The Thackery Journal: Book Review

The Thackery Journal
By John Holt
Phoenix Publishing

On the night of April 14th 1865 President Abraham Lincoln attended a performance at The Ford Theatre, in Washington. A single shot fired by John Wilkes Booth hit the President in the back of the head. He slumped to the floor, and died a few hours later without regaining consciousness. Was Booth a lone assassin? Or was he part of a wider conspiracy? A plot hatched by his own generals to replace Lincoln with General Ulysses S. Grant.

My Review: When Jacob Thackery enlists to serve in the Confederate army, he decides to keep a journal of his experiences. His role in the Civil War is part of a shocking conspiracy. Does Jacob realize the part he is about to play? Or, is he an innocent victim of power-hungry leaders intent on bringing down the President of the United States.

Before I began reading The Thackery Journal, I wasn't sure if I'd like the book. Though I've enjoyed some Civil War fiction in the past, I'm not usually a fan of conspiracy theories. This story gripped me early on, probably because of the author's skill in crafting sympathetic, likable characters. I enjoyed the human element in this story and the author's ability to show the toll the war took on the country. As the country begins to take sides in the war, states battle neighboring states, brothers war against brothers, and families are ripped apart. The story focuses on certain characters (Aaron Thackery, Jacob Thackery, Miles, and others), but also explores the war as a whole and is interspersed with historical facts that bring the time period to life.

This story is very well-written. It was a captivating read that kept me turning the pages late into the evening and past my bedtime. The author definitely had me wondering, "What if?" as I read this book. I'd recommend The Thackery Journal to anyone who enjoys historical fiction or alternate history.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

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  1. Thank you Tricia - I am delighted that you enjoyed it. Although a departure from my normal genre, I am very pleased with the way it turned out. The first thing I wrote was in fact the last chapter. I was wondering how a fugitive might feel with the pursuers getting closer and closer, That chapter has remained pretty much unchanged, considering it was actually written four years ago. I soon had chapter one, and then chapter two followed fairly easily. I had pages and pages of research material, but couldn't quite decide what to do with it. Over the following three years I added bits and pieces, but most of my tome was taken up with Kendall, and besides I didn't quite know what to do with Thackery. Then quite suddenly it came to me, and I knew exactly what to do. Six months later the book was completed and published.

  2. It's a fantastic book, John. I'm so glad I read it.


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