The First Assassin by John J. Miller was a deep shelf find from 2nd & Charles. Really, I was drawn in by the word ‘assassin’. Don’t we all love a good crime type book?
I’m also a pretty big fan of historical fiction. That’s why I like Margaret George’s books so much. After reading the synopsis on the back, I learned that the book was about the first assassin, out for Abraham Lincoln.
The majority of the novel takes place in the North, in and around Washington, D.C., shortly after Lincoln has been sworn in as president. The assassin out to get him goes only by ‘Mazorca’. A southern plantation owner hires Mazorca through intermediaries in Cuba.
In an effort to save the president’s life, a highly ranked slave on the plantation enlists his granddaughter to take a photo (a new concept for this time) from rural South Carolina all the way to Washington, D.C. to warn Lincoln. It’s a tenuous journey, involving slave hunters and being shipped in a box on a train.
We also see the story from the point of view of Colonel Rook, one man put in charge of everything presidential safety. He suspects there are some secessionists in D.C. who may wish to do harm to the president. He goes against his military orders, follows different guests and residents of the city, and ultimately imprisons some of them. In the end though, he was right.
All in, I thought The First Assassin was good! At times, I thought it was unnecessarily descriptive, sometimes redundant. However, you switched between characters so often that you had to keep reading to know what happened!
It definitely wasn’t the story I thought it would be. I was hopeful that it would be historical fiction from John Wilkes Booth’s perspective, but, alas. Spoiler, Lincoln lives in this one.
If you don’t want to buy it, try a free 30 day trial of Kindle Unlimited. This book is actually one of the good ones that’s available for free (along with all of the Harry Potter books!).
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