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Friday, November 2, 2012

Book Review: The Lincoln Conspiracy by Timothy L. O'Brien & Giveaway


The Lincoln Conspiracy by Timothy L. O’Brien
ARC, E-book, 370 pages
Ballantine Books
September 18, 2012
★★★★☆

Genre: Historical fiction, thriller

Source: Received from Netgalley as part of HFVBT tour

“A nation shattered by its president's murder.
Two diaries that reveal the true scope of an American conspiracy.
A detective determined to bring the truth to light, no matter what it costs him.
From award-winning journalist Timothy L. O'Brien comes a gripping historical thriller that poses a provocative question: What if the plot to assassinate President Lincoln was wider and more sinister than we ever imagined?”

As many of you know I enjoy reading books about the United States Presidents and First Ladies, so when I saw the pitch for this one I was in. While Lincoln has been assassinated prior to the start of this book, we do get to interact with his wife, the widow Lincoln. We see her as a weeping widow, but I also felt that the author played into her “madness” a little excessively. We hear a lot about the late President through people who knew him well, such as Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton, and others who frequented the White House so that he became a well-rounded character, despite being deceased.

The catalyst throughout the novel is these two diaries (I won’t reveal whose). Everyone wants to get their hands on these diaries (that supposedly no one knows about) for different ends. One group wants to expose a conspiracy, one wants to hide a conspiracy, and others was personal gains. This is a very fast paced read where from the very beginning we don’t stop to breathe throughout. While there is character development, it is done on the run, so to speak. I found myself easily getting to know Fiona and Temple McFadden and truly feeling their anxiety, horror, excitement, fear. This is very much the story of the adventure – reminiscent of the film National Treasure the way one clue leads to the next – however everything fit into its historical context.

One of the things that I loved was that you get a lot of history in this adventure story. We get insights into the Civil War and people who were on different sides. The tone he sets for the city of Washington felt real and palpable. We learn a little about the use of photography during the Civil War. I especially liked the inclusion of real historical characters with the fictional – among others we are introduced to: Dorothea Dix, Edwin Stanton, Matthew Brady, the Lincoln family, Sojourner Truth, and Mary and John Surratt. These characters were seamlessly interwoven into the narrative fabric.

There were two things that I did have an issue with. The first was that there was a little bit of revisionist history or alternative history. While it ultimately resolved itself to protect the real historical outcome, the way the outcome was achieved was different. It will be something quite obvious to anyone that reads to book, even if you only have limited historical knowledge of the period. I can’t say what it is or I will give away a huge plot thread. This was jarring for me while reading because everything else thus far had felt very true to the historical narrative. I also felt that the ending wrapped up a little too quickly. As the pages were dwindling I was trying to figure out how all of the threads would be wrapped up in time. It felt slightly rushed.

However, it appears that the author is going to be writing a series of historical thrillers set within the years following Lincoln’s death. I hope that Fiona and Temple McFadden continue to be our protagonists as they were quite enjoyable. I hope that you read this book for the fun of the adventure and story. If you are looking for something deep and profound, this isn’t your book, but for adventure within a believable historical setting, this is it.

This is author O’Brien’s first novel, but he has also written the non-fiction Trump Nation and Bad Bet. The Lincoln Conspiracy is the first book in a series of historical thrillers set in the years following the Lincoln assassination. You can visit the author’s website or blog for additional information about the book.

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:
Booking Mama
Royal Reviews

Here are some choices for purchasing the book: Amazon, B&N, RJ Julia (my fav indie bookstore).

 
You can follow along with the rest of the HF Virtual Book Tour for additional reviews, author guest posts, interviews, and giveaways. Also on Twitter with the following hashtag: #LincolnConspiracyTour

I have a giveaway of 1 copy of The Lincoln Conspiracy to offer for a reader in the USA. Please fill out the Rafflecopter below for entry. Last day to enter is November 17th. Good luck.

a Rafflecopter giveaway






Copyright © 2012 by The Maiden’s Court

11 comments:

  1. Glad to know before reading this that there are going to be some historical inconsistencies. Thanks for the review!

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    Replies
    1. It wasn't something that ruined the story - as the same ultimate outcome was achieved, however the one thing you thought you knew, you don't in this book. Most of the book itself was very historically accurate to the time period. It was just this one thing - which the author did for dramatic purposes.

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  2. Interesting -- I'll be curious to see if I notice (or know) what historical bits have been changed -- this is an era I'm shamefully fuzzy on!

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    Replies
    1. It a pretty major thing that even if you know the slightest information about the Lincoln assassination you will notice it. But it's not until about 3/4 of the way through the book.

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  3. I'm so glad to hear O'Brien is going to write more along the lines of The Lincoln Conspiracy! I too hope this isn't the last time we see Fiona and Temple. I'm racking my brain to figure out what "thing" you are talking about :p

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    Replies
    1. It was in regard to a character and pretty central to the story.

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  4. Great Review: Thank You for the giveaway---

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  5. I didn't join this tour because I just didn't have time to add it to what I already had going. But I really wanted to read it. Hope I win! You make it sound very entertaining. Great review!

    Thanks for the chance!

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    Replies
    1. It absolutely sucked me in - very interesting story.

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  6. I enjoy reading books and the history of
    the Civil War...
    Also, with the new Lincoln film out, this book
    really intrigues me!
    Many thanks, Cindi
    jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

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    Replies
    1. I am interested in seeing the new Lincoln film - a great precursor!

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Thanks for leaving your comments! I love reading them and try to reply to all!