Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Lincoln Conspiracy: A Novel by Timothy L. O'Brien

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Read: November 3, 2012 

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.

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Robert Todd Lincoln
To say Timothy L. O'Brien's novel The Lincoln Conspiracy is a captivating read seems almost redundant. I mean, what book involving Lincoln doesn't captivate the imagination? In this regard I feel the term has been overused. So how then should I describe this piece? Striking certainly applies, though provocative, surprising and compelling are all equally appropriate. 

I think the most appealing aspect of the book is O'Brien's obvious passion for the time period. I've seen authors slap a date under a chapter heading and call their work historic fiction, but that isn't the case here. Even in the earliest pages, as Temple rides desperately through Washington's streets, the reader really gets a feel for the time and place of the story. Being able to create and effectively transport a reader like this is key in this genre and O'Brien nailed it. 

I know what you're thinking. This author can paint a scene. So what? To a certain extent you're right. Great scenery is one thing, but what about story? I got to be honest, I'm not a huge Lincoln fan, but even I had a hard time putting this book down. Truth is I really like the whole conspiracy theory thing. O'Brien's twist may be a little far-fetched, but it is undeniably entertaining and at the end of the day that's what really matters to this reviewer. 

Up till this point I've done nothing but offer up praise, so why not a perfect five for five? Earlier I stated how impressed I was with the setting of the piece. Perhaps this is why I was somewhat disappointed with O'Brien's cast. In some respects, their personal histories for example, were very well thought out, but I could never truly picture them in the world O'Brien created. I think it was the dialogue. Fiona, Temple, Augustus, Baker; they all seemed to have the same voice. I know, small potatoes in the scheme of things, but I personally found it rather frustrating.  

Overall, The Lincoln Conspiracy is a bit of a slow starter, but more than worth the effort. A wonderfully detailed, engaging, action packed mystery that will keep you guessing till the final page.  

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Gold is good in its place, but living, brave, patriotic men are better than gold.
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Check out all the stops on Timothy L. O'Brien's The Lincoln Conspiracy virtual book tour

Monday, October 29
Feature & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, October 31
Review & Giveaway at The Book Garden
Feature & Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time

Thursday, November 1
Review & Giveaway at JulzReads

Friday, November 2
Review & Giveaway at The Maiden’s Court
Monday, November 5
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Review & Giveaway at Drey’s Library 

Tuesday, November 6
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Review & Giveaway at Griperang’s Bookmarks 

Wednesday, November 7
Review at Book Drunkard

Review at Peppermint, Ph.D.
Thursday, November 8 
Review at Book Dillettante 
Friday, November 9
Feature & Excerpt at Beth’s Book Reviews
Saturday, November 10
Author Guest Post at JulzReads
Monday, November 12
Review at A Book Geek
Tuesday, November 13
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Review & Giveaway at Always With a Book

Thursday, November 15
Review & Giveaway at The Novel Life
Monday, November 19
Review at Confessions of an Avid Reader
Review at Lit Addicted Brit
Author Interview at Tribute Books

Tuesday, November 20
Feature & Giveaway at Historical Tapestry

Wednesday, November 21
Review at Crystal Book Reviews
Review at Unabridged Chick
Friday, November 23
Review at Sir Read A Lot
Author Interview at The Novel Life 
Author Interview & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick
Monday, November 26
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Review & Giveaway at Words and Peace
Tuesday, November 27
Review at A Bookish Affair
Author Interview & Giveaway at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Wednesday, November 28 
Giveaway at A Bookish Affair
Thursday, November 29
Review at The Musings of a Book Junkie 
Author Interview at My Reading Room
Friday, November 30
Review at Impressions in Ink
Monday, December 3
Review at Bibliophilic Book Blog
Review at The Bookworm 
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Giveaway at A Writer’s Life: Working with the Muse
Tuesday, December 4
Review at Paperback Princess
Review at Cheryl’s Book Nook
Wednesday, December 5
Review at Luxury Reading
Thursday, December 6
Review at One Book at a Time
Review & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Friday, December 7
Review at A Chick Who ReadsAuthor Interview at My Reading Room


Peppermint Ph.D. said...

I felt the author's passion for the time period as well...and I love that picture you found of Robert Lincoln! Enjoyed your review!

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much! :)