Start reading The Orphanmaster: A Novel of Early Manhattan on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Enter a promotion code
or gift card
 
 
 

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Color:
Image not available

To view this video download Flash Player

 

The Orphanmaster: A Novel of Early Manhattan [Kindle Edition]

Jean Zimmerman
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $7.99
You Save: $8.01 (50%)
Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

Whispersync for Voice

Now you can switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible audiobook. Learn more or scan your Kindle library to find matching professional narration for the Kindle books you already own.

Add the professional narration of The Orphanmaster: A Novel of Early Manhattan for a reduced price of $12.99 after you buy this Kindle book.

Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $7.99  
Hardcover $20.47  
Paperback $12.61  
Audio, CD, Audiobook, CD --  
Multimedia CD --  
Audible Audio Edition, Unabridged $20.95 or Free with Audible 30-day free trial
Highly Rated Kindle Books
Discover your next great read with these literature & fiction picks and more. Learn more

Book Description

A love story wrapped around a murder mystery, set in seventeenth-century Manhattan
 
In 1663 in the hardscrabble colony of New Amsterdam—today’s lower Manhattan—orphan children are going missing and residents suspect a serial killer. The list of possible culprits is long and strange. Among those looking into the mystery are a shrewd young Dutch woman, Blandine van Couvering, and a dashing Englishman, Edward Drummond, whose newfound romance is threatened by horrible accusations.
            In this spellbinding work of historical fiction, Jean Zimmerman relates the harsh realities of life in early Manhattan, re-creating the sights, smells, and textures of the rough settlement surrounded by wilderness and subject to political turmoil. Compulsively readable and filled with New York history, The Orphanmaster will delight fans of Caleb Carr, Hilary Mantel, and Geraldine Brooks.


Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought


Editorial Reviews

Review


 
Praise for The Orphanmaster:

 
The Orphanmaster is a sweeping novel of great and precise imaginative intelligence; it's also the most entertaining and believable historical novel I've read in years. Jean Zimmerman is a debut novelist who already writes like an old master. Read any page of The Orphanmaster and you'll become an instant fan.” – Darin Strauss, author of Half a Life and Chang and Eng


“Jean Zimmerman's seventeenth-century New Amsterdam teems with enough intrigue, lust, and madness to give our twenty-first-century Big Apple a run for its money. And money is what drives this book – liberating, corrupting, forming the only bulwark against a terrifying, chaotic New World. Zimmerman's wit and humanity shine light in a dark woods, creating an uncommonly rich debut.” – Sheri Holman, author of The Dress Lodger

 
 “Here’s American history turned inside out, animated by Jean Zimmerman’s prodigious imagination. Monsters lurk in the shadows, chaos presses in, legends come alive, and one adventure leads with irresistible force to the next. The Orphanmaster is a breathtaking achievement.” – Joanna Scott, author of Arrogance and Various Antidotes

 
“[A] compulsively readable, heartbreaking, and grisly mystery set in a wild colonial America.” ALA Booklist

 
“A feisty young Dutch woman, an English spy, and a local demon all cross paths in 1663 New Amsterdam, in this Ludlumesque historical thriller…a successful mix of historical fiction, spy thriller, and horror.” Library Journal

"As in the best historical fiction, [Zimmerman] has created a kind of truce between the authority of the past and the accessibility of the present, revealing to us what it once meant to be alive, and what that history means to us now ... on nearly every page there is some unobtrusively offered word or description, of food, of architecture, of dress, that brings the period and its people into clearer focus." – USA Today

"Absorbing period fiction with the requisite colorful characters of the era." – The New York Daily News

About the Author

Jean Zimmerman is the author The Orphanmaster and several works of nonfiction, including Love Fiercely and The Women of the House. Born in Tarrytown, New York, she is a graduate of Barnard College and Columbia University School of the Arts. She lives in Ossining, New York.

Product Details

  • File Size: 769 KB
  • Print Length: 429 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (June 19, 2012)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0074VTHZ2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,370 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "The place is cursed." June 20, 2012
Format:Hardcover
Jean Zimmerman captures the political, religious, and economic climate as well as the culture and physical setting of New Amsterdam in her historical thriller, "The Orphanmaster." The year is 1663. Zimmerman's heroine is the beautiful, brash and quick-witted Blandine van Couvering. The twenty-two year old woman sorely misses her parents and young sister, all dead after a tragic accident at sea. However, she is determined to plan for the future and be her own person, beholden to no one.

Blandine is an up-and-coming trader who "[takes] for granted her independent status before the law" and converses easily in Dutch, English, and French. The only question is: Will she marry her suitor, Kees Bayard, the nephew of Petrus Stuyvesant, New Amsterdam's dictatorial director-general? Against this colorful backdrop of life in the Dutch settlement before the English annexation, Zimmerman presents a macabre murder mystery. A fiend has been abducting, slaughtering, and mutilating children. Blandine and a thirty-three year old English cavalier, Richard Drummond, join forces to catch this sadistic killer.

Zimmerman adroitly depicts the greed of the Dutch West India Company whose members worshipped wealth in all its forms. They liked nothing better than the "musical ringing of coins and hollow clink of wampum." The Dutch bought and sold such commodities as clay pipes, fur pelts, pots and pans, fabric, molasses, knives, and muskets. Although many attended church, they also had a superstitious bent. In their world, demons and witches existed and could do untold harm to innocent people.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Set in the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam circa 1663, the British moving ever closer to attempted acquisition, Manhattan comes vividly to life in Zimmerman's mesmerizing novel, where industry and opportunity coexist with threat and violence, where Indian Wars, accidents and disease randomly decimate families, children deprived of parents. The characters are critical components of the tale, as much for their representation of class and governance as for their individual roles in the growing mystery of missing orphans. Children- orphans- have begun to disappear, their small bodies, if found, sites of ritual horrors common to the "witika", the demon-beast apparition of Indian lore. While trade flourishes, the director general of the colony, one-legged Petrus Stuyvesant, attempts to tamp a rising panic as a killer stalks the innocent, snatching them from wilderness and public streets with impunity.

Zimmerman's heroine is Blandine van Couvering, a Dutch-American she-merchant stunningly adept at the art of the deal, building her fortune and reputation. And if there is a hero, it is the handsome Edward Drummond, an English spy sent to ferret out the regicides hiding in the New World, the targets of Charles II's redress. Though their relationship begins combatively, and Blandine is (almost) spoken for my Stuyvesant's nephew "Kees" Bayard, it will take the efforts of the unlikely, if striking pair, with some assistance by Blandine's shadow, larger-than-life African Antony Angola and Algonquin tracker Kitane to bring the marauding monster to ground.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bizarre at Times July 2, 2012
Format:Audible Audio Edition
In the young New Netherlands colony, orphans are disappearing. The evidence recovered suggests some may have even been partially eaten. The leading theory is a Native American beast who consumes children. Terrifying an entire community, but irrevocably changing the town's Orphanmaster, a she-merchant and an English spy hunting fugitives.

For such a dark story, I was surprised at how well it was researched. In fact some of the chapters open with headlines. You get a good sense of the politics, social protocol and economic feel of the time period. You can't help but come away with a better understanding of the origins of Manhattan.

Some warnings:
-The story is gruesome throughout
-The story's romance is contrived. It feels sort of forced amongst the rest of the subject matter.
- There are also many narrators telling the story. They are all pretty roughly sketched (but eerily memorable). The collective tells the story of the colony and it's time more than any one character. The timeline isn't fluid either. At times this ensures the reader is lost, and that the author may even be employing the confusion.

So it's not for everyone. But if you keep to it, the novel really picks up momentum towards the end of the story and even becomes focused.

The novel's narrator George Guidall was perfect. He reads the entire novel as if he's voicing over a movie trailer. I will definitely be on the lookout for more performances from him.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wildly uneven writing September 7, 2012
Format:Hardcover
This book was a trial to read. There is lots of interesting period detail but many of the structures seem contrived and inserted only to make the plot go.
For example, Drummond is a spy whose hobby is making telescopes and he brings glass-making equipment along with him on his spying trips, although he seemingly is a grain merchant but does not learn about grain to make his story work. Not very believable. Blandine is a super-woman who knows and does everything (she knows the intricate details of gun history and making, she must have picked this up before she became an orphan) and has made a special gun, smithing the iron hoops herself. They take a sleigh up a frozen river and get near Springfield in one day. Over 100 miles in one day, in the cold?
All the egregious errors and a few seemingly anachronistic phrases just burst the believability bubble for me and I finished the book rather disappointed that it hadn't been edited better.
The period detail makes the book interesting but the author needs a lot more advice about crafting plot details so that they remain believable.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars One of the worst books I have ever read.
Tedious to get through, ridiculously violent, poorly written, poor character development, disgusting, unrealistic, etc. Read more
Published 1 day ago by sfcp
2.0 out of 5 stars Great period setting but grisly plot didn't work
I was enchanted with the detailed view of New Amsterdam -- I come from NYC -- and initially drawn into the story of an independent young woman making her own way, but as the... Read more
Published 7 days ago by Avid Reader
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
Although the story began in a lively, intriguing way. By the end, it had dissolved into preposterous adventures, sloppily tied together events and absurd descriptions... Read more
Published 10 days ago by Terry M. Perlin
3.0 out of 5 stars Fiction with historical slant
Good historical narrative regarding the development of Manhatten in the 17th Century. The romantic scenes spoilt it. Good information about the indigenous people of the area
Published 1 month ago by Paul Taylor
3.0 out of 5 stars Good characters - interesting plot
the plot was good. Characters were excellent. Romance unneeded Reveal too early As a ny'er it was cool to read what the town was like
Published 2 months ago by donna e smith
3.0 out of 5 stars Too gruesome
I very much enjoyed the history in this novel, although how accurate it is, I have no idea. The writing is passable, but, at times, grinding. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Alfreda
5.0 out of 5 stars Puritan Evil
For those who like American history and crime, Jean Zimmerman’s debut historical novel, “Orphan Master,” is about as good as it gets. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jim Duggins, Ph.D.
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but Grisly
I enjoyed the historical nature of the book and learned a great deal about early Manhattan and the Dutch settlers. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Norma D
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay Book, George Guidall Makes the Audiobook Much More Enjoyable.
I listened to this audiobook on Sirius XM Radio's now defunct Book Radio. Reader George Guidall could read the white pages and make it enjoyable, so at least in that respect, the... Read more
Published 4 months ago by T. DeWitt
1.0 out of 5 stars Opportunity lost - too perfect heroine spoils and interesting setup
The too perfect heroine, constructed from nothing but cliches, leaves an empty hole in the middle of what could have been an interesting novel. The setting is brilliant. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Duncansdad
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

More About the Author

I am a New York-based writer and I have made the history of Manhattan a central focus of both my fiction and nonfiction.

My most recent novel is Savage Girl (Viking, 2014) a mystery with a twist of fable about a "feral child" who gets transformed Pygmalion style into a Gilded Age debutante.

My previous books include the historical novel The Orphanmaster, which told the story of a spunky, beautiful heroine and her sensitive yet manly lover who together embark on a quest to solve a series of grisly crimes in 1663 New Amsterdam.

My most recent nonfiction work was Love, Fiercely: A Gilded Age Romance, a portrait of an iconic couple of Gilded Age Manhattan.

An honors graduate of Barnard College, I earned a graduate degree in writing from the Columbia University School of the Arts, published my poetry widely in literary magazines, and received a Writing Fellowship from New York Foundation for the Arts.

I live with my family in Westchester County, New York.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?



Forums

There are no discussions about this product yet.
Be the first to discuss this product with the community.
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 


Look for Similar Items by Category


ARRAY(0xa25d2840)