The Book of Fate

by Brad Meltzer

Paper Book, 2006




Grand Central Publishing (2006), 528 pages


"A two-hundred-year-old code devised by Thomas Jefferson becomes the key to a present-day conspiracy at the highest levels of Washington and the power elite of Palm Beach"--Provided by the publisher.

Original publication date




0739474138 / 9780739474136


(404 ratings; 3.3)

User reviews

LibraryThing member ktptcruisin
I first thought this book was going to be sort of Dan Brown meets political thriller. But alas I was a bit disappointed. Don't get me wrong this is a good, well researched novel. And like Meltzer's other books I really wanted to like it more, and be able to reave about it but at the end of the day
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its just an okay to good book.
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LibraryThing member MSWallack
I read this book thinking that it would be one thing and it turned out to be another thing entirely. I remember hearing an interview on NPR with the author shortly after the book was published and thinking that it sounded fun. If I recall, either from reading the back cover or from the interview, I
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thought that the story would be a bit Da Vinci Code-ish but dealing with Freemasons in Washington. While there is a bit of this thrown into the story, it turns out to be limited to one, insane character and has nothing whatosoever to do with the plot (not even a real McGuffin for the story). Instead, the story is a fairly pedestrian mystery/thriller that simply never grabbed my attention. Too many times while reading the book I wanted to reach out and shake the protagonist, maybe even slap him around, and tell him to either stop doing stupid things or to start thinking!

I've heard good things about Brad Meltzer (this is the first of his books that I've read), but The Book of Fate does not make me want to run out and read another of his books anytime soon.
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LibraryThing member PermaSwooned
I was disappointed in this book. It sets up a suspenseful situation, but the resolution really fails to live up to the beginning. He throws in very unlikely events. He picks villians seemingly at random, hoping to pick the least likely person, it seems. The allusions to sinister doings by the Free
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Masons dating back centuries is never really developed at all. Would not recommend.
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LibraryThing member paulas98
Couldn't put down, but the ending was stupid.
LibraryThing member richard02px2014
In the Book of Fate by Brad Meltzer, the author is very talented in making the plot suspenseful. Every time I stopped reading the book, I wanted to pick it up again right away. In fact, in one of the reviews of the book, it says the author is “the best thriller writer working today”.
My older
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brother recommended this book for me because he thought I would like it. The plot is very interesting and complex. The main character’s name is Wes Holloway, a presidential aide to the current president. On a day at the racetrack, someone attempts to murder the president but instead misses and shoots the president’s oldest friend. That person, Ron Boyle, dies at the track. However, eight years later, Wes sees Boyle at a speech in Malaysia. Wes works with his colleague and lawyer to try to figure out what happens. Right now in the book it’s at a really exciting part where Wes just finds out one of the people he’s working with is actually on the other side! His two other friends have just found out information about The Three. The Three are three people from the CIA, FBI, and Secret Service combined, making a very powerful team. Right now they think The Three are responsible for the attempted murder of Boyle.
In the book, the President’s name is Leland Manning. In every book I’ve read, they never use the current president’s name. They used previous president’s names though, I always wonder why.
Another interesting thing about the book is it switches perspectives every chapter. The first chapter was from Wes’s point of view, or first person, and the second is third person. Since there are lots of characters at different places in the book, third person switches from place to place. I personally like to read from Wes’s perspective the most because what he does is most exciting and important.
I would definitely recommend this book to a reader who liked suspense.
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LibraryThing member marybeth494
Dick Francis says you need to think about people wandering through airport bookshops when you're an author. They don't have a lot of time or patience to decide which book to buy so you have to capture them on the first page. Brad Meltzer snagged my attention with his opening sentence ... Six
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minutes from now, one of us would be dead. Eight years ago, someone opened fire on the President of the United States' limousine, killing one of his oldest friends and disfiguring his aide. Was the shooter aiming for the President, or was someone else the target? And why, eight years later, is the dead man alive and showing up near the now ex-President? As told through the voice of the aide, Wes, this book had the potential to be a real page turner.

The blurb on the back references buried secrets in freemason history, two hundred year old codes, and decade old puzzles, which made me think of The Davinci Code by Dan Brown. I couldn't put that book down the first time I read it. Every time I thought about taking a break, something else happened and I wound up reading it through in one sitting. While The Book of Fate had periods where I got completely caught up in the action and the story line, the momentum didn't carry for the entire book. I would be speeding along the back streets of Palm Beach with the characters, when Meltzer shifted gears and the story ground to a slow crawl. Then the lunatic escaped the asylum and we were back up to speed only to slow down again in the next chapter.

The premise was intriguing and the characters were good - ones that I'd be interested in seeing again. I'm a little disappointed in the book, though, because there was the potential of being so much more.
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LibraryThing member selwa
This book is like cotton candy...enjoyable, but with little substance. The action and suspence kept me reading, and it's a better book than the Da Vinci Code. But it's not quite literature either. Great for commuting or the beach.
LibraryThing member alibraryfan
If you desire a quick read, this book will fulfill your wants. Though over 500 pages, the story lacks significant character development and moves forward nicely with rapid dialogue and several action sequences. For this reason, it lends itself to fast consumption. One element of the narrative,
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however, seemed over exaggerated, and at times, out of place. The focus on Freemasons, which the reader expects to play a central role in the climax, quickly fades after the middle part of the book. Overall, an enjoyable and simple read.
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LibraryThing member ConnieJackson
This story was another okay read from Brad Meltzer. From the description on the cover I thought I was going to read a story about Masons, codes and the book would be a thrill to read. The Masonic plot never really developed and the ancient codes was a big let down. I suppose this book was marketed
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to perk up all the readers that enjoyed Dan Brown's "The DaVinci Code" and they would step up and buy this book. The marketing ploy worked on me, because I bought it. In summary, its not a terrible read, but with a little more time spent on developing the story by the author, the book could have been a great read.
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LibraryThing member oldbookswine
A wonderful mix of politics, mystery, and intrigue as Wes, a presidental aid finds that reality is not what he believed. Even when it has disfigured him in the process. Wes, a gossip reporter and old friends trace clues left on a cross-word puzzle to bring the book to conclusion the reader will not
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LibraryThing member edecklund
Nice characterization. The crossword puzzle doodle code a bit difficult in the audio version but easy to skip over. A big reach to infer a Masonic uber plan. Many other plots and subplots to satisfy.
LibraryThing member dbree007
I really liked this book, really interesting character as presidential assistant Wes and political intrigue. Good writing. I want to read his others now
LibraryThing member bcquinnsmom
I beg to differ with some of the people on Amazon who totally panned this book. I have a feeling that they were looking for another DaVinci Code type story which they're not going to find here. Okay...I can understand why this might be because of the cover, with its tantalizing promise of a Masonic
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conspiracy, because, frankly, that's what I thought I was getting as well. I love that kind of know, the ancient secrets of a brotherhood type novel. But it was not to be. However, I don't think that people should diss the novel because it wasn't what was promised by cover art. This is a political thriller, through and through. If you enjoy a good political thriller with a couple of puzzles to solve along the way, you will enjoy this one. Do NOT be put off by the reviews. It was fun. Not great literature, not a book destined to stay on the bestseller lists forever, but just fun, intriguing and an all-in-all decent read.

So here's a brief look, with no spoilers:
As the story opens, the country is under the leadership of president Leland Manning. His aide, Wes Holloway, is about to accompany him and his entourage to the Daytona Beach speedway, where the president is going to make a surprise visit, with his limo driving right up onto the tracks. Bad route choice. As the group leaves the car, there is an assassination attempt on the president, but it is Wes and another man, Boyle, who take the hits. Wes is badly wounded in the face and Boyle dies.

Eight years later, while now former president Manning is in Malaysia, Wes goes to the president's suite and interrupts what he thinks is a burglary. He gets a look at the intruder and realizes it's someone who it can't possibly be. This one episode leads Wes and his closest friends, along with a gossip columnist for a Palm Beach newspaper, to begin an investigation that will uncover secrets that a lot of people don't want to be revealed.

It's fun, fast-paced and truly a page turner. Try it, and don't listen to the detractors.
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LibraryThing member beccam2
I tried to like this book, but I failed. In fact I disliked it intensely. Mr. Meltzer is known for his books on political intrigue. While I have some serious issues with his extravagant use of adjectives and adverbs, I often enjoyed his books.However this one was beyond imagination. Even if there
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had been a plot- you would have forgotten what was going on by the time you finished reading all the descriptions of the most minute details. I rarely say this , authors are entitled to off books, but this was so bad, I will simply not ever buy another Meltzer book.
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LibraryThing member camarie
This book is so fascinating. I have to admit, it wasn't thought-provoking, but great nonetheless. A presidential aide blames himself for the murder of a friend, yet little did he know that the whole situation was a conspiracy and years later his friend is found alive. I won't spoil the mystery, but
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the plot gets a lot thicker before anything is resolved.
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LibraryThing member Ross.Farnsworth
I liked this book, if was a fun quick read. Now, If you are looking for stuff about Freemason there are other books that are more interesting. The square and compass on the cover is about as much masonic mystery as you are going to get. There is some general history about some famous people that
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were know to be free masons and there is some of the normal conspreciy theary stuff that you hear spouted on the internet about free masons but there is very little in this book that has to do with masonry.
This book is about high level government conspiracy that have to do with politics and influences. The beginning is the best part of the book and I enjoyed some of the early character development but the book ends in the typical way of a thriller with out allot of surprises.

So I found it enjoyable, but I don't think it will make my personal top 100 books.

Also, if your a free mason there is not really anything that is negative about the craft in this book. If anything, it shows how people will manipulate others it to believing untruths for their own gain.
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LibraryThing member Djupstrom
While I think that some of the plot "twists" were obvious, I very much enjoyed this book. It is a combination of action, suspense, and conspiracy. I will read more of Brad Meltzer.
LibraryThing member vegaheim
presidential aide, assasination, somebody dies but didn't really and pres knew about it. conspiracy great
LibraryThing member mcal
The beginning to first half I found very slow though picked up near the end. I would have enjoyed it a bit more if the last one or two chapters were left off... and it probably would have been a bit more or a mystery.

While the jacket claimed to have references to a secret society dating back to
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Jefferson, this didn't really appear until the last third of the book. When it did, unlike The Davinci Code, it was sparse and didn't delve much into the historical perspectives. The codes used in The Book of Fate were merely duplications reused.

Other linkings to Masons and architectural planning of Washington DC seemed to take the reader on a wild goose hunt that I didn't feel added anything to the end story.

While I couldn't stand it in the beginning and would have given it a 2 star rating, by the end I was up to a 3.5 or 4. All in all, the book was ok....but probably would have been better if the first third was chopped off.
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LibraryThing member mjayne
Starts slow, but about 1/3 in I couldn't put it down. Written in a style similar to Davici Code (changes P.O.V. by chapters and you never know who to trust). Good overall!
LibraryThing member terk71
This conspiracy thriller may never be fated for any movie treatment. There are several mysterious characters, power-mad intriguers, and complicated plot twists too intricate for any producer to accurately capture the mood of this novel. But not to worry.

The material contained in this novel may seem
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extremely familiar, especially if the reader has viewed any “Brad Meltzer’s Decoded” series that has been featured on the History Channel. Seminal ideas supporting the TV series are used throughout this work. Freemasons are exposed in “The White House,” “Statue of Liberty,” and “Secret Societies” segments and federal government agencies’ finagling are traced in “D.B. Cooper,” while the underpinnings for this book’s plot involve “Secret Presidential Codes.” Add to this complexity the psychotic visions of an assassin guided by some mystic Book of Fate (“2012”) and the novel is complete without being fatalistic.

The plot essentially follows Wes Holloway, a Presidential aide who is wounded during a very public assassination attempt by a deranged sniper manipulated by a cabal. Within a decade of his survival, Holloway encounters the supposedly accidentally murdered President’s friend and, with the help of a clever roommate and a newspaper gossip columnist, he plunges into globe-trotting searches for the phantom only to be pursued by and finally exposing the disguised forces at play.

The action, of course, unwinds through four or five various threads, each interlaced with thrust-and-parry exploits contained in these short 117 chapters. There are nice touches of humor to keep reader’s interest, even if some of the characters aren’t that attractive or if the numerous technical explanations bog down.

Unfortunately for today’s readers, some of the technological aspects and instruments employed in the book do show their gray whiskers. That’s the fate of a story using six-year-old technology. Current readers might wonder why no viral videos, personal blogs, phone cameras, or smartphone texting aren’t used. For those techies, consider this work a period piece—or view “Decoded” for any upgrades.
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LibraryThing member Jarratt
This was a hot mess. Meltzer tries to write a Dan Brown-like book and falls very, very short. He tries to weave the Masons, Jefferson, etc. into some odd plot for characters to game the system at the highest levels but fails miserably. Most of the book follows a former White House aid, Wes, who's
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disfigured when someone tries to assonate the president. Years later, Wes sees a colleague who he thought died during the attempt. Hundreds of pages are spent with Wes as he tries to figure out what's going on. The characters, plot, pacing, etc. is all overblown and meandering.
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LibraryThing member shannonkearns
i enjoyed this book a lot. my only complaint is that the description on the cover was incredibly misleading as to the content of the book. it was a fun romp, but it wasn't as "conspiracy theory" as i was hoping.
LibraryThing member dono421846
For my taste, the protagonist was too swoon-prone frail flower to be believable as an action hero. After a significant built up, I expected "The Three" to be more significant than a cabal of middle managers. The pacing seemed a bit off; at times I thought the book would never end. But that last
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half became more engaging.
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LibraryThing member MarkLacy
Starts off with a bang and then fizzles. Plot threads that are not adequately "defined", with unknown characters. Not enough action, just a lot of confusion on the part of the narrator (and the reader).
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