Executive Times






2006 Book Reviews


The Book of Fate by Brad Meltzer








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Personal and political loyalty can be a rare commodity in Washington, D.C., but Brad Meltzer’s new novel The Book of Fate, presents characters whose loyalty seems unshakeable. This political thriller will appeal to many readers who enjoy getting a lot of pages for the dollar, and to those who like the action to proceed one step at a time. Protagonist Wes Holloway is a presidential aide, wounded in an assassination attempt on the President, who continues to work for the former President after his first term ends and he isn’t re-elected. Wes is an ordinary guy, who never heals from his wounds. Here’s an excerpt, all of Chapter 3, pp. 26-7:



He takes off in an eyeblink, darting to the left down the hallway—away from the doorway where Jay is. Boyle—whoever he is, he’s smart.

I grab the edges of the coffee table and try to boost myself out. My hip and knees grind against the shards of glass as I twist into place. Stumbling to my feet, I rush forward, completely hunched over. I’m so off balance, I practically fall through the doorway, back into the hail, which is completely empty

He barely had a five-second head start. It’s more than enough.

Up ahead, the far end of the hallway bends around to the left. In the distance, a metal door slams shut. Damn. I run as fast as I can, gritting my teeth just to keep myself from hyperventilating. But I already know what’s coming. Turning the corner, the hallway dead-ends at two more soundproof metal doors. The one on the right leads to an emergency set of stairs. The one straight ahead leads outside. If we were in the White House, we’d have two Secret Ser­vice guys standing guard. As a Former, we’ve barely got enough to cover the entrances that lead to the stage.

I shove open the door on my right. As it crashes into the wall, a low thud echoes up the concrete stairwell. I hold my breath and lis­ten for footsteps . . . movement. . . anything. All I get is silence.

Spinning back, I slam into the metal bar of the remaining door, which whips open and flings me out into the sweet, steamy Malaysian air. The only light in the alley comes from the headlights of a black Chevy Suburban, a metal Cheshire cat with a glowing white stare. Behind the Suburban is a gaudy, white twelfth-grade-prom stretch limousine. Our ride back to the hotel.

“Everything okay?” an agent with cropped brown hair calls out as he steps around to the front of the Suburban.

Yeah. . . of course,” I say, swallowing hard and knowing better than to put him in panic. Jumping down the last three steps, my heart’s racing so fast, I feel like it’s about to kick through my chest. I continue to scan the alleyway. Nothing but empty dumpsters, a few police motorcycles, and the mini-motorcade.

The stairs.

I spin back to the doorway, but it’s already too late. The door slams shut with a sonic boom, locking from the inside.

“Relax,” the agent calls out. “I got the key right here.”

He jogs up the stairs and flips through his key ring. “Manning still on time?” he asks.

“Yeah . . . he’s perfect. . . right on time . .

The agent studies me carefully, fishing through his keys. “Sure you’re okay, Wes?” he asks, pulling the door open as I run back inside. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”


Many of the characters never develop enough to care about them on these pages, but there’s something about Wes that can keep a reader engaged. The Book of Fate is perfect entertainment for an airplane flight or a mindless weekend.


Steve Hopkins, October 25, 2006



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The recommendation rating for this book appeared

 in the November 2006 issue of Executive Times


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