0307700674, 9780307700674 (hardback)
"The novel opens in 1832 in the Black Hawk War, when Micajah (Cage) Weatherby--an imaginary character--and Lincoln meet. Afterwards Cage musters out to Springfield, Illinois, where he becomes part of the group of ambitious young men, which includes Lincoln, in this frontier town on the make. And it is through Cage that we come to know his friend Lincoln in his twenties and early thirties, the Lincoln who is already a circuit-riding lawyer and a member of the state legislature, filled with an almost ungovernable ambition. But to Cage and to others with big dreams in this group--which includes Joshua Speed, Billy Herndon, Ninian Edwards, Stephen Douglas, Jim Reed--he is also a beloved, hypnotic figure, physically powerful, by turns charmingly awkward and mesmerizingly self-possesed, and a supremely gifted story teller, a man of whom they expect big things. Cage, a poet, both admires and clashes with Lincoln, as Lincoln's legal ethics allow him to take a murderer's case, or clients on both sides of the slavery issue. And Cage, himself engaged in a long affair with an independent young widow, charts Lincoln's never easy path, from his high spirits and earthy jokes to his soul-hollowing sadness and bouts with the hypo (depression), from his disastrous courtship of another Mary to finally marriage with beautiful, capricious, politically savvy, Mary Todd, who at the close of the novel in 1847 has presented him one son and some stability, although it leads to conflict with Cage, and sends the two men on very different paths into the future"--,Provided by publisher.