City of Dreams (Fallon #4), by William Martin

Four stars (of five)

Martin returns with another stellar novel in the Fallon-Carrington series. America is weighed down by the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, with China finally refusing to bail them out. At the heart of America’s financial heart, New York City, a box of 1780 Continental bonds is hidden, with a face value of $20 000. Calculating the compound interest and the promise by Alexander Hamilton that the US Government will honour them for perpetuity, a vast sum of money could await the holder. That is, if the Supreme Court rules in favour of their still holding any value. With the bonds scattered around the city, Peter Fallon and his fiancée, Evangeline Carrington must locate them and await the Court’s decision. As they search, Fallon and Carrington discover the historical significance of these bonds as they pass through the hands of numerous New Yorkers, important in many ways. With a killer on their trail as well, Fallon and Carrington must fight for their lives on their most dangerous adventure to date. Martin ramps up the ante with this novel, using finance, history, and drama to weave a story about the epicentre of American commerce and the potential realities of frivolous spending.  

Martin depicts New York as a City of Dreams, where ideas can come to fruition and lives changed in a generation, while also exemplifying the horrors of monetary dependancy. As always, themes emerge in the story and the historical branches chosen to illustrate the narrative to offer insight into Martin’s areas of greatest interest. While not an economist or financial analyst, I found this novel quite insightful and the continued dependence, both by the government and Americans in general, to use the ‘buy now, pay later’ mantra quite intriguing. The attentive reader may see this nuanced soapbox approach very apropos of modern times, something sure not to change without a colossal mindset shift. 

Kudos, Mr. Martin on entertaining and educating with this novel. I cannot wait to see what you have in store with the most recent Fallon instalment and how it will use history as a platform.

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