The Book of Fate (Brad Meltzer)

Maybe a half dozen novels make their way into my stack each year. While I’m mostly NF, I still enjoy a good story now and then. It’s good to explore an imaginary world for a while, compare it to the real one, or just get caught up in the tale. I hope you, dear reader, don’t mind my occasional foray into fiction.

The cover art and advertising for The Book of Fate [LibraryThing / WorldCat], Brad Meltzer’s latest novel, gives the impression that, like The Da Vinci Code [LibraryThing / WorldCat], The Rule of Four [LibraryThing / WorldCat], and The Secret Supper [LibraryThing / WorldCat], it’s a murder mystery whose answer lies deep in some centuries-old secret society. Meltzer dips into the history of the Freemasons a bit, but his book is really a modern conspiracy novel, plain and simple.

Wes Holloway, an ambitious young presidential aide, is struck in the face by a bullet during an assassination attempt in the first chapter. The president survives, but deputy chief of staff Ron Boyle is killed.

Fast foward eight years… A scarred and less career-minded Holloway is still working for the (now former) president when he catches a glimpse of Boyle in Malaysia. If that was Boyle, Holloway wonders, then what really happened eight years ago?

Digging for clues in the assassination videotape, and accepting the help of a female gossip columnist who dreams of becoming a Woodward or Bernstein, Holloway starts to unravel the truth. That prompts some people in powerful government positions to start watching his every move. Oh… almost forgot. The crazed assassin gets loose again, too.

The book was more suspenseful and enjoyable than expected. It had all the hints of being a Da Vinci Code rip-off, but the secret society stuff was kept to a minimum and the story stayed primarily in the present. The believable characters acted out of their own self-interest with no ancient brotherhood to protect.

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