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Lincoln's Sword Mass Market Paperback – July 27, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

The union is doomed, its death foretold in the fever dreams of Mary Todd Lincoln . . .

As a great nation's destiny is being written in blood on the battlefields of Pea Ridge and Shiloh, a grim tomorrow is foreseen by a deeply troubled first lady and interpreted by her best friend, Mercy, herself an accomplished seer. But hope appears out of the mist with the arrival of Thomas, a mysterious stranger with an astonishing mastery over time and space. Against the backdrop of the Civil War's greatest events, these three must join together to salvage a future with the aid of unlikely collaborators: the uncannily gifted Confederate captain Cole Younger, his notorious career as a bank robber as yet undetermined, and President Lincoln himself, called upon to willingly make the ultimate sacrifice.

And the key to their desperate endeavor lies in a mysterious image from Mrs. Lincoln's tortured visions—a magical sword which, when wielded, will bring redemption . . . or destruction.

About the Author

Debra Doyle has a doctorate in English literature. Together, she and James Macdonald have written numerous sf/f books. They live in Colebrook, New Hampshire.



James D. Macdonald was in the Navy for more than fourteen years, both enlisted and as an officer, before he cashed out and started writing.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager (July 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060819278
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060819279
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.6 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,214,696 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James D. Macdonald was born in White Plains, New York in 1954, and raised in Bedford, New York, the son of a chemical engineer and an artist. His last significant formal education took place at Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains, though he passed through the University of Rochester where he learned that a degree in Medieval Studies wouldn't fit him for anything. He went off to sea "to forget," though he's forgotten exactly what. As an enlisted Boatswain's Mate in the Navy, and later as an officer, he saw the world, and discovered that three quarters of it was water. Some time later, tired of the adventure, he decided to get a job.

As the famous Yog Sysop, Macdonald ran the Science Fiction and Fantasy RoundTable on GEnie for two years ('91 to '93). He's since moved on to being Yog Sysop at SFF Net. Doyle and Macdonald now live -- still with various children, cats, and computers -- in a big 19th-Century house in Colebrook, New Hampshire, where they learned to drink Moxie and collaborate in writing science fiction and fantasy for children, teenagers, and adults.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Shroud Magazine's Book Reviews VINE VOICE on September 12, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As brother battles brother in a war that will decide the fate of the nation, a man strides through time and space in order to guide history into its proper course by placing a symbolic blade into the right hands. Lincoln's Sword, the latest historical fantasy by Debra Doyle and James D. MacDonald (authors of Land of Mist and Snow), presents the events of the Civil War through the lenses of symbolism and magic.

Confederate officer Cole Younger is rushed through rites of initiation into "esoteric disciplines" at the urging of a mysterious stranger. Mercy Levering, a talented practitioner of ritual magic, provides comfort to her friend and confidant, Mary Todd Lincoln. Mary is a sibyl, beset with visions of a country covered in the blood and smoke of disunion, as well as those of a mystic sword that is vital to bringing the nation together once again. Both Cole and Mercy are recruited by Mr. Thomas, an enigmatic figure with the ability to travel through both time and space, to ensure that the sword gets into the hands of President Lincoln in an effort to manipulate the events of history to fall into the proper pattern.

The main problem with this otherwise fine novel is the handling of the titular sword. While obviously symbolic of the sacrifice needed to form the Union, it is more often treated as merely a MacGuffin. Its true purpose and the reasons for its importance are ambiguous at best and, in the end, it only serves as the focus of Thomas' various machinations. Setting that aside, the novel's tight pace and multiple points of view keep the reader interested throughout. Further, the use of mysticism and magic within the historical period are handled with a light touch and do not overwhelm the overall story. In the balance, Lincoln's Sword is a good read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Arthur W. Jordin on December 2, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Lincoln's Sword (2010) is the second Fantasy Alternate History novel in this universe, following Land of Mist and Snow. In the previous volume, Sharps discovered missing pages of the Grey Book and captured a spirit of the air. Columbia studied the mystic arts under Sharps.

Nevis received orders assigning him to the USS Nicodemus as head of the gunnery department. He joined his ship at the Thule Shipyard. The ship was freed from the ice and traveled along the coastline toward the harbor. Nevis escorted Columbia to the ship and it sailed away from the harbor looking for blockade runners.

In this novel, Thomas is a man who can travel through time within his own lifespan. His body is physical, but cannot be killed within other time periods.

Richard Butler is a Major-General in the US Army. He is second in command to General St. Clair in an expedition against the Shawnee and other tribes near the Wabash River.

Mercy Levering is a woman with several magical talents. She is also a friend of Mary.

Mary Todd is a seeress. Her talent is so strong that she cannot avoid the visions.

Kevin Mulcahey is an Irishman serving as a private in the US Army. He is a friend of Padraich Connor, who is also Irish.

Thomas Coleman Younger is a Lieutenant in the Missouri Militia. Cole rides with Quantrill's Raiders.

Albert Pike is a Confederate General. He commands three regiments of Cherokee cavalry.

In this story, Thomas is living in Lee's Summit, Missouri, in 1916. He is old and doesn't timeshift much anymore. He has never met another with this ability. He reminisces about his life to date.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By D. G. Hulan on September 19, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
It's good to see a new book by Doyle and Macdonald - maybe they've had some other books out under pseudonyms, but as far as I can see on Amazon this is the first thing under their own names since 2006. It's not, unfortunately, one of their best - enjoyable, but there seem to be a lot of things left out that would make it make more sense. It's an alternate Civil War that roams about in time between 1791 and 1916, with Cole Younger as the central character of most of the chapters. Mary Todd Lincoln is a seer who has visions of terrible futures, and her friend Mercy Levering Conkling is an accomplished mage, as are a couple of other people who are historical personages but none of whom actually had any such powers even if you believe they might exist. The hard thing for me to figure out is how Lincoln's not being assassinated at the time he was in our time-line would have led to independence for the CSA, when Lee's army had already surrendered and Union forces were in control of virtually the entire South already. I don't say it couldn't have happened, but there ought to have been something in the book indicating how it worked out. There's a chapter set in 1875 or so that has Younger traveling in an independent Confederacy, and referring to Lincoln as having served out his second term and currently living in an obscure retirement, but nothing about how this resulted in CSA independence. I don't even require that it be very plausible, but some explanation seems to me to be in order; there's not even a hand-wave.Read more ›
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