The Book of Fate
by Brad Meltzer
23 year-old Presidential Aide Wes Holloway gets shot in the face during an attempted presidental assasination, and President Manning’s best friend Ron Boyle gets killed. Eight years later — after the President has left office and is touring the speaking circuit with Wes still in tow — Wes spots Ron Boyle, very much alive, backstage in the president’s green room at a Malaysian engagement. And suddenly Wes has a chance to find out what really happened on the day that bullets destroyed his face and wrecked his nerve. Delving deep in the records from the Presidential Library, Wes finds a mystery to unravel involving the intelligence community that protects them and a 200-year-old plot involving the Freemasons, and discovers his lost backbone at the same time.
The Book of Fate is a thick tome that shows off a knowledge of inside-the-beltway and behind-the-scenes politics, but the pacing is rather slow, and there are times when I didn’t have a clear picture of some of the characters. The main character Wes is a bit of a wilting lily, which can be frustrating at times. And the deference and subservience that’s directed at the office of the president — I’m sorry, but I never bought into that on the West Wing, either. Here it rings really false, considering that the President doesn’t appear to be a man of character from the start. The Masonic connection is a not-very-convincing red herring and a bit of an annoyance; it seems like a desperate attempt to cash in on the Da Vinci Code zeitgeist.
Despite all my criticism above, I didn’t feel like the book offended or bored me and I certainly breezed through it pretty quickly. The book is recently published and is making it’s way up the bestseller charts, with good reviews. There are waiting lists at the local library here, so I hurried through it so I could return it in a decent amount of time. But it isn’t a book I’d make part of my permanent collection.
On the other hand, I read some raving reviews of:
Special Topics in Calamity Physics
by Marisha Pessl
So I checked this out from the library, and I’m two chapters in. Let me add to the exclamations: Wow. Unless the book complete screws itself in the remainder, this book will definitely get purchased for my permanent collection. I’m looking forward to writing a real review of this.