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 postCivil 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.
"Starred Review. This novel has all the juicy stew of postCivil War Washington, with the complexities of race, class, and sex mixed in. Carter draws on historical documents and a vivid imagination to render a fascinating mix of murder mystery, political thriller, and courtroom drama." - Booklist
"This is Lincoln by way of Dan Brown, complete with ciphers and conspiracies and breathless escapes, only not so breathless, since Carter lacks Brown's talent for narrative momentum." - Publishers Weekly
"Carter writes in the naturalistic school of Theodore Dreiser. His strength lies in capturing the subtle nuances of social interaction between blacks and whites. If he ever crafts a novel that doesn't depend on a creaky thriller plot for its impetus, it should be a good one - he's a superb social observer. In the meantime, his latest is fun." - Library Journal
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Stephen L. Carter was born on October 26, 1954 and raised in Ithaca, New York, graduating from Ithaca High School in 1972. He earned a B.A. from Stanford University in 1976 and a J.D. from Yale Law School in 1979. After graduation, Carter clerked for US Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.
He is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Yale University, where he has taught since 1982. He is the author of several acclaimed nonfiction books, including The Culture of Disbelief and Civility; and four novels - The Emperor of Ocean Park (2002), New England White (2007), Palace Council (2008), and Jericho's Fall (2009). He lives with his wife near New Haven, Connecticut. His son, Andrew, is a student at Yale and his daughter, Leah, at Dartmouth.
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