The First Assassin: A word from John Miller

National Review political correspondent John Miller has just published The First Assassin, a historical thriller featuring a fictional plot against Abraham Lincoln. The book is a labor of love; John has been working on it in stolen moments over the past 13 years. I’ve been asking him if he would provide a note that would allow us to bring his novel to the attention of our readers. He has now graciously obliged:

The fuss over the White House party crashers makes it easy to forget that lax security was once the rule rather than the exception in Washington.
That grim reality forms the backdrop to my new historical thriller, The First Assassin. In a cover blurb, bestselling author Vince Flynn (a Minnesotan) says: “An excellent book–it’s like The Day of the Jackal set in 1861 Washington.”
The story takes place at the start of Abraham Lincoln’s presidency, at a time when it was still possible to knock on the door of the White House, request a meeting with commander-in-chief, and actually stand a chance of getting one. It was also a time when a lot of Americans would like to have seen the president dead.
In The First Assassin, as southern states secede and Fort Sumter falls, a mysterious hitman arrives in Washington with a deadly assignment that threatens to change the course of history. His adversary is an Army colonel who is in charge of presidential security. Charles Rook is a Union man but not a Lincoln man. He has misgivings about the public figure whose life he must protect. Meanwhile, hundreds of miles away, a slave holds the key to unlocking a terrible conspiracy.
The First Assassin is my first novel. I’ve made a living as a writer of nonfiction: three other books, hundreds of articles for National Review, a gazillion blog posts on NRO’s The Corner. So this was a change of pace.
If you enjoy thrillers, historical fiction, or Civil War history, I hope you’ll give The First Assassin a try. The book is not available in stores–it’s sold almost exclusively through You can learn more about it on my personal Web site, which includes an excerpt, links to what others are saying, and the story of how it was written.

John is too modest to cite the rave review by David Forsmark that his book gets today at FrontPage. Echoing Flynn’s blurb, Forsmark writes: “Imagine Jeff Shaara setting Frederick Forsythe’s The Day of the Jackal in the first days of the Lincoln presidency, and you have The First Assassin.” If you think you might be interested in the book for yourself or a friend, be sure to check out Forsmark’s review.


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