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BKMT READING GUIDES
The Lincoln Conspiracy: A Novel
by Timothy L. O'Brien
Hardcover : 368 pages
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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.
"History as a dangerous, inventive game. Fascinating."
Editorial ReviewNo editorial review at this time.
ExcerptRain kept the dust down.
Nothing else in Washington did, especially in early summer, when the heat started coming on and dirt in the streets began the slow broil that led into August. Fiona would hate that rain was already lashing the leather on his new boots. She was practical in these matters. But even Fiona would admit that rain kept the dust down. Temple would rather be with Fiona now, instead of gimping toward a train to fetch Augustus and Pint. ... view entire excerpt...
Discussion Questions1) What makes The Lincoln Conspiracy unique as a historical thriller?
2) What did you find appealing about Washington and New York as cities in the post-Civil War period and why did you decide to set your book largely in those cities?
3) There are a many fictional and actual historical figures in The Lincoln Conspiracy. Who are your favorites?
4) Does the book offer a plausible theory for who might have been behind a conspiracy to assassinate Lincoln?
5) Women figure prominently in The Lincoln Conspiracy – as aspiring doctors, as mothers betrayed in one fashion or another by their sons, and as resourceful, opinionated, and, in some cases, outspoken. Does the book make its women more “modern” than they might have been?
6) Was the code that Temple McFadden needed to crack in order decipher entries in one of the diaries true to the era?
7) This is a very fast-paced book. Was “speed” important to you in the pacing of the narrative?
8) Are we going to see Temple McFadden again?
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