Lincoln's has been elected President and, according to secessionists, snuck into Washington like a coward. General Winfield Scott, hero of the war with Mexico is the big shot of DC and has assigned Colonel Rook to head Lincoln's security. And Rook sees conspiracies around every corner.
Langston Bennett is Old South. Home on Charleston's Battery and a plantation with plenty of slaves. He hates everything Lincoln stands for and works out a plan to hire a Cuban mercenary to kill Lincoln. Lucius, his childhood friend and personal slave, overhears the plot.
At the Bennett plantation, Lucius talks his granddaughter into sneaking off and to work her way to DC and warn someone in the White House. Oh, when Bennett was getting his photo taken, Lucius quietly has the photographer's assistant, a young black boy, to sneak a photo of the assassin as he leaves Bennett's battery home. It is this photo that will get Portia, the granddaughter, into the White House.
The assassin, who goes by Mazorca, arrives in DC, seeks out the help of a society lady who is loyal to the cause. Plans how he'll kill Lincoln and begins preparations, including knocking off a bunch of folks along the way.
Rook senses doom and ramps up surveillance efforts, despite General Scott's insistence that Rook cease. Rook has to tighten the noose without alerting Scott or Mazorca and be prepared, just in case, to take the bullet.
I won't say this was great or that it was just so-so. It was cleverly plotted and paced with lots of content about simple life on the plantation, in DC, of travel in the pre-war south. The book picked up when Rook was in the center of the reader's attention. This story about the beginnings of the Secret Service (which didn't become official until Lincoln signed the paper's on the day he was assassinated) was pretty entertaining. As historical fiction goes, this was decent, not spectacular, but decent.
East Coast Don