Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy

The Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy
by Jacopo della Quercia
St. Martin's Griffin, 2014. 384 pages. Fiction.

Everyone who's read the history books knows that Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in Ford's Theater by John Wilkes Booth, a passionate Confederate who wanted to avenge the South. But when Lincoln's only surviving son, Robert Todd Lincoln, finds a mysterious gold pocket watch which his father had stored in a safe deposit box 40 years after his death, he unwittingly starts a chain of events that could lead to the downfall of President William Howard Taft and the Constitution of the United States itself.

What made this book so fascinating was the way the author was able to use actual historical fact to support his own plot. della Quercia has supplemented the action with newspaper articles and reports (footnoted and documented) that shore up every bit of evidence he presents, no matter how preposterous it may seem. He's even succeeded in making William Howard Taft, the president so obese he is rumored to have gotten stuck in the White House bathtub, a plausible action hero. While the history may get a little convoluted and the plot may have the occasional hole, the action moves forward well and keeps the reader interested, particularly after the entire cast of characters has been introduced and the premise set up. Readers will have a hard time discovering where fact leaves off and fiction begins again. This is a 99.9% clean read, with a handful of instances of strong language.


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