Friday, August 13, 2010
Mini-Review of "The First Assassin" by John J.Miller
Historical fiction is hard to write well, but John J. Miller has pulled it off. I tore through the pages of this book, wondering how the many threads of the narrative would finally weave together. The action is set in the first few months of the Lincoln administration in the days leading up to the Civil War. Washington, D.C. is a morass of fear and conspiracy, Ft. Sumter has just fallen and the fragile fabric of the nation is beginning to unravel. In the midst of this chaos, a group of Southern secessionists conspire to hire a mysterious figure who calls himself Mazorca to find a way to kill the President. A diminutive runaway slave by the name of Portia holds the key to warning Lincoln about the danger that he is in. Col. Rook is at odds with General Winfield Scott over how many resources to deploy in guarding the President. From the plantations of South Carolina to Charlston to Baltimore and D.C., the action ricochets back and forth. Miller has researched the period well, and he tells a gripping story that is plausible in every regard. An early reviewer called this book: "'The Day of the Jackal' set in 1861 Washington." I echo those sentiments. I loved this book.