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Publisher's Summary

On Secret Service is the story of a war within a war on various levels: the North versus the South, the Union's Pinkerton Detective Agency versus the Confederacy's agent provocateurs, and youthful idealism versus youthful lust. It chronicles the lives and times of four young Americans, from the war's early tremors in January 1861 through its bloody conclusion: Lincoln's assassination and John Wilkes Booth's murder in May 1865.
©2000 John Jakes; (P)2000 Books on Tape

Critic Reviews

"Jakes combines encyclopedic command of historical fact with unmatched storytelling. Carefully researched and filled with colorful characters who move in an authentic Washington atmosphere." (Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    38
  • 4 Stars
    24
  • 3 Stars
    14
  • 2 Stars
    7
  • 1 Stars
    6

Performance

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    21
  • 4 Stars
    14
  • 3 Stars
    7
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    6

Story

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    25
  • 4 Stars
    15
  • 3 Stars
    5
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    4
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  • Overall

Great Deal!!

This is a great price for a very good historically based novel. Mr. Kramer does an outstanding job with the diverse accents that he must portray. This is first and formost a novel. However, when factual characters are portrayed the author has done his homework. As far as the novel on it's merits alone I would have given it a 4, but the price pushes it up to a 5+. I felt the author could have given us better background and character developement on the primary players in the story.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Paul
  • Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
  • 07-21-07

Great Listening...

The role of Pinkertons and spying - sounds like a dry subject - but not when dealt with by John Jakes. This is an exciting book, and once you start to listen, you will have a hard time hitting the "stop" button.

This is an excellent audio book and I highly recommend it.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Lacking

Although somewhat enjoyable, I had to keep checking to see that this book was not abridged. It left out so much in the way of setting, character development, and emotion that it read like an abridged novel. The characters are more like characatures of people of the times, with little depth. The reader was also lacking in depth. Some of his character adaptations were quite good. But most of his sentences ended on an upward note, lacking proper intonation. I don't think I'll be ordering any more books by this reader or author.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Nathan
  • Bayfield, CO, United States
  • 11-26-07

Good

I am a huge fan of historical fiction books in general, so I had high hopes for this book. It was ok, but I did not care for the harder edge of this book. If this were a movie it would be PG-13 or R. Some of the stuff was really un called for and added little to nothing to the plot depth. I liked learning about all the back story behind the history and if I had this purchase to make over again, I would probably still get it, but just be quicker on the FF button.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Very good read

What did you love best about On Secret Service?

I enjoyed all the twists to the story but still keeping real life history intertwined.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Not sure which agent I enjoyed best. My least is Pinkerton though.

Have you listened to any of Michael Kramer’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I enjoy the readers voice, nice and smooth, enjoyable to listen to for long periods.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Possibly

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Another fine piece of historical fiction

What made the experience of listening to On Secret Service the most enjoyable?

The narration. Mr. Kramer, I believe the name is, is great with accents, Southern ones especially.

What was one of the most memorable moments of On Secret Service?

Lon being caught in the draft riots.

Which character – as performed by Michael Kramer – was your favorite?

Everyone, Lon in particular.

If you could take any character from On Secret Service out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Margaret, to get her views on various issues.

Any additional comments?

A must-have for civil war fans, and fans of historical fiction.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Find a copy with a different reader

Performance ruined my enjoyment of this book. However the story is worth reading. Just find a copy that uses a different performer or read it yourself!