Monday, May 2, 2011

Review: City of Dreams by William Martin

City of DreamsTitle: City of Dreams

Author: William Martin

Pages: 447

Source: Publisher for review

Rating: 7/10

Summary (From book flap):

"Can I interest you in saving America?"

That's the text message Peter Fallon receives from a Wall Street bigwig. It's not a challenge he can turn down, especially since the country is in the midst of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. The stock market is wobbling. The Chinese have stopped buying our T-bills. If we don't get control of our deficit, our economic future looks grim.

But all may not be lost. Hidden somewhere in New York City is a box of 1780s bonds with a face value of ten thousand dollars, part of a series of bonds called New Emission Money. The Supreme Court is about to decide if these bonds still have value. If the decision is yes, those ten thousand dollars, at 5 percent interest, will be worth a very pretty penny. A lot of very pretty pennies.

Peter Fallon and his girlfriend, Evangeline Carrington, must find the box -- and fast. Suddenly, their race against time becomes a race through time as Peter and Evangeline track the stories of New Yorkers whose lives have been changed by the bonds. They'll confront frightened booksellers, heartless businessmen, former flames, renegade treasury agents, and the Russian mafia ... and all while they'll unravel the thrilling and inspiring origins of the City of Dreams.

My Two Cents:

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I'm not normally one to enjoy the whole suspense/thriller genre, but I do like a book that has a good historical story. So, I gave it a try.

The best thing about this book, in my mind, was how Martin traces the bonds in question through time and how he is able to bring each time in history -- 1770s, 1890s, 1920s, 1980s and present day -- to life. It was also interesting to see that, since these bonds were basically lost in the New York City, each time period's action was centered in New York. As a result, the reader really got to see how the city changed from its earliest roots to what it is today. The whole historical background was most interesting to me.

I did find some of the action and events, especially those in present day, a little hard to believe. I have a hard time believing, for example, that a building could be blown up and a man shot in the middle of the street nearly unnoticed by police. But, although the somewhat outlandish events contributed to the suspense feel of the book, it did not take anything away from my enjoyment of the book or my desire to find out what happened next.

I also found that I really could not connect to any of the characters. They all seemed very one-dimensional. And while that did bother me some, again, it did not cause me to dislike the book or to make me want to put it down.

If you like historical novels or history in general, give this book a try.

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