In 17th-century New Amsterdam, today Manhattan, 22-year-old trader Blandine von Couvering and British spy Edward Drummond investigate the mysterious disappearance of orphan children. A first novel. - (Baker & Taylor)
In seventeenth-century New Amsterdam, twenty-two-year-old trader Blandine von Couvering and British spy Edward Drummond investigate the mysterious disappearance of orphan children. - (Baker & Taylor)
From a debut novelist, a gripping historical thriller and rousing love story set in seventeenth-century Manhattan
It’s 1663 in the tiny, hardscrabble Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, now present-day southern Manhattan. Orphan children are going missing, and among those looking into the mysterious state of affairs are a quick-witted twenty-two-year-old trader, Blandine von Couvering, herself an orphan, and a dashing British spy named Edward Drummond.
Suspects abound, including the governor’s wealthy nephew, a green-eyed aristocrat with decadent tastes; an Algonquin trapper who may be possessed by a demon that turns people into cannibals; and the colony’s own corrupt and conflicted orphanmaster. Both the search for the killer and Edward and Blandine’s newfound romance are endangered, however, when Blandine is accused of being a witch and Edward is sentenced to hang for espionage. Meanwhile, war looms as the English king plans to wrest control of the colony.
Jean Zimmerman brings New Amsterdam and its surrounding wilderness alive for modern-day readers with exacting period detail. Lively, fast paced, and full of colorful characters, The Orphanmaster is a dramatic page-turner that will appeal to fans of Hilary Mantel and Geraldine Brooks.
- (Penguin Putnam
*Starred Review* In 1663, New Amsterdam colonists are plagued by a malevolent, cannibalistic spirit known as the witika (a version of the Algonquian wendigo); by difficult relations with the local Lenape tribes; and by the despotic cruelty of Director General "Peg Leg" Stuyvesant. Suspicions run rife as orphan children disappear, and when the orphanmaster, Aet Visser, comes under suspicion, his trader friend, Blandine van Couvering, reluctantly joins the handsome English spy, Edward Dummond, in finding the truth. Their mutual attraction is hardly surprising, but the grisly clues they uncover, and the depravity they expose, will shock even veteran readers of historical thrillers. A fascinating perspective on colonial politics and human behavior, this compulsively readable, heartbreaking, and grisly mystery set in a wild, colonial America will appeal to fans of Robert McCammon's fast-paced and tautly suspenseful Mister Slaughter (2010) and Eliot Pattison's Bone Rattler (2007). Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.