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
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.
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