Washington D.C., 1865
Shakespearian actor John Wilkes Booth is famous, charming, and so sexy, brokenhearted women have attempted suicide over him. But the image he shows his adoring public is nothing like the real Booth. A tragic, troubled man, he leads a secret life, far from the theater’s applause and lights. By day, he’s a Confederate spy and courier, taking dangerous missions so that his beloved South can fight the North in the war that has torn the nation in two. An even darker secret plagues him–he believes he’s the reincarnation of Brutus, the man who slew the tyrant Caesar, and Booth’s destiny in this life is to murder the tyrant who’s ravaged the South—Abraham Lincoln. In obeying the spirit of Brutus, Booth devises a plot to assassinate the tyrant.
But, as many tragic heroes have surrendered their hearts to a beautiful woman, Booth falls in love with Alice Grey, an actress from the North who’s been hired to spy on Booth and thwart his murderous plans. Both he and Alice become torn between their loyalties to their countries and their growing love for each other. As Booth struggles to ward off Brutus’s controlling spirit, he realizes he can’t escape his fate. He’s destined to live and die the life that’s given him.
Will Alice’s love for Booth win out over her duty to protect the President from assassination? A surprise twist at the end seals Booth’s fate, which we know from the history books, but did it really end that way? The open question remains: did Booth die in the burning barn that night, or did he escape and return to his beloved?
by Martha Cheves
A Book and a Dish
Booth felt like going behind the saloon and blowing
his brains out, so maybe getting it off his chest would help.
Here goes, then.
day after the election, I decided it was time to begin planning this capture
plot we’d discussed in
Montreal. So I went to Nettie Colburn
Maynard, the Lincolns’
spiritualist, to get information on his whereabouts. Not for any other
reason,” he emphasized sternly. “But during the very first visit, strange
things started happening to me. She went into trance and conjured up what
she believes is a spirit who’s been haunting me ever since, haunting me in
the hotel room, backstage at the theater, everywhere. I’ve had this
recurring dream where I’m in ancient times,
Rome or some old place like that,
everybody dressed in tunics, and they’re waiting for me so we can murder
somebody. And in real life, I’m constantly looking over my shoulder, feeling
someone behind me. It’s all very unnerving. Some days, I can barely get
through.” He paused for a sip.
Sam hunched forward, anticipating every word.
Booth went on, "I began to think there was something
to all the mumbo-jumbo. It even started to bother Alice. She feels cold drafts in
the room and sees things moving about like I do. It’s not just me going
loony. And now I’m convinced someone from the spirit world is after me to do
this deed to Lincoln, and
won’t leave me alone until I do."
This is John Wilkes Booth’s conversation with his
childhood friend Samuel Arnold.
Arnold, David E. Herold, Mary Surratt and a few other
handpicked friends and acquaintances were all responsible for several failed
attempts to kidnap President Abraham Lincoln. Most of their attempts
were foiled by actress Alice Grey. Gray was solicited by Senator John Parker
Hale to help protect the president by acting as a spy against Booth.
What neither of them expected was for her to fall in love with Booth and
even more unexpectedly was for Booth to fall in love with Gray. His
love for her was so great that he asked her to marry him.
With all attempts to kidnap
failing, the surrender of Lee and the ending of the war, Gray knew Booth
would give up his attempts allowing them to lead a normal life. But as
history proves, that was simply not to be.
I’ve always had a fondness for certain eras of history,
the 1800s being one. Reading the John Wilkes Booth story was like stepping
back into time for me. A lot of what I read, I know from reading the history
books to be declared as being true. I had read that Booth was an
actor, that he was at one time engaged to Lucy Hale, the daughter of Senator
Hale. Reading history books told me that Mrs. Lincoln was heavy into mediums
and spiritualists in hopes of contacting her two deceased sons. And I may
have even read somewhere that Booth kept a diary. So, the writing of A
Necessary End was a pleasure in reading for me. I’ve always said that if the
history novels written by John Jakes were to be made into history books,
kids would enjoy history and learn more. I feel the same way about A
Necessary End’s author Diana Rubino. She has made reading the history
of this event enjoyable.
Now I leave you with one question. Did John Wilkes
Booth really die in that burning Garrett tobacco barn or did he escape to
live a ripe old age?
Reviewed by: Lettetia
Another side to actor John Wilkes Booth is successfully captured by author Diana Rubino. His life as an actor, his belief that he is the reincarnation of Brutus, and the love of his life, Alice Grey; all are touched on in this fictional look at one of the most notorious villains in our nation’s history.
John Wilkes Booth is famous on the stage; he has presence and charm and sex appeal. Behind the fašade he shows the world is a very troubled man. Booth is obsessed with stopping President Lincoln and his influence on the country; by day he is a Confederate spy assisting his beloved Southern brothers in the fight to defeat the Union Army. You see, Booth believes he is the reincarnation of Brutus whose mission it was to slay Caesar; so Booth is to take down Lincoln just as Brutus slays Caesar. But there is also a love in Booth’s life; Alice Grey, a Northern actress who is torn between her mission to spy on Booth and love him as her heart desires.
A thought provoking read to be sure; A NECESSARY END made this reader think about Booth’s side of the story. Though he is an infamous villain in the history books, I was able to sympathize with the man and understand what drove him; to put a stop to the war any way he could so his Southern brothers could escape the hellholes of Northern prisons. Booth’s love for Alice is poignant; his struggles to overpower the “voices” of Brutus very aptly portrayed. Her endeavor to maintain focus as a protector of Lincoln and her love for this man is a emotional one.
* * *
Reviewed by: Frost
In September 1864, John Wilkes Booth, actor, pleads with President Abraham Lincoln to pardon his lifelong friend, John Beall. Many others, including Booth's future father-in-law, Senator Hale, have pleaded previously for Beall's amnesty, but Lincoln has demurred. Somehow, Booth sways the president's heart, and Lincoln agrees to the pardon; yet Beall is hanged on the prison compound of Governor's Island off the coast of Manhattan. Two months later, Booth seeks the attentions of Nettie Colburn Maynard, famed medium to the White House, to determine the path of the President's future. Still reeling from the sudden execution of his friend after the pardon had been assured, he doesn't receive the information he expected. Instead, the medium repeats the same statement a gypsy had declared over him in childhood: that a guiding spirit would appear to lead him to his true destiny. The gypsy fortune-teller had predicted a short life full of sorrow leading to a bad end, and such is to prove the case, for John Wilkes Booth is determined that if he cannot right the wrong of his friend's execution, he may at least avenge it. A Necessary End is an intriguing historical which aptly and vividly examines the meaning and background behind the history texts' version of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Delineating the assassin, John Wilkes Booth, in great detail both emotionally and mentally, author Diana Rubino skillfully weaves in elements of the paranormal as well, to round out the novel's appeal. History buffs and mystery fans alike will benefit from A Necessary End.
* * *
Reviewed by: Maura
Rating:: 3 Cups
Alice Grey is a famous actress and musician currently playing Cleopatra in Washington City. She is a strong supporter of the Union and an admirer of the famous actor John Wilkes Booth.
John Wilkes Booth is as devoted to the cause of the Confederacy as he is to his acting, both appeal to the drama in his soul. The death of a childhood friend spurs him to take an even more active role.
The events leading to the murder of President Abraham Lincoln are shrouded in mystery. John Wilkes Booth and his co-conspirators are assisted from the beyond in their task by someone well versed in revenge.
This is an extremely well written book with very vivid characters and good dialogue. The setting is particularly well done; I had no problem visualizing any of the places or people involved. The time period is that of great drama and intrigue and the many supporting characters are often strange in an interesting way. I did have a hard time wrapping my mind around Booth as the hero of the piece and the cursed coin seemed an excuse for the inexcusable, especially since he recklessly gave it away numerous times without thought to what would happen to the people who received it. The love scenes between Booth and Alice are well done also. I enjoyed the story for the most part, but prefer it when an author does not rewrite history this way.
* * *
Your stuff is so preposterous to me that I drove on to the end with a real vigor. It held my astonished interest. Never have I seen the story so twisted, so well. -- William Richter, Historian and Author
I have just had the pleasure of reading Diana Rubino's well researched historical novel, 'A Necessary End'. What surprised me most about this book is how much I enjoyed it and how invested I became in the characters she drew. For me, a die-hard skeptic and liberal northerner, this paranormal book about John Wilkes Booth starts with two strikes against it. But to continue the baseball analogy, Ms. Rubino has hit a home run.
Despite Booth's infamy, and having assassinated a beloved president, I found I had sympathy for the character because Diana Rubino showed us how Booth might have thought of himself--a hero--a good guy wanting only to support his cause and save the confederate soldiers from torture and dying of starvation in Union prisons.
His first inclination was to capture Lincoln and exchange him for the captured confederate soldiers, but after five or more failed attempts and the end of the war with the South humiliated, I can see how Booth viewed his fate and came to a necessary end. I no longer see Booth as the evil assassin, but as a troubled man living in troubled times.
The one quibble I have with this novel is that it's in electronic format only. I prefer my fiction to be printed, and hope Stardust Press will release this book at least as a paperback. I will be first in line to buy a printed copy.--Joan Szechtman, author WWW.JOANSZECHTMAN.COM
Rating: [5 of 5 Stars!]
In A Necessary End, Diana Rubino sets herself a big task, and she meets the challenge. She takes a genuine historical character, John Wilkes Booth – a man no American can feel indifferent about; a man whose action brought about results that are still with us more than 140 years later – and makes him (or her version of him) a living, believable human being. In doing so, she recreates the intense passions that still in some way inform and divide our nation just as the aftermath of the Big Bang is still evident in the way our Universe works itself out. Weaving into her story strands of the supernatural, the sensual and the frankly erotic while never losing sight of her aim – to offer an explanation (which you are free to take or leave alone) of Booth's motivation, she creates a wholly believable story that a lesser writer could only dream of achieving. For this reader, at any rate, A Necessary End was unputdownable. Highly recommended. -- Amanda Brown
Rating: [5 of 5 Stars!]
Ms. Rubino has woven quite a thought provoking take on one of history's most famous events. I was intrigued by the idea of telling the Lincoln assassination story from John Wilkes Booth's point of view with an added paranormal twist. I wasn't disappointed in the result. Congrats on a job well done! -- Eve Desmarais Rating: [4 of 5 Stars!]
THE UNIVERSE WORKS IN STRANGE WAYS!
I received this letter from a new StarDust author:
Thank you so much for the warm welcome. And I owe you much more thanks than that.
Just before I first saw your letter in FF&P listserve, I’d signed up for Second Life, an online role-playing society. They let you choose your first name and they choose your last name. I ended up being Arianna Stardust.
I’d decided to submit to the e-publishers, and was submitting to several when I saw your letter announcing your sale to SD. Of course, it was the STARDUST that snagged my attention. I submitted, and here I am, in line for publication.
I have you to thank.
THANK YOU, Diana, from the top and bottom of my heart.
If ever I can do anything for you, send me a letter. It’s done.
Michele Hart, www.iloveshapeshifters.com