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The Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy: A Novel Paperback – August 5, 2014

4.3 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"One of the best reads of the year" --Ripley's Believe It or Not!

"High concept and high adventure collide in a dizzying and thoroughly riveting story. Insanely entertaining." --Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of Code Zero and Fire & Ash

"Steampunk fans, as well as readers who enjoy their thrillers heavily dosed with humor, will revel in this rollercoaster ride." --Publishers Weekly

"Science fiction, action, adventure, melodrama, comedy, and suspense combine in this delightful steampunk romp cleverly designed to keep readers guessing and the pages turning." --Booklist

"A Jules Vernian thrill ride through American history like I've never experienced -- and I couldn't put it down." --Jason Emerson, author of Lincoln the Inventor and Giant in the Shadows: The Life of Robert T. Lincoln

"The intrigue is exciting but always tinged with a fun silliness, as the presence of the buffoonish Taft keeps the proceedings from growing too dark. That lightness is Conspiracy’s greatest asset." --The A.V. Club

"In his fiction debut, della Quercia imaginatively steampunks a worldwide conspiracy confronting President William Howard Taft, a crisis that threatens the U.S. ... Highlighted by footnotes linking events to news reports in the archives of the New York Times, the narrative moves smoothly, a tale laced with dialogue often incorporating Tom Swift–ian charm and constructed so that techno-wizardry doesn't overwhelm the story. A good-fun entry point into the world of steampunk." --Kirkus Reviews

"The author manipulates history as he spins his outrageously humorous yarn. The result is a frenetic adventure that’s entertaining. ... A fun read that weaves conspiracy theory, mystery, and unimaginable technologies." --The Historical Novel Society

"Get a copy of 'The Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy,' settle in by the fire and prepare for a laugh-out-loud return to those thrilling days of yesteryear. ... This tale is sheer escapist fun." --Washington Times

"A cleverly composed and daring steampunk adventure." --G. D. Falksen, author and historian

"The stuff of potent yet poignantly humanized myth." --Jason Heller, Senior Writer at The A.V. Club, author of Taft 2012, and Hugo Award-winning editor of Clarkesworld

About the Author

JACOPO DELLA QUERCIA is an educator and history writer who has authored more than 100 articles for the comedy website Cracked.com. His work has been featured in the New York Times bestseller You Might Be a Zombie and Other Bad News, BBC America, CNN MoneyReader's DigestThe Huffington Post, Ripley's Believe It Or Not!, Playboy's The Smoking Jacket, CBS's Man Cave Daily, and Princeton University's Electronic Bulletin of the Dante Society of America, among others.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; First Edition edition (August 5, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250025710
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250025715
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #578,317 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I absolutely loved this book, both as a history lover and a book lover.

From a historical perspective, the amount of time and research spent on writing this book is astounding. Considering that the era in which the book takes place ( the Taft presidency) isn't necessarily written about often, the amount I learned from this book's real world tie in events lead me to a whole new perspective on the era. From business moguls and European despots, Quercia does a fantastic job of not only teaching what went down, but gives a sense of the historical perspective in which it takes place, bringing these events to life right before your eyes at one of the most unique times in both American and global history.

From a fiction standpoint, the book is a real page turner. The fact that I couldn't put it down and read it in a day and a half ( I admit, I put everything else on hold from page 10) is a true testament to the author's ability to almost effortlessly throw the reader off guard, constantly wondering what will happen next. From the larger than life characters of Robert Lincoln, President Taft and the always rough-and-ready Col. Roosevelt to the lesser known characters, Quercia's ability to not only have the characters become dynamic but to speak with their own unique voices in an exciting and fast paced novel merits a worth inclusion on any bookshelf.

I highly recommend getting the paper version of this book as you will want to take it everywhere and leave today's world behind for this high action version of turn of the century history.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This book had been popping up in my news feed on Facebook, as well as on Twitter for the past few days; the Twitter part is explained by the fact that I follow the author and he'd retweet any time someone mentioned reading his book. Since most of the places it would pop up on Facebook was on more than one of the steampunk pages I follow, I decided to give this book a shot; picked it up yesterday (August 10, 2014) and finished it tonight.

I vastly enjoyed this book. For me, I found it to be well paced and well written. I will also admit I did like the fact that the author included footnotes when he referred to certain sources; a nice touch which helped ground the historical base of this book nicely. The touches of science-fiction felt almost plausible considering the time period and tech used.

It's silly, it's fun, and definitely worth a read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After reading License to Quill, I had to search for more Della Quercia titles. This was it, and I was not disappointed with the first novel!
I have not read many Steampunk novels, but this was delightful as well as informative. I had never sought out information on the Taft Administration, and this novel was chock full of tidbits about the "Big Guy".

The mystery story was centered around Lincoln's pocket watch that he allegedly left in his son, Robert Lincoln's room prior to his fateful evening at Ford's Theatre. This was a quick read and very cleverl, too. I loved it, and look forward to more romps through history from Jacopo della Quercia.
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Format: Paperback
A brief literary study of The Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy by Jacopo-Della Quercia.

BY LOOKING THROUGH THE LENS OF CONSPIRACY, WE AFFORD OURSELVES the illusion of the possibility of ultimately predicting and understanding, and through this understanding and exhaustive correlation, we achieve a kind of safety from the true, benevolent presence that sits bored on the sidelines of a world of chaos. Casting the horrors of history in the light of conspiracy is a comfort, and to wield them so cleverly as my friend Jacopo, we are allowed to look at the present through the artifice of exploring the past. In a memorable scene I won’t give away, the overtones of our need to control the popular perception of history, there is a lifeless, heartless attempt at changing history in the Oval Office.
This same character allows for the author to reprogram an element of history and use it in service of the story, and the identification of this character with another greatly popular and historic literary character further illustrates the need for people to feel as though we’re in control of our lives, and ultimately our future, when in reality a romp as told by Jacopo, its winding, alternatively suggestive paths towards the possibility of a present and a future changed, for the better, through sheer force of will; it is this will, I think, that defines the struggle of the characters within the story, and the struggle for self-definition in history on behalf of the author.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
One problem that might plague the readers of Cracked.com is judging the novels from regular site contributors based on how they feel about the site. So far, I would describe the Cracked writers' novels that I've read as "Good, not great." This book, on the other hand, was great. Although Jacopo della Quercia, like his Cracked cohorts, cannot resist throwing in a couple of jokes from the site, they actually fit really well with the storyline.

Historical fiction can be quite difficult. Unlike alternative fiction, which picks a point and time and says "What if it went *this* way instead", historical fiction gives another explanation for events that DID happen. In this case, the Taft presidency is presented in a more steam-punk style narrative, with airships and automatons. JDQ does a superb job of making sure the reader who isn't a history buff is caught up to speed, and he includes references in the back for some of the real events. The pace of the book moves very quickly, right up to the nail-biting end. An epilogue at the end is also helpful to those unfamiliar with history as he recaps what happens after Taft leaves office, and a little "teaser" hints at a possible sequel

If there was any criticism, I would say that some of the character development is a little lacking. Several real life figure are reduced to architypes (Secret Service Chief John Wilkie is a hothead with a perpetual cigar hanging out of his mouth), and the perspective of the story seems to change on a whim.

I have a feeling that most of the readers of this book are going to be devotees of Cracked.com, and that's a damn shame, because this book deserves a wide audience.
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