In 1661, Lucas Turner, a barber surgeon, and his sister, Sally, an apothecary, stagger off a small wooden ship after eleven weeks at sea. Bound to each other by blood and necessity, they aim to make a fresh start in the rough and rowdy Dutch settlement of Nieuw Amsterdam; soon lust, betrayal,... read more
The fabric of early American society is hung out for a fresh viewing in this ambitious historical novel of 1660s New Amsterdam. The English Turners are brother: surgeon/barber and sister: apothecary. Devoted to one another, Sally and Lucas quickly learn to make their way in the harsh,... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
The fabric of early American society is hung out for a fresh viewing in this ambitious historical novel of 1660s New Amsterdam. The English Turners are brother: surgeon/barber and sister: apothecary. Devoted to one another, Sally and Lucas quickly learn to make their way in the harsh, prosperous new world, aiding the Dutch governor Stuyvesant's family and making their reputation in the bargain. Then Lucas sells Sally in marriage to Jacob Van der Vries, a cruel, foolish physician. Lucas says he does iti in order to save her life, but Sally believes it is to buy his lover's freedom to marry, and she never forgives him. This rift begins a feud between the Van der Vries (later Devreys) and Turners that lasts through the American Revolution. Colorful characters vie with historical figures for attention on this broad stage: there's Jennet, Sally's great-granddaughter, who marries a wealthy entrepreneur Jew; Caleb Devrey, Jennet's first cousin, who loved her as a boy, but becomes her solemn enemy; Morgan, Jennet's son, a privateer and patriot; and Morgan's best friend and former slave, Cuffy, whose fate is bound to Morgan's by love, hate and the same woman (the gorgeous Roisin Campbell aka Mistress Healsall). The healing profession is carried down through each generation of Turners and Devreys, and Swerling's descriptions of early operations with crude instruments are detailed, riveting, and historically accurate. The city of Nieuw Amsterdam/New York is a character in its own right, but even it cannot compete with the richly drawn, well-rounded people Swerling creates. This engrossing, generously imagined tale deserves the large audience it should find at a time when the founding fathers reign triumphant in biography.
1. The Little Musquash Path (June 1661-October 1664)
2. The Seeing Far Path (December 1711-June 1714)
3. The High Hills Path (August 1731-February 1737)
4. The Shivering Cliffs Path (August 1737-November 1737)
5. The Claws Tear Out Eyes Path (September 1759-jULY 1760)
6. The Path of Flames (July 1765-December 1765)
7. War Path (August 1776-March 1784)
Epilogue: The Path of Dreams (June 1798)
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