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A grandiose conspiracy linking four previous presidential assassinations threatens current U.S. president Orson Wallace in bestseller Meltzer's convoluted second entry in his Culper Ring trilogy (after 2011's The Inner Circle). Archivist Beecher White, a member of the small, secretive group known as the Culper Ring, created by George Washington and charged with protecting the presidency rather than the president, goes into action after someone known as the Knight begins re-enacting previous presidential assassinations with church figures as victims. Several people from Beecher's past play key roles, including disfigured Marshall Lusk, who may or may not be the assassin, and Clementine Hadrian, who shot and killed Dr. Stewart Palmiotti, the president's close friend and adviser. Beecher tries desperately to discover the Knight's identity and thwart him before he reaches his final target. The cumbersome plot, with its frequent flashbacks to Beecher's childhood, overwhelms Meltzer's impressive grasp of historical details. 10-city author tour. Agent: Jill Kneerim, Kneerim, Williams & Bloom. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
National archivist Beecher White (The Inner Circle, 2011) returns in another heart-pounding thriller set in Washington, D.C. As if he were spinning plates, Meltzer balances almost too many characters' stories simultaneously: the evil president who is about to be assassinated; the elusive first love, Clementine, and her insane father, Nico; and Marshall, suspected killer and Beecher's wounded childhood friend. Also in the mix are four seemingly random murders modeled on presidential assassinations and a secret spy ring initiated by George Washington. Beecher narrates sections of the story as he races from crime scenes to hospitals and even to Camp David, setting a frantic pace that will leave readers breathless and tense. Interlaced with Beecher's narration are short snippets in an omniscient voice that matter-of-factly yet chillingly describes the killer, who calls himself the Knight and wears a white plastic mask. As the story nears its climax (Will there be a fifth presidential assassination?), we are still guessing about the Knight's identity and his bizarre motives. This roller-coaster car should come with a seatbelt!--Baker, Jen Copyright 2010 Booklist