For the third (and possibly final) novel of her Timothy Wilde Mysteries series, author Lyndsay Faye tackles gender equality and the beginning of the women’s rights movement in 1840s New York.
The Fatal Flame follows The Gods of Gotham, which took on religious discrimination, and 2013’s Seven for a Secret, about race.
“Feminism is older than we tend to think, and what with the anti-feminist backlash today, particularly as regards to healthcare and sexual assault — once I had the idea, I couldn’t let go of it,” Faye says in press materials. “For a trilogy, it seemed the right fit.”
Once again, the story follows Timothy Wilde, one of New York City’s young police officers, known as copper stars. He’s on the trail of a serial arsonist — and this mystery is particularly disturbing for him since his parents perished in a fire. All clues point to a firestarter who has ties to the underpaid and mistreated female factory workers in the Bowery and is bent on revenge.
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Faye’s deep bench of regular characters is back, including Timothy’s brother, Valentine, and Mercy Underhill, “the love of Timothy’s life.”
The author is promising to take readers in a new direction for her next novel, Jane Steele.
“Ah, yes — Jane Steele is my first female narrator, and she’s the star of my new stand-alone,” Faye says. “She’s reading Jane Eyre when it first came out around 1850, and I asked myself the question: What would happen if a girl were told, like Jane Eyre, that she was irretrievably hell-bound and wicked?...She’s a wonderful person who thinks she’s a supervillain. It’s cracking good fun.”
— Celeste Williams
The Fatal Flame
by Lyndsay Faye