Six months after the formation of the NYPD, its most reluctant and talented officer, Timothy Wilde, thinks himself well versed in his city’s dark practices — until he learns of the gruesome underworld of lies and corruption ruled by the "blackbirders", who snatch free Northerners of color from their homes, masquerade them as slaves, and sell them South to toil as plantation property.
The abolitionist Timothy is horrified by these traders in human flesh. But in 1846, slave catching isn’t just legal — it’s law enforcement.
When the beautiful and terrified Lucy Adams staggers into Timothy’s office to report a robbery and is asked what was stolen, her reply is, "My family". Their search for her mixed-race sister and son will plunge Timothy and his feral brother, Valentine, into a world where police are complicit and politics savage, and corpses appear in the most shocking of places. Timothy finds himself caught between power and principles, desperate to protect his only brother and to unravel the puzzle before all he cares for is lost.
This is the sequel to The Gods of Gotham, which I read back in 2013 and LOVED. SO. MUCH. And yay! Seven for a Secret is just as good, if not better!
Seven for a Secret is one of those books that takes me ages to digest, and I’m note entirely sure if I’ve got it all done with. I definitely feel like I’ll have to reread the whole trilogy again once the third book comes out. There’s so much STUFF in these books, besides all the interesting (and depressing) historical details, so much narrative/character stuff to pick apart that’d definitely take more than one reading to do.
For example, Timothy Wilde’s got a character arc of growing into the person he’s becoming happens over the course of each book AND over the course of the series as a whole. He’s figuring out what it means to be a police officer, what his relationship with his brother can and should be, politics and the people who need his help because of bad politics.
It’s great stuff! Add in the mystery and Timothy’s family and friends1 and the setting and the WRITING which is AMAZING and it’s really no wonder it took me several months to figure out how to even attempt to write this post.
Seven for a Secret (and The Gods of Gotham, for that matter) is the kind of book that makes me excited because of how exquisitely detailed it is.2 The characters feel like real people, people you want to protect and also give hugs to because they’re huge woobies. And when they get hurt I get punched right in the feels, which is why the ending made me so upset.3
It’s emotionally complex and historically detailed, while ALSO having a great mystery and interesting characters. I can’t wait for the third book! Huzzah!
Read: April 20, 2014