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Treasure hunters Peter Fallon and Evangeline Carrington are heading for adventure in Washington, D.C., the sleek, modern, power-hungry capital of America...and the crowded, muddy, intrigue-filled nexus of the Civil War. Their prize? A document of incredible historical importance and incalculable value: Abraham Lincoln’s diary.
What if Lincoln recorded his innermost thoughts as he moved toward the realization that he must free the slaves? And what if that diary slipped from his fingers in 1862? A recently discovered letter written by Lincoln suggests that the diary exists and is waiting to be found. Some want the diary for its enormous symbolic value to a nation that reveres Lincoln. Others believe it carries a dark truth about Lincoln’s famous proclamation―a truth that could profoundly impact the fast-approaching elections and change the course of the nation. Peter and Evangeline must beat these villains to the prize or risk a future that corrupts the vision for which Lincoln fought.
From William Martin, the New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Constitution, The Lincoln Letter is a breathless chase across the Washington of today as well as a political thriller set in our besieged Civil War capital. It is a story of old animosities that still smolder, old philosophies that still contend, and a portrait of our greatest president as he passes from lawyer to leader in the fight for the birth of a new freedom.
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William Martin has written ten novels, an award-winning PBS documentary on the life of George Washington, and a cult-classic horror movie. His first Peter Fallon novel, Back Bay, spent fourteen weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Since then, Martin has been telling the American story, from the Pilgrims to 9/11. His novels, including Cape Cod, Citizen Washington, Annapolis, and The Rising of the Moon, have established William Martin as, in the words of Publishers Weekly, “a storyteller whose smoothness equals his ambition.” He was the 2005 recipient of the New England Book Award. Martin has three grown children and lives near Boston with his wife.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
On the last day of his life, Abraham Lincoln wrote a letter. If he was angry, anger did not reveal itself in his handwriting, which was typically clean and open. If he was euphoric, and those who observed him that day attested later that he was, euphoria did not express itself either.
The letter lacked the poetry of his best speeches and demonstrated none of the cold and relentless logic of his political writing.
It was as simple, direct, and as blunt as a cannonball:
Dear Lieutenant Hutchinson,
It comes to my attention that you are still alive. This means that you may still be in possession of something that I believe fell into your hands in the telegraph office three years ago. It would be best if you returned it, considering its potential to alter opinions regarding the difficulties just ended and those that lie ahead. If you do, a presidential pardon will be considered.
Lincoln did not inform his secretary about the letter.
It was unlikely that he wanted questions regarding correspondence with an officer who had served not only in the field but also in the War Department telegraph office, before coming into significant personal difficulty.
It would also have appeared strange that Lincoln did not address the letter to Lieutenant Hutchinson. He sent it instead to Private Jeremiah Murphy at the Armory Square Hospital on Seventh Street.
But even a president had his secrets.
Lincoln sealed the letter and slipped it into a pile of outgoing correspondence, some to be mailed, some to be hand delivered around the city.
It was just after eight when his wife appeared in the doorway to his office, where he was finishing a chat with a congressman. She was wearing a white dress with black stripes and a bonnet adorned with pink silk flowers. She had always favored flowers. But she had worn them less and less in the last four years. No woman who had lost a son and two half brothers, no woman who had watched her husband grow old under history’s heaviest burden, would be inclined to wear anything but black. Still, flowers and dress did nothing to soften her voice. “Mr. Lincoln, would you have us be late?”
He said, “To night, we shall laugh.”
Then he called for his carriage, and they went to the theater.
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