From a reader in Iowa:
John, I finally took a day and read “The First Assassin.” A triumph for you. Thank you for the sacrifice involved in this sort of accomplishment.
I like this writing genre because this method sheds light on spaces in history. And within these spaces the dynamics about which we might not otherwise be curious. You were able to deliver points of view on your central period that are almost never offered in history classes. And of course a young person may be fortunate to have even cursory exposure to these themes.
I thought the balanced dynamic of the story line was well done and an interesting structural choice. For this sort of thriller it is probably easier to focus on the jackal or as in the case of a Stephen Hunter, his use of long running characters and weaponry. Structural choices do matter. By the way, I kept my DC map handy.
May I recommend another work of historical fiction? Agincourt by Bernard Cornwell. I enjoyed the development of character and even more the continuing development of the technologies and strategies of the time. Shakespeare kept some of this history alive. Cornwell fleshes it out substantially. That one took me more than a day to read but I couldn’t just let it lay there waiting for long when I would put it down.
I’m grateful to be mentioned in the same company as Hunter and Cornwell. For what it’s worth, I recorded a podcast with Cornwell about Agincourt when it came out. He’s a National Review subscriber!
Also, the forthcoming AmazonEncore edition of The First Assassin will include a street map of 1861 Washington. I’ll have more to say about that soon, but it’s one of several small improvements.