The Lucifer Contract

Maan Meyers, Author
Maan Meyers, Author Bantam Books $23.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-553-09707-8
Mass Market Paperbound - 301 pages - 978-0-553-57199-8
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Like a diligent team of archeologists and anthropologists, Annette and Martin Meyers continue mining the rich history of New York City and the fortunes and escapades of their fictional Tonneman family. Proceeding from New Amsterdam in 1664 (The Dutchman), five previous books have brought us 200 years forward to 1864 and a New York bitterly divided during the Civil War. Although it seems clear that the Confederacy is losing the war, a team of Southerners (mostly Kentuckians and mostly veterans of Morgan's Raiders) has come to New York determined to burn the city to the ground. The novel's brief segments shift focus among a large number of characters. While this technique prevents the story from developing much narrative force, it is effective in presenting a cross section of the attitudes, beliefs and prejudices of the time. Young Peter Tonneman, a somewhat dissolute journalist, emerges as the newest member of the clan to make his mark in the city as he catches wind of the arsonists' plan and does his best to ferret out the secrets of the plotters. The plot is an open secret dismissed by many as a rumor designed to help Lincoln's Republicans in Democratic New York come election day. A wealth of surprising and entertaining historical tidbits are woven into the story, and the city comes alive in all its glorious, noisy mid-19th century diversity. (Jan.)
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