The Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy by Jacopo Della Quercia is a historical fiction set at the turn of the 20th century. The story follows Robert Todd Lincoln and the mystery around his father’s pocket watch. A pocket watch that worked for 47 years, then suddenly stopped.
Lincoln, who is friends with then President William Taft, embarks on a journey to discover the timepieces’ origin. The only clue is an engraving on the watch, in Russian, that says “Made in America.” Questions surrounding the watch send Taft, Lincoln, secret service agents, and a slew of characters on an international scavenger hunt. Their initial adventure leads into something much bigger: An international plot to destroy the United States of America.
I haven’t read many historical fictions (none, really) and I didn’t know what to expect. I was guilty of judging a book by its cover and thought it was going to be something a little more…stuffy. Something along the lines of Guns, Germs, and Steel. What I got was a lot of action, intrigue, and a fun story.
The action scenes were well written, which made them more enjoyable. They didn’t feel rushed nor did they drag on for pages. Quercia hit the sweet spot with enough description to keep the pages turning, but allowed the reader’s imagination to adlib.
When I say action, I mean action: Taft in a bare knuckle boxing match against three opponents, large-scale military firefights, speeding cars, harrowing escapes from sinking ships, and kidnappings. All were great fun to read.
There were only two historical events I was aware of before reading: Taft was president and the Titanic sank. All other actual events are accompanied by footnotes. Quercia doesn’t force you down that historical rabbit hole. Instead, he lets the reader decide how deep they’re willing to go.
The Bottom Line:
I bought this book when it was released, but had a laundry list of books to read before it. It sat in my Kindle library, untouched for months. Had I known then what I know now, I would have read it much, much sooner. Quercia tells a fantastic tale that’s fun to read. Period. You should buy this book