Book - The President's Shadow

Presidents shadow

The Culper Ring Trilogy comes full circle as Steve Taylor-Bryant reads The President's Shadow by Brad Meltzer...

A severed arm, found buried in the White House Rose Garden.

A lethal message with terrible consequences for the Presidency.
And a hidden secret in one family's past that will have repercussions for the entire nation.

There are stories no one knows. Hidden stories. I find those stories for a living.

To most, it looks like Beecher White has an ordinary job. A young staffer with the National Archives in Washington, D.C., he's responsible for safekeeping the government's most important documents ... and, sometimes, its most closely held secrets.

But there are a powerful few who know his other role. Beecher is a member of the Culper Ring, a 200-year-old secret society founded by George Washington and charged with protecting the Presidency. Now the current occupant of the White House needs the Culper Ring's help. The alarming discovery of the buried arm has the President's team in a rightful panic. Who buried the arm? How did they get past White House security? And most important: What's the message hidden in the arm's closed fist? Indeed, the puzzle inside has a clear intended recipient, and it isn't the President. It's Beecher, himself.

Beecher's investigation will take him back to one of our country's greatest secrets and point him toward the long, carefully hidden truth about the most shocking history of all: family history.


Considering I spent most of 2015 bemoaning the familiar and similar in my onscreen entertainment and asking where the original ideas have all gone it might seem strange to start this review with this statement - it's so nice to be back in familiar surroundings.

Sequels rarely work in the screen world, either the director changes, the budget has an effect, or casting is different but. in the book world, when done well, they are an incredible thing to behold and Brad Meltzer once again shows he's one of the best out there with the third Culper Ring instalment. There is something quite addictive in a Meltzer book, I can't quite put my finger on what, but I cannot put a book down once I start one. Rarely do I read a book in one sitting, as you can imagine the time constraints on modern life don't allow such things, but I lost a day, a whole complete day, reading The President's Shadow.

Meltzer has already built the characters, and they are superb reading, in the previous books but he seems to build more layers onto them within this novel and the past mystery of their fathers' lives intertwined with their own adds a depth to the narrative that excites as you turn every page. Those who don't read Meltzer but know him from his television shows are already familiar with his grasp of history, especially American political history, and the book is spattered with interesting and quirky facts and scenarios you just don't get anywhere else. Whether it be the interior of Beecher's beloved National Archives or a tiny pin worn by the Secret Service, every item or moment has its place and its essential link to the story.

I'm quite the fan of Meltzer and have been for many years so maybe you might take my comments with a pinch of salt but there is a reason millions of us lap up every release so voraciously, there is a reason Meltzer can grip and educate at the same time, he's just a phenomenal storyteller. Don't take my word for it though, find your own way in his work. The President's Shadow works as a standalone so start here, although you will end up going back to the beginning eventually so if you want the Culper Ring in order begin with The Inner Circle, then The Fifth Assasin, and follow it all up with this wonderful third chapter.

Image - Amazon.

Synopsis - Official website.