Synopses & Reviews
From the best-selling author of The Emperor of Ocean Park and New England White, a daring reimagining of one of the most tumultuous moments in our nation’s past
Stephen L. Carter’s thrilling new novel takes as its starting point an alternate history: President Abraham Lincoln survives the assassination attempt at Ford’s Theatre on April 14, 1865. Two years later he is charged with overstepping his constitutional authority, both during and after the Civil War, and faces an impeachment trial . . .
Twenty-one-year-old Abigail Canner is a young black woman with a degree from Oberlin, a letter of employment from the law firm that has undertaken Lincoln’s defense, and the iron-strong conviction, learned from her late mother, that “whatever limitations society might place on ordinary negroes, they would never apply to her.” And so Abigail embarks on a life that defies the norms of every stratum of Washington society: working side by side with a white clerk, meeting the great and powerful of the nation, including the president himself. But when Lincoln’s lead counsel is found brutally murdered on the eve of the trial, Abigail is plunged into a treacherous web of intrigue and conspiracy reaching the highest levels of the divided government.
Here is a vividly imagined work of historical fiction that captures the emotional tenor of post–Civil War America, a brilliantly realized courtroom drama that explores the always contentious question of the nature of presidential authority, and a galvanizing story of political suspense.
From the author of the best sellers The Emperor of Ocean Park
and New England White,
an electrifying, provocative new novel that asks the question: What would have happened had Lincoln not been assassinated?
Stephen Carter's thrilling new novel takes as its starting point an alternate history: President Abraham Lincoln survives the assassination attempt at Ford's Theatre on April 14, 1865--only to be charged with overstepping his Constitutional authority during the Civil War, and faced with impeachment. Abigail, a young black woman recently graduated from Oberlin, is hired by a D.C. law firm to assist in Lincoln's defense. Working with a white clerk named Jonathan, and ducking the admonitions of her formidable Nanny Pork, Abigail embarks on a life that defies the norms of Washington society. But when one of Lincoln's lead lawyers is found brutally murdered, she finds herself plunged into a web of intrigue, politics, and conspiracy more tangled than she could have imagined. Here is a sweeping drama that captures the emotional tenor of post-Civil War America, that explores the nature of presidential authority (a particularly resonant subject for our own moment in history), and that gives us a galvanizing story of political suspense.
About the Author
STEPHEN L. CARTER is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Yale University, where he has taught since 1982. He is also the author of seven books of nonfiction. He and his family live near New Haven, Connecticut.