"We are of opinion that instead of letting books grow moldy behind an iron grating, far from the vulgar gaze, it is better to let them wear out by being read." - Jules Verne
Fifteen years reviewing books, audiobooks, graphic novels, movies and music!

Visit DWD's Reviews of Books, Audiobooks, Music and Video new sister blog: DWD's Reviews of Tech, Gadgets and Gizmos!

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Deed: A Novel by Keith Blanchard



Hasn't this book already been written?

Published in 2003 by Simon and Schuster

Keith Blanchard's premise is that the fabled sale of Manhattan Island by the Manhata Indians to the Dutch is actually incorrect. Instead, the island was sold a second time by the starving Dutch colony to a Dutch man who sympathized with the Manhata, married a Manhata woman and insisted on a deed for the island so that he and his heirs could hold it for the native peoples who did not understand these legal machinations.

It's an interesting premise, but one that was explored 4 years earlier by Larry Jay Martin in his book Sounding Drum. Interestingly, it was also a quirky comedy, it also involved a romance, the mafia and Indian casinos.

Regardless of those similarities, this book should be judged on its own merits. I liked the historical section and the actual mystery of the deed. I truly disliked Blanchard's description of Hansvoort and his friends. Page after page in this book involve the bar scene and the consumption of literally gallons of alcohol. If Blanchard was trying to show us the dichotomy between Hansvoort's pointless career and the empty lives he and his friends live and that of the Indians he failed because he did not explore the lives of the Indians.

On the whole, this book failed to go farther than just being OK for me - the white characters were unlikable, the Indians were mysterious and barely developed as characters and the mafia characters were menacing until it came to actually menace - then they were duds.

I rate this book 3 stars out of 5.

Reviewed on October 18, 2006.

No comments:

Post a Comment