Set in 1900, The Lincoln Deception is an exciting historical thriller about one of the most famous and history-changing conspiracies in modern times. Mixed with fictional and historical characters, author David O. Stewart bases the premise of the book on the deathbed confession of John Bingham, a dear friend of the main character, Dr. Jamie Fraser. Bingham, a former Congressman, was the prosecutor of eight of the Lincoln conspirators. As he is dying, Bingham tells Fraser that shortly before her death, Mary Surratt confided a secret to him that could bring down the whole country.
Bingham, unfortunately, takes this secret with him when he dies, believing it is too dangerous for Americans to know. The confession leads Fraser on an adventure to determine what the secret was. He knows he needs to find the truth about who else acted with James Wilkes Booth, who were all of the targets, and, most importantly, who was pulling the strings of the conspirators.
Joined by an unlikely cohort, Speed Cook, Fraser sets out to uncover the clues that will give him the answers to what exactly Mary Surratt told Bingham. Cook is a college-educated, former professional baseball player and newspaperman. He is also black. Cook is not satisfied with the way his country is heading, the treatment of black people after emancipation, and the promises of the triumphant Union that are yet to be fulfilled. He, too, has a vested interest in uncovering the true reasons and powers behind the assassination plots. Were Northerners working together with Southerners? Was it plotted only by Confederates?
The relationship between Fraser and Cook is edgy, to say the least. These were not times in which black people traveled without travail throughout the United States. We learn a lot about what it was like to be black in this time of segregation and the barriers the two men face in building a true friendship.
It’s common knowledge that President Lincoln was not the only target of the assassins. In The Lincoln Deception, we are treated to a conspiracy theory that is carefully laid out for us and, most importantly, believable. I loved the characters and found the book to be an enjoyable historical adventure mystery. I can’t finish without sharing the fact that Mary Surratt did in fact confide some secret to the attorney who prosecuted her, John Bingham. What could this secret have been?
– Reviewed by Karen Mitchell
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