to the massive Burrows/Wallace history
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A fascinating first novel. Recommended for fans of historical fiction. -- Kathy Piehl, Library Journal
An engaging tale that combines themes of political, journalistic, and mercantile skullduggery with a gentle romance. -- The Historical Novels Review