The Book of Fate by Brad Meltzer

The Book of Fate by Brad Meltzer

Reviewed by L.D.Y.

Hardcover (available in mass market May 2007), 510 pages, 2006

Rating: 10/10

Reason for Reading: I own The Zero Game but haven’t read it yet, so on to my usual bad habit of reading newer books first.

Synopsis: Wes Holloway was a presidential aide ready to take over the world until a would-be presidential assassin destroyed his face with a bullet and took out Ron Boyle, one of the president’s oldest friends. It’s now eight years later, and Boyle seems to be alive and a massive conspiracy underway, but unless Holloway can figure out who’s being targeted and what exactly is being covered up, he’s just a disposable pawn who might be in the way of the most powerful government in the world…

Why you should read this book: I confess that a ‘political thriller’ sounded like an oxymoron, but wow, am I glad I gave Meltzer a go anyway, because I simply could not stop reading. Not only is there the modern day conspiracy, but Nico, the man who tried to shoot the president and is now in a mental institution, seems to be on to one of the government’s oldest secrets, which adds another layer of ‘is he crazy, or actually onto the truth?’ to the already thick plot. There’s action, suspense, a little love-intrigue, and let’s face it, things are simply a lot more exciting when the underdog is facing off against top (and top secret) government agencies. Wes Holloway does a great job carrying the story along, dealing with his stunted ambitions and using his ability to read the smallest tip-offs from people to his advantage as he struggles to unlock the mysteries that surround him and threaten his life. Puzzles, shootings, conspiracies – Dan Brown wishes something as wonderful and smart as The Book of Fate came out of his pen when he sat down to write The Da Vinci Code – a thrilling must-read.

Why you should avoid this book: While it sounds like you’d need to have every ounce of concentration focused on The Book of Fate to be able to keep track of what’s going on, Meltzer’s writing is skillful and won’t have you flipping back to try and remember what happened 200 pages ago. Really, there’s just so little to complain about with this book that the only reason you’d have for avoiding it is that you simply don’t read the genres, and even that might not be a good enough excuse.

Opening paragraph:

Six minutes from now, one of us would be dead. That was our fate. None of us knew it was coming.

Fabulous quotes:

Throughout St. Elizabeths, they called Nico an NGI. He wasn’t the only one. There were thirty-seven in total, all of them living in the John Howard Pavilion, a red brick, five-story building that was home to Nico and the other thirty-six patients not guilty by reason of insanity.
Compared to the other wards, the NGI floors were always quieter than the rest. As Nico heard one doctor say, ‘When there’re voices in your head, there’s no need to talk to anyone else.’

I try to break free, but we’re moving too fast. ‘If you don’t tell me where the hell we’re going, I’ll personally make sure you’re – ‘
‘Here,’ Yellow Tie says, stopping at the first door on my right. A red and white sign reads Storage Only. He reaches the door with his free hand, revealing a room that’s bigger than my office. With one final shove, he lets go of my collar and flings me inside like the evening’s trash.
My shoes slide against the floor as I fight for balance, but it’s not until I spot two other sets of black shiny shoes that I realize I’m not alone.

Also recommended: The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly; Watch Your Back! by Donald E Westlake; The Narrows by Michael Connelly.

Also by this author: The Tenth Justice; Dead Even; The First Counsel; The Millionaires; The Zero Game.

Author’s website:

Fun tidbit: Along with politics and law, Meltzer has a thing for comic books.

Would I read more by this author? I need to pull out my copy of The Zero Game sometime soon.

© Lisa Yanaky 2003-2007

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