Industrial-Sized Deals TextBTS15 Shop Women's Handbags Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon $5 Albums $5 Off Fire TV Stick Grocery Shop Popular Services pivdl pivdl pivdl  Amazon Echo Starting at $99 Kindle Voyage Shop Back to School with Amazon Back to School with Amazon Outdoor Recreation Baby Sale

Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

200 of 226 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2009
And now for something completely different, a review from someone who purchased and read the book before the brown shirted thugs started to take over the Amazon reviews.

The book's strength is its portrait of the Washington, D.C. of 1860. Miller is able to convey a strong sense of place by working details of the city into the plot rather than just giving a narrative travelogue. Technology, architecture, sanitation, and commerce all come up in fairly natural ways. He is a bit less successful with this in his portraits of Charleston and a South Carolina plantation.

The biggest weakness is the dialog. Many characters' words feel "researched" rather than lied. This is always the toughest task in historical fiction - giving us a feel for the strangeness of our language in a different time while making it feel alive. Miller has a way to go to be one of the best at this.

The plot is enjoyable, and the pacing and rhythm are well done. Miller avoids the dreadful "quick cut" technique that seems to sell so many bad books these days. A very enjoyable read.
1111 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
536 of 631 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon November 20, 2009
I'm sure it won't escape anyone who notices the sudden explosion of one-star "reviews" of "The First Assassin" how many of those so-called "reviews" are ad-hominems against the author, not reviews of the book. Those that do talk about the book rely on the excerpts posted here or on the author's own website, or (as another reviewer points out) on the comments of a particular blogger who evidently has it in for John Miller because of who Mr. Miller writes for. Readers interested in the book itself, instead of the author's politics, will know how to look past all that, and see the merits of which is in fact a pretty darn good first novel.

Most immediately impressive, of course, is the depth of John Miller's historical research. He's able to capture both the era and the people in it quite well. More significantly, however, he's been able to wrap that research around a well-crafted story, a plot that keeps the reader involved, and characters we can care about (contrast this, for people still looking for political bias, with the wooden characterizations in Newt Gingrich's Pearl Harbor novel Days of Infamy, where I would not have recognized his "Winston Churchill" as Winston Churchill if the author hadn't told us that's who he was). Is Miller's prose style to everyone's taste? No, of course not. But then, neither is any other writer's. Parts of "The First Assassin" could use some tightening, as the pros say. Some of the narrative passages, I'd like to have seen as dialogue instead ("Show them, don't tell them"). I'm confident future novels will be more polished -- and there will be future novels, won't there?

Look. This is a first novel. It's not flawless, but how many of us get to be J.D. Salinger and have our first novels called one of the great works of the century? The key thing is that John Miller's rookie effort is a remarkably good job. In fact, it's one any number of more experienced writers would be proud to have under their belts, and a novel people interested in the era, or just a well-crafted story, will find entirely worth reading -- regardless of the politically-motivated beatdown a handful of people try to give it.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
343 of 420 people found the following review helpful
on November 20, 2009
Miller has managed to create a believable, suspense-filled thriller out of a story whose ultimate ending everone knows, which is no small task. He does so by giving us refreshing characters who don't quite fit the stereotypes assigned them by prejudice or history and doing meticulous historical research to make his setting come alive. The writing is crisp, the dialogue natural, and the plot twists keep you turning the page. He wisely kept Abe Lincoln in the background through most of the novel, and when he does appear, briefly, it's not the Abe Lincoln as statesman or orator we see, but a man with a sense of humor even as he faces the nation's darkest hour. I loved the book and will be putting on my Christmas list to give friends and family.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
293 of 360 people found the following review helpful
on November 20, 2009
I have to admit this is not my usual cup of tea. I was very surprised by how much I enjoyed reading this book. The way that it was written conveyed a very clear picture of Washington DC as it was ~150 years ago. I have read John J Miller's excerpts and news articles for years and look forward to more of his writings. I suggest this for anyone interested in historical fiction or simply a good read.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
320 of 394 people found the following review helpful
on November 20, 2009
Miller's first book is a page turner. He created a great story with believable dialogue and presents the perfect backdrop for historical characters we have always wanted to know more about. This is what historical fiction is supposed to accomplish. Great supplement to our homeschool curriculum.
22 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
294 of 362 people found the following review helpful
on November 20, 2009
Unfortunately, and seemingly there's no justification for this in the content of the book itself, a Liberal group centered [...] is dead-set on trying to destroy this book by posting their negative reviews on Amazon. I doubt that any of them have actually read the book. Their reviews are all agenda driven, rather than commenting on the fast-paced, action-filled story. It is a great story, full of intrigue, very believable, along the lines of Stephen King action in a John Grisham plot. It also gives interesting background on what was happening in America and in Washington, DC, during Lincoln's presidency that is very enlightening. I am looking forward to the sequels.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
244 of 304 people found the following review helpful
on November 22, 2009
OK, maybe I'm biased because I have known the author for a long time...but this is a great read! The characters are all vivid, heroes and villains appear in the most unlikely places, and plot is full of surprises, big and small. It's a shame that the reviews here are being tainted by the politically-motivated jerks who are giving it one star based on reading the preview pages. I hope Amazon removes those soon so the book can find the audience it deserves.
55 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
303 of 381 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2009
This book does two things very well. First, the story is fast paced and engaging; each scene moves the action forward. Second, it has a great setting --- one that is well-researched and fascinating. The majority of the story takes place in Washington, D.C., during the Civil War. The author takes the reader into the city at that time. We see the seedy neighborhoods of Southwest, the canal at Georgetown, and the townhouses in downtown DC. As a former DC resident, I appreciated the 150-year look-back into the city.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
289 of 372 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2009
What a great book! Fascinating. I don't want to give too much away, but everything that happens here ratchets up the suspense (he sets up some great payoffs waaay in advance) and you find yourself rushing along to find out what happens next (which is too bad, because the prose really does sing here). What really got me was how the author gave us the daily life of Lincoln and those around him in a realistic way. Not every day in history is for the history books. People do have lives, even when they are in the throes of real drama, and Miller puts that on the page. Refreshing. And to cast this mystery over that backdrop--well, that makes this a rare treat.

A great first novel. (Heck, it would be great if it were his 23rd.) This is special. You will **love** The First Assassin.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
273 of 352 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2009
I've enjoyed John Miller's essays and articles for years. I never knew he had such a wonderful novel in him! The story is masterfully told and the characters are vivid and compelling. For those of us who love getting absorbed in historical fiction you can do no better than this. I highly recommend it.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.