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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Empire Rising

Empire Rising

A Novel

Thomas Kelly



It is 1930, and ground has just been broken for the Empire State Building. One of the thousands of men who will come to work high above the city is Michael Briody, an Irish immigrant torn between his desire to make a new life in America and his pledge to gather money and arms for the Irish republican cause. When he meets Grace Masterson, an alluring artist who is depicting the great skyscraper's rise from her houseboat on the East River, Briody's life suddenly turns exhilarating--and dangerous--for Grace is also a paramour of Johnny Farrell, Mayor Jimmy Walker's liaison with Tammany Hall and the underworld.

Praise for Empire Rising

“An extraordinary thriller about the political gangsters, builders, and bullies who constructed the Empire State Building.” —Esquire

Empire Rising is everything a period novel should be.” —Time

“There is a compelling muscularity to his work--the plots barrel along, the characters are wildly colorful.” —Joe Klein, The New York Times Book Review

“An engaging book in the grand old realistic tradition, a gripping piece of national history, a nicely felt lovely story, that takes us into the building sites and busy streets . . . that becomes, because of Kelly's convincing storytelling manner, every city.” —Alan Cheuse, Chicago Tribune

“New York in 1930 shines through the pages with high resolution.” —Peter Campion, San Francisco Chronicle

Reviews from Goodreads

Thomas Kelly

Thomas Kelly is the author of The Rackets and Payback. He lives in New York City.


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