“A wondrous, bold and playful first novel. Seductively fascinating characters, real and imagined, populate this fiction with their interweaving and intergenerational stories.”



This is a fictional depiction of the growth of Chicago as a city from 1700 to 1800. In the novel, it is called an alternative history of Chicago.

The first half of the book is mainly the story of a man named John Stephen Wright, a land speculator who from the very beginning sees Chicago as a city on the verge of tremendous growth. We hear this story of how Chicago began over a game of chess. The Fort Dearborn Massacre is described, and the huge effort made to sanitize the waters of the city by building a canal that would change the course of the river and allow clean water to the city is thoroughly explored.

The second half of the book almost reads like a non-fiction history, with articles and interviews quoted along with the story of a young lady named Antje Hunter, who will become the first woman reporter of the Chicago Tribune. The great Chicago fire is here along with all the early corruption in the city government.

It is a good book, though at times I thought it dragged a bit. Those who like historical fiction should find it enjoyable. At 438 pages it might be a little long but it was an interesting read.


Reviewed by:

Richard Franco

Added 14th July 2019

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Richard Franco