Finding a moment in a great man’s younger life that captures his greatness and brilliance long before he becomes “a great man” and then turning that moment into a compelling and moving story is exactly what Michael Price Nelson has done in his debut novel, The Lincoln Moon.
Nelson takes a case that occurred in 1858, from Abraham Lincoln’s years as a country lawyer that would reflect all of the causes and moral choices that would shape his presidency and allow him to preside over the country during the Civil War with compassion, wisdom and brilliance. In Lincoln Moon, Nelson’s protagonist is Scrump Armstrong, a young boy who’s parents are friends of Lincoln’s. When his older brother is wrongly accused of murder Lincoln comes to help his friends. Woven into this tale of slavery and small town corruption is a very moving and surprising subplot involving the Underground Railroad that happens to run right through the Armstrong farm.
Nelson’s seamless novel weaves a boy’s coming of age with the bonds of friendship and the power of hate, but the greater power of a moral center and love. Definitely a book for our times and a book that can be shared with family, must be shared with family.
J. Dulin Jones