- Mass Market Paperback: 245 pages
- Publisher: Eos (27 July 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0060819278
- ISBN-13: 978-0060819279
- Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 1.6 x 17.1 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,405,322 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Lincoln's Sword Mass Market Paperback – 27 Jul 2010
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From the Back Cover
The union is doomed, its death foretold in the fever dreams of Mary Todd Lincoln . . .
As a great nation's destiny is being written in blood on the battlefields of Pea Ridge and Shiloh, a grim tomorrow is foreseen by a deeply troubled first lady and interpreted by her best friend, Mercy, herself an accomplished seer. But hope appears out of the mist with the arrival of Thomas, a mysterious stranger with an astonishing mastery over time and space. Against the backdrop of the Civil War's greatest events, these three must join together to salvage a future with the aid of unlikely collaborators: the uncannily gifted Confederate captain Cole Younger, his notorious career as a bank robber as yet undetermined, and President Lincoln himself, called upon to willingly make the ultimate sacrifice.
And the key to their desperate endeavor lies in a mysterious image from Mrs. Lincoln's tortured visions--a magical sword which, when wielded, will bring redemption . . . or destruction.
About the Author
Debra Doyle has a doctorate in English literature. Together, she and James Macdonald have written numerous sf/f books. They live in Colebrook, New Hampshire.
James D. Macdonald was in the Navy for more than fourteen years, both enlisted and as an officer, before he cashed out and started writing.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
Nevis received orders assigning him to the USS Nicodemus as head of the gunnery department. He joined his ship at the Thule Shipyard. The ship was freed from the ice and traveled along the coastline toward the harbor. Nevis escorted Columbia to the ship and it sailed away from the harbor looking for blockade runners.
In this novel, Thomas is a man who can travel through time within his own lifespan. His body is physical, but cannot be killed within other time periods.
Richard Butler is a Major-General in the US Army. He is second in command to General St. Clair in an expedition against the Shawnee and other tribes near the Wabash River.
Mercy Levering is a woman with several magical talents. She is also a friend of Mary.
Mary Todd is a seeress. Her talent is so strong that she cannot avoid the visions.
Kevin Mulcahey is an Irishman serving as a private in the US Army. He is a friend of Padraich Connor, who is also Irish.
Thomas Coleman Younger is a Lieutenant in the Missouri Militia. Cole rides with Quantrill's Raiders.
Albert Pike is a Confederate General. He commands three regiments of Cherokee cavalry.
In this story, Thomas is living in Lee's Summit, Missouri, in 1916. He is old and doesn't timeshift much anymore. He has never met another with this ability. He reminisces about his life to date.
In 1791, General Butler is trying to persuade his commander to extend the pickets. St. Clair has a poor opinion of the frontier militiamen and doesn't want to put them too far from the camp. Butler believes that the scouts know more about the enemy than General St. Clair, but is forced to keep the pickets in close.
The indians attack at dawn the following day. General Butler is badly wounded in the fighting and is probably dying. He gives his sword to a lieutenant with orders to take it to his brothers.
In 1834, everybody tells Mercy's mother that she has a gift. When she is eleven, she draws a circle on her slate with chalk and causes a girl to fall flat on her face in a mud puddle. When she is seventeen, Mercy makes a doll and carries it next to her heart for a month and a man dances only with her for the whole month.
In 1840, Mercy is close to being a spinster in Baltimore. She writes about her feelings in a letter to her brother. He invites her stay with his family in Springfield, Illinois.
Mercy meets Mary Todd in Springfield and decides that they should be good friends. Mary is driven by strong emotions caused by her visions. Mercy provides compassion and counsel. When Mary becomes engaged to Abraham Lincoln, Mercy suggests that she tell her finance about her talent.
Lincoln breaks the engagement soon afterward. Mercy feels that the situation is her fault. She performs a ritual to bring the pair back together again.
In 1862, Kevin is burning a rebel camp in Belmont, Missouri. He finds a dead rebel officer and takes the valuables, including a sword. He tries to shine the sword, but the blood stains always return.
Later, Kevin and Padraich are foraging for their company. They find a small farm with two cows and a crying woman washing a bloody shirt. They discover a wounded and unconscious man in the house. They take the cows and a loaf of bread from the farm, leaving promissory notes.
In 1862, Quantrill has closed down operations for the winter, so Cole is riding with the regulars at Pea Ridge in Arkansas. The nights are so cold that he wonders whether leaving Quantrill was a good idea. Thomas appears one night and leads him to General Pike.
Pike and Thomas teach Cole the fundamentals of the mystic arts during a late night session. Thomas tells him that more skills can be developed with a period of peace and quiet. Cole uses these techniques to help him sleep.
Afterward, Cole goes on a mission for Quantrill in which he pretends to have the touch. He is asked by a Federal officer to determine if a boy is working with the rebels. Cole recognizes the boy as a courier for the rebels. Then he learns that he can feel the boy's moods, but he tells the Union officer that the boy is innocent.
This tale brings Cole and Mercy together in their dreams. They don't meet in the flesh until 1875. After their mental and physical merging, Cole finds himself developing new powers.
Recommended for Doyle & MacDonald fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of various magics, American history, and time travel. Read and enjoy!
-Arthur W. Jordin
Confederate officer Cole Younger is rushed through rites of initiation into "esoteric disciplines" at the urging of a mysterious stranger. Mercy Levering, a talented practitioner of ritual magic, provides comfort to her friend and confidant, Mary Todd Lincoln. Mary is a sibyl, beset with visions of a country covered in the blood and smoke of disunion, as well as those of a mystic sword that is vital to bringing the nation together once again. Both Cole and Mercy are recruited by Mr. Thomas, an enigmatic figure with the ability to travel through both time and space, to ensure that the sword gets into the hands of President Lincoln in an effort to manipulate the events of history to fall into the proper pattern.
The main problem with this otherwise fine novel is the handling of the titular sword. While obviously symbolic of the sacrifice needed to form the Union, it is more often treated as merely a MacGuffin. Its true purpose and the reasons for its importance are ambiguous at best and, in the end, it only serves as the focus of Thomas' various machinations. Setting that aside, the novel's tight pace and multiple points of view keep the reader interested throughout. Further, the use of mysticism and magic within the historical period are handled with a light touch and do not overwhelm the overall story. In the balance, Lincoln's Sword is a good read.
If the authors intend to write any more books, they really should stick to telling tales within their abilities, because attempting something grand made for a dreadful read. Please, can I have those couple hours of my life back?
This is a time skipping novel depicting incidents that impacted the Civil War and influenced Abraham Lincoln.
I intended to really enjoy this book as I was enamored with the Mage World Series done by the same authors. The book is billed as an alternate history of the Civil War. This book was as satisfying as a tofu burger, much ado but little or no substance. My first inclination is to blame the editors as the book bounces hither and thither through time with very little clear connection between events. It read as more of an outline than a book. You recognize the skill of the story tellers and it is as if they are teasing you by wafting the aromatic inklings of a good book and failing to deliver. This book is a disappointment.
If you consider this a short story as opposed to a novel I recommend it but this truly is Doyle and MacDonald light as opposed to the fulfilling work you probably expect from them.