This is a lovely series, full of energy and insight. This installment, set during the election season of 1838 in Springfield, Illinois, follows the story of a man shot during the 4th of July fireworks and his subsequent trial, where his defense is taken on by Abraham Lincoln. The two central characters in this series are Joshua Fry Speed, known to history as Lincoln’s best friend, and Lincoln himself.
Why, you may say to yourself, I know all about Abraham Lincoln. Unless you are an historian, I assure you, you do not. Putnam has chosen to set his series during Lincoln’s younger years, before marriage to Mary Todd, when he’s living what was then a hardscrabble life as a lawyer. He and Speed share one bed in a rooming house; there’s another bed in their room shared by two other men.