Book Review: The Lincoln Conspiracy by: Timothy O'Brien


Rating: 3/5

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Publish Date: September 18, 2012

Origins: From Publisher for Review

Format: Hardcover

Order From:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Synopsis: 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?

In late spring of 1865, as America mourns the death of its leader, Washington, D.C., police detective Temple McFadden makes a startling discovery. Strapped to the body of a dead man at the B&O Railroad station are two diaries, two documents that together reveal the true depth of the Lincoln conspiracy. Securing the diaries will put Temple’s life in jeopardy—and will endanger the fragile peace of a nation still torn by war.

Temple’s quest to bring the conspirators to justice takes him on a perilous journey through the gaslit streets of the Civil War–era capital, into bawdy houses and back alleys where ruthless enemies await him in every shadowed corner. Aided by an underground network of friends—and by his wife, Fiona, a nurse who possesses a formidable arsenal of medicinal potions—Temple must stay one step ahead of Lafayette Baker, head of the Union Army’s spy service. Along the way, he’ll run from or rely on Edwin Stanton, Lincoln’s fearsome secretary of war; the legendary Scottish spymaster Allan Pinkerton; abolitionist Sojourner Truth; the photographer Alexander Gardner; and many others.

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.


Review: The American Civil War was a confusing and traumatic time in American history. Now the war is over…or is it? Directly following the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln is where ‘The Lincoln Conspiracy’ begins, introducing DC Metro Detective Temple McFadden and his wife Fiona. Temple comes into possession of two diaries, one is Mrs. Lincoln’s and the other belongs to the assassin, John Wilkes Booth. There are quite a few people out to get the diaries from Temple, using any means necessary. Could the conspiracy to assassinate the President be vaster and more complex than first believed and will Temple be able to put the pieces together before the villains cut him to pieces?

Featuring people ripped from the pages of history including, but not limited to: the remaining Lincoln family, Generals Grant and McClelland, Allen Pinkerton and his men, and Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, ‘The Lincoln Conspiracy’ is a twisted tale of greed, hatred, and strife. Mr. O’Brien’s detailed research and understanding of politics has given this story a rich and deep complexity. This period of history is one I don’t know too well, but Mr. O’Brien has brought it to life for the reader easily. There were an abundance of characters to keep straight which made following the story difficult at times, but I loved the residents of Swampdoodle. ‘The Lincoln Conspiracy’ started out slowly but picked up speed quickly, and felt unfinished to me at the end. I was expecting more of a cut and dried resolution, but with this type of novel you are somewhat restricted by actual events. Overall, I liked the novel and I’d like to see more of Temple and Fiona. 


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