An entertaining and well crafted historical novel about an Englishman who emigrates to America in 1848—an eventful year of which the author takes full advantage. At times the story seems to be a device for ensuring that the characters cross paths with as many period contemporary or future luminaries as possible, from Friedrich Engels to Abraham Lincoln. Because I find the period and its people fascinating, this didn’t bother me as much as it might bother others, and I appreciate the depth of research that went into it.