Perfect for fans of espionage thrillers, historical fiction, and indefatigable female protagonists—
Molly Ferguson’s comfortable life unravels when her Louisiana home is burned to the ground, her family murdered, and she is enslaved in a Baltimore brothel. Amidst the threat of the Civil War, Molly learns of secessionist plans to assassinate President-elect Abraham Lincoln as he makes his way to Washington for his inauguration. She’s manages to pass this information on to a Pinkerton agent posing as a client. Impressed with her fortitude and intelligence, the Pinkerton Agency arranges for Molly’s freedom and brings her under the tutelage of Mrs. Kate Warne, America’s first female detective. After they save Mr. Lincoln in Baltimore, Molly is sent by the Pinkerton Agency into the Deep South—where the Civil War now rages—a spy behind enemy lines.
Molly threads a thin line between revenge and redemption as she races to unravel a sinister plan that will doom the Union and allow the Confederacy to win the Civil War—while coming face to face with the demons from her tragic past.
Turner's uneven third historical (after 2017's Land of Wolves), a prequel, opens with a harrowing scene set in New Orleans in May 1860. Molly Ferguson, the love interest of Joseph Foster, who stopped John Wilkes Booth from assassinating Lincoln at Ford's Theatre in 2015's Lincoln's Bodyguard, witnesses a lynch mob hang her father, the owner of a plantation that was profitable without slaves, and burn down the family house. Flash forward to February 1861; Molly is a prisoner in a Baltimore brothel, where her perspicacity brings her to the attention of a Pinkerton operative and, ultimately, Allan Pinkerton himself. She's rescued from her life as a prostitute and enlisted to help foil a plan by Southern sympathizers to assassinate Lincoln when his train passes through Baltimore en route to Washington, D.C., for his inauguration. Too many plot contrivances, including a melodramatic late reveal, make this less enjoyable than its predecessors.