The Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy: A Novel by Jacopo della Quercia
If you’ve read more than one or two of my reviews before, you know that there is nothing that impresses me more than originality. A close (related) second is cleverness. This book has both in spades.
There is a great deal of history in this book. Nearly all the characters (perhaps all – I don’t know history well enough) are actual historical figures, the primary ‘characters’ being William Howard Taft and Robert Todd Lincoln. Teddy Roosevelt is in there, along with Buffalo Soldiers, King Leopold II, Albert Einstein, the Unsinkable Molly Brown, and many others. It is a steampunk, science-fictiony plot involving bizarre technology and a mystery to solve. The real cleverness of it comes from della Quercia’s detailed research. He uses quotes from real newspaper articles (cited and everything) like puzzle pieces to make his fantastical plot seem so much more like it might actually have happened behind the scenes.
I like history and politics. I find them interesting. I majored in political science, after all. But one thing that has always aggravated me about the way these subjects are taught is that everything seems to be taught in a vacuum. You learn about people and events like, for example in this book, the Buffalo Soldiers, the Rough Riders, King Leopold II, the sinking of the Titanic, the advent of wireless radio transmission, and the discovery of nuclear energy without ever learning that these things and people all happened and existed at the same time and all fit together in getting a picture of the world. Although this book takes a good bit of fictitious license with the motivation behind events, it does a fabulous job of illustrating the richness of history behind memorizing a list of names and dates. We’re all pieces of the whole. When a political butterfly flaps its wings in Belgium, something happens in Alaska. Etc.
Anyway, this is a well written, well researched, clever story that is very exciting at the end, and unlike anything else. As an extra added bonus, it isn’t laced with profanity and there are no sex scenes (though a good bit of violence) so you wouldn’t feel awkward giving it to your Dad or your favorite gifted middle schooler.
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Lori B. Duff is an award-winning author who practices law on the side. Her latest book, “If You Did What I Asked in the First Place” was awarded the Gold Medal for humor in the Foreword INDIES awards in 2019. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here. If you want Lori to help you market your book, click here.