The Culper Ring Series
Brad Meltzer brings back Beecher White, a member of the staff working at the National Archives in Washington. His function there is the safekeeping of important documents, as well as on occasion, secrets important to the nation. He is also secretly a member of the Culper Ring, agroup founded by George Washington.
The Ring’s mission is to protect the presidency, both the incumbent and the institution. The current President calls for the Culper Ring’s help when not one, but two severed arms are found on the grounds of the White House. Each arm is holding something, clearly not meant for the President but for Beecher himself.
The questions of how did the person bringing the arms get past White House security, what do the messages mean and why deliver them there when they were meant for Beecher, and not the President. The answers are found after an investigation that goes back to a period three decades earlier when Beecher’s father, then in the army, was stationed on an island off the coast of Key West, Florida. It is the island that political prisoners were held on, and in particular, Dr. Samuel Mudd.
Mudd was implicated in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and sentenced to life in prison on the Island. He was later pardoned when he fought a disease which hit the island and credited with saving many lives.
What the secret is, and why is it brought to life today comprises the theme of the book. Meltzer creates a very taut plot revolving around the answers to the questions about the severed arms.<
There is no need to have read the previous novels involving the Culper Ring since references to these are sufficient to understand the current situation, so this book can stand alone and be enjoyed by the reader.
6/14 Paul Lane
THE PRESIDENT'S SHADOW by Brad Meltzer. Grand Central Publishing (June 16, 2015). ISBN: 978-0446553933. 416p.