Two Moons by Thomas Mallon

Two Moons
By Thomas Mallon

Vintage Books

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“. . . Mallon sheds a strong light on a complex era of American history . . .”

Widowed in the Civil War, Cynthia May is just a step away from poverty when she lands a good position with the Naval Observatory in Washington DC. Hired as a computer, a specialist in mathematical calculation, her incredible talent draws the attention of youthful astronomer Hugh Allison. Her abilities might be just what he needs to further an eccentric project he has in mind to ensure his immortality. Their relationship grows close in spite of their difference in age, but Cynthia has also drawn the attention of powerful Republican Senator Roscoe Conkling, a man used to having his way in politics and the bedchamber. Through the medium of her friend, astrologer Mary Costello, Cynthia plays a cat-and-mouse game with the lustful Conkling. Can she use the Senator’s power to get Hugh what he wants without surrendering too much of her virtue to Conkling?

The feverish atmosphere of Washington DC in 1877 is elegantly captured in Thomas Mallon’s work. All the characters – historical and fictional – are well-drawn and the story is dense with period detail. In Two Moons, Mallon sheds a strong light on a complex era of American history as the modern world begins to take shape, an era that is often glossed over in history books. Recommended to anyone who enjoys a measured story set in late Victorian times.

Reviewer: Cindy A. Matthews