The Lincoln Myth

Written by Steve Berry
Review by Barry Webb

A rogue group of Mormons led by a U.S. Senator plan to dismember the United States – if they can find a collection of James Madison’s notes supporting the contention that the Constitution allows for secession. On the eve of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln had allegedly given these notes to Brigham Young for safekeeping in the far West, where the rebels could not find them. The plan of this modern group is to have Utah lead the charge for secession by presenting these notes to the world, after which a number of other states would follow suit, bringing an end to the Unites States as we know it. To help institute this plan, Utah Senator Rowan enlists the services of a militant subgroup called the “Danites,” led by a deranged Spaniard who believes Joseph Smith talks to him. Retired Department of Treasury agent Cotton Malone is recruited to help foil the plot. The action careens from Denmark to Austria to D.C. to Iowa to Utah, interspersed with interludes from Lincoln’s era and even one from 1787.

There are some attribution problems, which forced me to pencil in names of speakers in order to keep them straight, and, as in most thrillers, there are some leaps of logic that require the reader to “forgive” the author – and read fast enough so that it doesn’t matter. But overall it is an enjoyable novel. Readers will learn much about Lincoln, Mormons, the Constitution and secession that they did not previously know – and which is pertinent in today’s polarized world. This is more of an intellectual thriller than a killer thriller; it was the concept and the interesting historical asides about Lincoln, states’ rights, and the Mormons that kept me reading. Recommended.