BACK BAY 498 Hardcover – Dec 12 1988
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Martin's first novel is a clever and entertainaing blend of history, family, saga, and mystery. Its focus is on a magnificent gold and silver tea set that, made by Paul Revere and presented to George Washington by the merchants of Boston, becomes a key factor in the destinies of a prosperous Boston family, the Pratts, for 250 years. The set is stolen from the White House in 1814 by Horace Pratt in revege for governmet trade restrictions, and buried in the mud of the Back Bay. Later that part of the bay is landfilled, and the set's whereabouts become a mystery, solvable only by someone who can decipher certain clues in a Pratt diary. Shuttling between past and present, the narative detailsthe attempts of generations of pPRatts, and others, to retrieve the treasure, and encompasses a while string of violent deeds, including suiccide and murder. Matters reach an exciting though tragic climax in the1970s when twogroups opf serachers find the sert almost simultaneously.―Publisher's Weekly
Don't be fooled by the title: this mystery/adventure is no Beacon Hill tea party but a Southie-style rouser starring several generations of Yankee tycoons - the crafty Pratts - and their immigrant descended allies and enemies. The first American Pratt is Boston merchant Horace, who, disapproving of President Madison's trade policies in 1814, decides to fence a magnificent treasure, "The Golden Eagle Tea Set" - 31 pieces of flawless silver created by Paul Revere and presented to the White House in perpetuity by Washington. But somewhere, amid the British invasion chaos, the tea set goes astray - on a wild sea journey to a bizarre grave where it will stay until the 20th century. So it's up to present-day history grad student Peter Fallon and Evangeline Carrington, a Pratt descendant, to put together the Pratt family secrets and get to the tea set before it's found by various deadly Bad Guys - including a Pratt-gone-to-seed and a powerful local bully-boy planning to take over the Pratt industrial empire. Fallon and Evangeline, on the run a good deal of the time, work with some classy clues to the Tea Set's location: there are verses from Milton's Paradise Lost, for example, scattered far and wide - one discovered in the belongings of a west coast call girl (who's murdered) , another on a church altar chalice. And the Tale of the Tea Set flips back and forth neatly between the centuries, grisly with Set-linked drownings and murders, spiced with some old scandals. Martin has carefully researched the topography of old Boston and tidily balances his inventive plot with narrow escapes and stopwatch action, including a subway tunnel dig and shootout. Rather gory, very farfetched treasure-hunt fun and mayhem - a bracing brew for long cold nights.―Kirkus
"A rip-roaring page turner. A perfect read!"―Boston Globe --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
About the Author
William Martin is the New York Times bestselling author of ten novels, an award-winning PBS documentary, and a cult classic horror movie, too. His first novel, Back Bay, introduced treasure hunting hero Peter Fallon, who has now appeared in five novels, and spent fourteen weeks on the Times list. SInce then Martin has been telling stories of the great and the anonymous in American history, from the Pilgrims to 9/11. His novels, including Cape Cod, Annapolis, City of Dreams, and The Lincoln Letter, have established him as "a storyteller whose smoothness equals his ambition" (Publisher's Weekly). He lives near Boston with his wife and has three grown children. In 2005, he was the recipient of the prestigious New England Book Award, given to "an author whose body of work stands as a significant contribution to the culture of the region." --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Most recent customer reviews
I know that many parts of this book are fiction but I like the premise and the connections to American history. I love Boston and New England so This is a fun read! Read morePublished on Oct. 10 2009 by M. Faulks
This was a lively read about a wealthy family in Boston. The story is told in chapters that alternate between modern times (the late 1970s, anyway) and the past, as the family is... Read morePublished on March 18 2004 by audrey pierce
I am not always much of a reader, but this book caught me from the first pages. It is a MUST for anyone who knows and/or loves the city of Boston and the history that goes along... Read morePublished on Dec 31 2002
I bought this book based on several 5-star evaluations here in Amazon, but I'm sorry to say that I was disappointed (which doesn't happen very often). Read morePublished on Oct. 10 2001 by M McKay