The Second Life of John Wilkes Booth
By Barnaby Conrad
(Council Oak Books, Hardcover, 9781571782250, 258pp.)
Publication Date: August 2010
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The Second Life of John Wilkes Booth is a gripping historical thriller based on the often-advanced theory that Lincoln’s assassin was not killed in the barn in Virginia but escaped to a second life in the Wild West. Barnaby Conrad was told the plot in 1947 by Sinclair Lewis, while serving as personal secretary to the Nobel-Prize winning author. They agreed to co-author the book, but only one of them lived to tell the tale. Conrad follows Booth as he secretly makes his way to Robert E. Lee’s headquarters, expecting to be received as a hero. Instead Lee believes him an impostor and drives him away. The penniless Booth flees on a riverboat up the Missouri River to Montana Territory and assumes a new identity in a rough frontier town. Just as Booth falls in love with a kind woman, a bloodhound-like reporter appears, the truth is revealed and justice is delivered a la Greek tragedy.