About the Book:
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?
In late spring of 1865, as America mourns the death of its leader, Washington, D.C., police detective Temple McFadden makes a startling discovery. Strapped to the body of a dead man at the B&O Railroad station are two diaries, two documents that together reveal the true depth of the Lincoln conspiracy. Securing the diaries will put Temple’s life in jeopardy—and will endanger the fragile peace of a nation still torn by war.
Temple’s quest to bring the conspirators to justice takes him on a perilous journey through the gaslit streets of the Civil War–era capital, into bawdy houses and back alleys where ruthless enemies await him in every shadowed corner. Aided by an underground network of friends—and by his wife, Fiona, a nurse who possesses a formidable arsenal of medicinal potions—Temple must stay one step ahead of Lafayette Baker, head of the Union Army’s spy service. Along the way, he’ll run from or rely on Edwin Stanton, Lincoln’s fearsome secretary of war; the legendary Scottish spymaster Allan Pinkerton; abolitionist Sojourner Truth; the photographer Alexander Gardner; and many others.
Bristling with twists and building to a climax that will leave readers gasping, The Lincoln Conspiracy offers a riveting new account of what truly motivated the assassination of one of America’s most beloved presidents—and who participated in the plot to derail the train of liberty that Lincoln set in motion.
About the Author:
Timothy L. O’Brien is the Executive Editor of The Huffington Post, where he edited the 2012 Pulitzer Prize–winning series about wounded war veterans, “Beyond the Battlefield.” Previously, he was an editor and reporter at The New York Times. There, he helped to lead a team of Times reporters that was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in Public Service in 2009 for coverage of the financial crisis. O’Brien, a graduate of Georgetown University, holds three master’s degrees — in US History,Business and Journalism — all from Columbia University. He lives in Montclair, New Jersey, with his wife and two children.
This was a different book. Different in a good way. Not perfect, but really engaging and like nothing I’ve read in a while.
Temple McFadden is a police detective in a time when the police are not as concerned for the public welfare as they are for personal gain. He is different. He, in fact might be considered one in a long line in the Sherlock Holmesian tradition.Smart, dedicated yet flawed. He is married to a woman far ahead of her time, Fiona. In fact Fiona is a doctor at a time when women were barely thought of as more than housewives. She is a perfect foil for our hero.
Temple is a child of the orphanage system of Ireland but was saved by a well to do man – a doctor – coming to America. He had fallen out a window and broken his leg very badly and has a limp but his new father saw to it that he would be able to defend himself and he is something else with his cane.
Bits and pieces of Temple’s history are slowly given throughout the story so I as a reader felt slightly off balance almost through two thirds of the book. I was full of questions about Temple and the other characters. It added to the suspense of the main mystery of the novel: was Abraham Lincoln’s assassination part of a larger conspiracy?
The clues lie in two diaries that come into Temple’s possession on that day by the train station. One is written by Mary Todd Lincoln, the other by John Wilkes Booth. Two competing parties are trying to gain control of the diaries and Temple and his friends are in the middle.
This was a book that kept me interested for several reasons. I was curious to learn more about Temple and Fiona because they were characters I really liked; progressive for their time and both were bright and clever. Their friends were an interesting group from all walks of life; it did take me a bit to sort out who was who in the beginning but once I did I was good to go.
I did though, feel like I was reading the second book in a series. As I mentioned I felt like I was always missing some piece of information that I should have had. I felt off balance – whether this was intentional on the part of the author or not I don’t know. It did add to the experience but I am not sure whether it was a good addition or not. I do feel that the author left things for a sequel and I would most definitely follow Temple and Fiona on more adventures.
It was a fascinating look at a very difficult time in the country’s history. Who knows how the course of history might have played out had President Lincoln NOT been killed?
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Disclosure: I had an ARC of The Lincoln Conspiracy from an earlier giveaway