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The Lincoln Conspiracy: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, September 18, 2012

3.7 out of 5 stars 70 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"...a historical puzzle as labyrinthine and grandiose as Scheherazade's tales...As clever as Sherlock Holmes, as wily as Pendergast in Preston and Child's series, and wickedly funny on top of it all, the irresistible McFadden is due to return in a sequel--thank goodness!"

- BOOKLIST (starred review)

"The history and overall arc of the novel are superb...and Temple McFadden proves to be a worthwhile hero."
-- Washington Post

"...a superb job of mixing historical fact with bold speculation...Timothy O'Brien's husband-and-wife team proves a unique one. Fiona has more moxie than the majority of 19th-century women, and Temple's aversion to firearms sets him apart from the majority of his contemporaries. All in all, a fine historical mystery."
-- BookReporter

Praise for The Lincoln Conspiracy
“History as a dangerous, inventive game . . . fascinating.”—Martin Cruz Smith
“A notable fiction debut with an appealing detective hero and plenty of action. It gets off to a fast start and never stops.”—Library Journal
“A historical puzzle as labyrinthine and grandiose as Scheherazade’s tales . . . As clever as Sherlock Holmes, as wily as Pendergast in Preston and Child’s series, and wickedly funny on top of it all, the irresistible McFadden is due to return in a sequel—thank goodness!”—Booklist (starred review)
“[A] fast-paced, well-conceived adventure . . . There is nothing more fun than losing oneself in O’Brien’s rich and riotous mixture of reimagination and fact.”—Historical Novels Review
“Gripping . . . The history and overall arc of the novel are superb . . . and Temple McFadden proves to be a worthwhile hero.”—Associated Press

From the Back Cover

"The Lincoln Conspiracy is a hell of a good read. It's an exciting thriller full of believable characters and absorbing history, and the end result is a page-turning blend of research and imagination."--David Liss
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
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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1St Edition edition (September 18, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345496779
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345496775
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,415,103 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
A well researched book posing the question of whether Abraham Lincoln's assassination in 1865 was truly engineered by the group history cites, or there might be much more to the plot. Temple McFadden a Washington D.C police detective discovers by chance two diaries on the body of a man killed at the B & O railroad station. The diaries outline a plot to kill Lincoln that is much greater than thought. It is 1865 and a witch hunt is on to bring in more of the suspected perpetrators of the killing than are currently in custody. John Wilkes Booth is dead and it is believed that his main collaborators are being held in prison awaiting trial. Temple, with the aid of his wife, Fiona and several friends and allies attempts to find out what are the facts brought out by the diaries. One is by Mary Todd Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln's widow, and the other by John Wilkes Booth. Booth's diary is in a code that detective McFadden, with the aid of a friend attempts to decipher.
Mr O'Brien's descriptions of the D.C. area at the end of the Civil war certainly serve to bring the reader into the period and provide an atmosphere that rings true to the time. The language and actions of the characters resound with the color of 1865 and enhance the reading pleasure of the book. Washington is dirty, hot in the summer, and filled with thousands of returning soldiers awaiting discharge. Principal characters from the period make appearances and add reality to the plot. These include Edwin Stanton, Lincoln's secretary of war, the legendary Scottish spymaster Allan Pinkerton, abolitionist Sojourner Truth, Mary Todd Lincoln as well as Mary Surratt awaiting trial and eventual death for her possible part in the assassination plot.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Take one dead president, add three historically-inaccurate but politically-correct protagonists, a couple of Bondian super-villains, throw in a lot of half-baked plots and counterplots, and stir until all is an impenetrable mess.

This is the recipe for Timothy L. O'Brien's history-mystery novel set in the days after the American Civil War and the killing of President Abraham Lincoln. Temple McFadden is a Washington, D. C. police detective, haunted by a grim Irish childhood among other things, who interrupts a deadly assault at the B & O Railroad station. He takes custody of a package containing two diaries, one kept by Lincoln's widow and the other by his killer. He also takes on a bevy of deadly and ruthless operators who want the diaries. Can McFadden, his devoted wife Fiona, and their friend Augustus solve Lincoln's murder?

After finishing the novel, I can't say I know the answer. I know how the book ended, but I'm not at all clear on what happened or why. Things happen in "The Lincoln Conspiracy" less for reason than for effect.

A number of historical figures make their way into the pages of the book, including the famous detective Allan Pinkerton; photographer Alexander Gardner; and Edwin Stanton, Lincoln's secretary of war oft-speculated to have played a role in Lincoln's death. Unfortunately, they are cardboard caricatures seemingly plucked from their Wikipedia entries rather than developed as human beings of depth and feeling.

Without revealing too much, Temple discovers that Lincoln was a victim not of desperate terrorist fury but corporate greed. This doesn't make sense considering Lincoln's pro-wealth economic policies (which O'Brien acknowledges), nor especially when the chief villain is finally revealed at the book's end.
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Format: Hardcover
This was an interesting book and there were things that I liked and disliked about it. I liked all of the characters in the book, especially Temple and his wife Fiona. Temple's childhood story was compelling and he is just one of those people that seem to court trouble and it made for an exciting read. Fiona shows herself to be perfectly capable of taking care of herself and does so with intelligence and skill several times in the book. My favorite part of the book was the descriptions of Washington D.C. during the time after the Civil War. O'Brien does a great job of bringing the city to life and I really felt like a got a good feeling of what it would be like to live there during this time.

The major problem I had with the book was the mystery around the diaries and who was really responsible for the murder of President Lincoln. Personally, I just did not find the conspiracy theory to be very believable. I was also rather disappointed in the ending, it did not wrap everything up the way I hoped that it would. I found myself still trying to figure out how all the different pieces fit together after finishing the book.

It is a fast paced read with lots of action and suspense and fans of books with conspiracy theories are bound too enjoy this one. Historical fiction lovers will also find lots to like in this book with the great cast of important characters from this time in history and some great historical details that really added to the book. For me it was an imperfect, but interesting read.
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