From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up—The life of notorious John Wilkes Booth receives a striking adaptation. The tagline—"Actor, Lover, Idealist…Assassin"—summarizes the book's approach. The text follows Booth's life, starting with his early years as he strove to make his own way in the world, to his success as an actor, his doomed romances, his increasing role in the anti-abolitionist underground, and finally to the physically broken fugitive he became. The great trick that the book pulls off is managing to create empathy for Booth, despite his flaws and crimes. Along the way, readers receive glimpses of Lincoln-era American life, from the ornate estates of the upper class, to the bawdy taverns of the under classes. The artwork by French artist Tanitoc is looser in style than most North American readers will be used to, but the bold and strategic color palette is compelling. Due to the artistic style and the relatively small size of the overall work, characters' faces are sometimes hard to distinguish, although color is often used to differentiate them.—Douglas P. Davey, Halton Hills Public Library, Ontario, Canada
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President Lincoln’s assassin had a complicated psychology and deep-dyed allegiance to the Confederate cause. Historian Colbert has scripted an engaging and insight-provoking portrait of John Wilkes Booth from youth through his demise, exploring his relationships with women of high and low esteem, competition with his brother both on- and offstage, and the cloak-and-dagger conspiracies that were part of nineteenth-century spy circles. Graphic-novelist and scholar Tanitoc’s luminous full-color art shows details of landscape, architecture, dress, and posture; his people’s faces are rarely beautiful but show finely tuned individuality. This is an engaging read for literary graphic-novel fans and also for historical-fiction readers just beginning to get acquainted with the graphic-novel format. --Francisca Goldsmith
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