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Review: "The Lincoln Conspiracy" by Timothy L. O'Brien

Synopsis:   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.

My Thoughts: I don't usually read much about American history but I must say this was a pretty interesting and compelling story.  I honestly didn't really know much about conspiracy theories surrounding Lincoln's death but I must say that O'Brien created a unique and fast-paced story involving a complex conspiracy that led to the death of Abraham Lincoln.  Every time I thought I had the story figured out or I thought the characters were done for, there would be some twist and everything I thought I knew would be flipped upside down.

The story includes a lot of famous historical figures as secondary characters and I was especially fond of Sojourner Truth.  She was portrayed as such a kind person and it made me want to read more about her.  Temple McFadden was a very different kind of hero and I really liked how he was kind of damaged.  It does take a while to get to know him (the story flashes back and forth between his past and present) but once I started understand his background, I began to like him in spite of his faults.  Temple's wife, Fiona, was also a great character.  As a female doctor in 1865 America, she dealt with a lot of challenges but was a strong, feisty character who seemed to be able to handle anything that was thrown her way.  She was a pretty inspirational character.

The only thing I didn't really like about the story was at times there were so many different things going on and so many characters moving in and out that it was really hard to keep everything straight.  There were a few times where I had to go back and re-read because I wasn't quite sure what was going on.  I also didn't love the very ending.  The whole conspiracy wrapped itself up nicely and I must say I was very surprised by some of the revelations in the end but I really wanted to know what happened to Temple and Fiona in the aftermath of their ordeal and I didn't really get that.

Overall, this was a good book.  If you love action-packed thrillers with great characters, I would definitely recommend The Lincoln Conspiracy.  3 stars.

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  1. There was enough mystery left for me that I was ok with the questions unanswered since we don't really know exactly what the motives were behind Lincoln's assassination. I thought the author did a great job showing that cut-throat politics of today could have and probably did exist even during the time of the Civil War.


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