A. Van Kraft, Sleepy Hollow: the Secret Life and Legend of Ichabod Crane

(2014-06-21 003)Title: Sleepy Hollow: the Secret Life and Legend of Ichabod Crane

Author: A. Van Kraft

Publication Information: A Studio Book, c2013. 1st ed.

ISBN: 978-0-615-81934-1

Library of Congress Classification: PS3611.R238

Library of Congress Subject Headings:
Stevens, Andrew (Fictitious character)—Fiction
Crane, Ichabod (Fictitious character)—Fiction
Male teachers—New York (State)—Sleepy Hollow—Fiction
Intelligence officers—New York (State)—Sleepy Hollow—Fiction
Sleepy Hollow (N.Y.)—Fiction
New York (State)—History—Fiction

This book is a clever twist on Irving’s Legend.

Ichabod Crane is not what he seems. This is an alias for Andrew Stevens, a New York State agent sent to Sleepy Hollow by the Inspector General to take an informal census and to study the population. He is undercover and assumes the position of schoolmaster while he carries out his mission. What Stevens discovers shocks and horrifies him.

The year is 1788. George Washington has yet to take the oath of office as the first president of the United States–which takes place in 1789. The country is still governed by the Articles of Confederation. The United States is in a shambles, as Stevens says, and is just beginning to pull itself together after the Revolutionary War and the weak organization under the Articles.

Brom Bones, Katerina Van Tassel, Baltus Van Tassel, they are all here. Even the Headless Horseman makes an appearance, but the supernatural does not play any real role in the book. There are supernatural occurrences that happen, but they are explained away by Brom. The crimes taking place in Sleepy Hollow are all too real, too common and horrifying, and when Stevens discovers what is going on, he must flee or lose his life. Without the help of Katerina and Brom, he would die.

I liked this book. The reveal of what’s going on is surprising, and the punishment inflicted by the Sleepy Hollow people on one of their own is gruesome, but the person got his just desserts. There’s also references to Irving’s story throughout that contrasts with what Stevens is experiencing.

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