Brad Meltzer has the knack to write a capitvating story. His novels have centered on Washington, D.C. where there is some risk to the United States.
In this story, Beech (Breecher) White is employed at the National Archives and is visited by an old high school girlfriend, Clementine Kaye, who wants help in finding her father.
After Clemmi's mother's death, Clemmi found a document about her father. By bringing the document to the National Archives, researchers are able to determine that the father Clemmi never knew was Nico Hadriam, who was in a psychiatric hopsital after an attempt on the president's life, ten years ago.
At the Archives building, Clemmi, Beech and a security guard are in the president's reading room and discover a document taped to the bottom of a chair. The document apparently was from George Washington.
Shortly thereafter, something happens to the security guard and Beech is questioned about what went on in the reading room.
Clemmi decides to visit her father and the two meet for the first time. Beech follows her and learns that Nico knows about the book they found. He tells them that this is how Washington communicated with his Culper Ring, his own private informational spies.
This story is convoluted and I was confused. Not only is there one Culper Ring, but there are two. In this group of people who give the president honest information, the president's physician and barber are inculded. The story would appeal to puzzle fans who appreciated "The Da Vinci Code."
The characters were well developed as we learn about Beech and Clemmi from their high school days but I didn't find either of them particularly interesting. Neither did I feel the antagonists were villanous.
I was only mildly entertained by this novel and would rate it a 2 1/2 stars, moving up to 3 stars for the attempt at a good puzzle. I've enjoyed Meltzer's novels in the past and am willing to give him another chance in a subsequent novel.
See my Amazon review and comment at the end if that review was helpful.