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#1 New York Times bestselling author Brad Meltzer returns with a pulse-pounding new novel of lies and deception at the highest levels of government.
There are stories no one knows. Hidden stories. I love those stories. And since I work in the National Archives, I find those stories for a living.
So says Beecher White, a young archivist who spends his days working with the most important documents of the U.S. government. When Clementine Kaye, his first childhood crush, shows up at the Archives asking for his help tracking down her long-lost father, Beecher tries to impress her by showing her the secret vault where the President of the United States privately reviews classified documents. It is also where Beecher and Clementine accidentally happen upon a priceless artifact-a 200-year-old dictionary that once belonged to George Washington-hidden inside a desk chair. Eager to discover why the President is hiding this important national treasure, the two soon find themselves entangled in a web of deception, conspiracy, and murder that will reveal the most well kept secret of the U.S. Presidency.
A fascinating look at the hidden treasures of the National Archives is the one strength of this otherwise unsatisfying thriller. Archivist Beecher White, to impress childhood crush Clementine Kaye during a tour of the archives, shows her the "Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility" reserved for President Orson Wallace, who often visits the SCIF. The accidental discovery of a rare volume linked to George Washington starts White on a perilous journey involving the Culper Ring, a secret spy group reaching back to the nation's first president; Nico Hadrian, a failed presidential assassin confined in a mental institution; and a presidential secret entrusted only to a few of Wallace's closest friends. Kaye's ambiguous re-entry into White's life adds another challenge. Bestseller Meltzer (The Book of Lies) fails to dial up much suspense with too many sketchy characters and a plot that never lives up to its promise, but the December 2 debut of his History Channel show, Brad Meltzer's Decoded, is sure to win him new fans. (Jan.)