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Terrific historical context that merges with a breath-taking thrill ride!,
This review is from: The Fifth Assassin (Hardcover)What if all four of the U.S. Presidents who were assassinated while in office was actually part of some sinister conspiracy --- a plot that has existed for nearly 150 years?
This is the amazing premise of Brad Meltzer's latest novel --- THE FIFTH ASSASSIN. What makes this brilliantly conceived novel jump out of the readers hands is the fact that the action within is even more exciting than the premise it is built on.
The assassins in question - John Wilkes Booth, Charles Guiteau, Leon Czolgoz and Lee Harvey Oswald successfully assassinated President Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley and Kennedy. What if these four assassins were all part of a secret cabal? The group goes by the moniker The Knights of the Golden Circle. These Knights believe themselves to be serving a higher power and the latest incarnation of this group is on a mission to make the fifth Presidential assassination a reality.
The protagonist is the delightfully interesting Beecher White. Beecher himself is a member of a group with a long-standing history --- the Culper Ring. However, the Culper members stand for good and Beecher's mentor in the group, Tot, believes the idea of the current threat against the President coming from the Knights to be farfetched as he personally saw the last of the Knights vanquished decades earlier.
The Culper Ring was initially introduced in Meltzer's last novel, THE INNER CIRCLE. During the course of the action in that novel the Culper Ring made themselves a dangerous enemy --- the current POTUS, President Wallace. As revealed in the last novel, the Culper Ring originated during the Revolutionary War under the guidance of then General George Washington. Now, archivists Beecher and Tot along with a handful of other patriots comprise the current membership.
A series of religious figures are attacked in the Washington D.C. area. What makes the attacks most unique is that each one takes on the characteristics of the four Presidential assassinations --- right down to the literal calling card left at each crime scene. The Knight is the assassin in question and his holy mission will not end until President Wallace is dead.
To battle the Knight and whatever group is behind him will require Beecher and company to partner with some dangerous people --- including a childhood friend of Beecher's named Marshall. Marshall is badly disfigured from a fire that occurred years earlier and is also somewhat mentally unbalanced by his mother's suicide when he was a young boy. He now works in the service of the President --- but Beecher is not completely convinced of Marshall's loyalty. Beecher also has a sneaky suspicion his old friend could be the Knight himself.
THE FIFTH ASSASSIN is brimming with intrigue and U.S. history at every turn. Like his highly successful television series found on the History Channel - `Brad Meltzer Decoded' - learning was never so much fun! This novel is the result of four years of painstaking research that was briefly touched upon during an episode of Decoded. Meltzer even gives thanks to former U.S. President George W. Bush for providing access to government archives pertaining to the four Presidential assassinations. This is a novel that thrills and informs while possessing a clever plot that will keep the most astute reader guessing right up to the stunning climax.
Reviewed by Ray Palen for New Mystery Reader
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 17, 2013 11:38:06 AM PST
Jane Austen Fan from VA says:
Would you recommend that I read the "Inner Circle" first? I heard him on the radio this morning and the book sounded interesting but don't want to be totally lost. thank you, terri
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 17, 2013 12:11:36 PM PST
Ray J. Palen Jr. says:
Terri --- I think you can still enjoy this novel on its' own --- but should really read Inner Circle first as the story-lines are intertwined. Ray
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 17, 2013 3:40:31 PM PST
Jane Austen Fan from VA says:
Ray, Thank you! I will download "Inner Circle" and read it before I get the next book.
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