“The President’s Shadow”

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Usually, when authors write novels using the same characters or write a new book in a series, they include hints, clues, or totally retelling of plot lines that were previously developed.  “The President’s Shadow” is Brad Meltzer’s third book in his Culper series.  However, unless readers have read the two previous novels, they will be totally confused about characters, and the plot.

Beecher White works at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.  His mentor Aristotle “Tot” Westman lies in a coma at a D.C. hospital.  Beecher visits him every day hoping that he will regain consciousness.  Meltzer never explains how Tot suffered a gun-shot wound that caused the coma.  That, I am assuming, was explained in the second book.

White is not the only person who is concerned about Westman’s condition.  Someone else is monitoring his health status.  All of this intrigue revolves around the fact that Westman is the head of the Culper Ring.  The Culper Ring really did exist.  It was a secret society created by George Washington during the American Revolution.  After the death of Nathan Hale, Washington felt that in order for us to win the war and protect his men against the British, secrecy/spying was necessary.  Meltzer revives this organization which is tasked with protecting the Presidency.

White is seeking information as to the circumstances around the death of his father while he was serving in the army.  The files he needs are now in the hands of the President.  It seems President Wallace and Beecher have crossed paths before.  See previous books.

Beecher’s investigation leads him to a remote island in the Caribbean. There with the help of a mentally ill former friend of his father’s, the man’s dying daughter, Clementine, an old childhood friend, Marshall, and assorted bad guys he learns the truth of his father’s military service.

Readers beware.  It is obvious that you must read the previous two books in this series to understand and enjoy “The President’s Shadow.”

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