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Books by the Blogger:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


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READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


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THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


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TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


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paperback | hardcover (UK)

PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


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I've decided to stop accepting review copies. The downside of getting buried in free books is that reading increasingly becomes an obligatory act. After some seven years of blogging books, it's time for me to return to the simple pleasure of reading only the books I want to read, when I want to read them.



  
From a random review:

  

« Collinsworth, Eden: It Might Have Been What He Said | Main | Forsyth, Neil; Castro, Elliot: Other People's Money »

Meltzer, Brad: The Book of Fate

  

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Warner Books © 2006, 510 pages [amazon]
3 stars

Eight years before the action of Brad Meltzer's The Book of Fate begins there had been an assassination attempt. President Leland Manning wasn't hurt, but a member of his staff, Ron Boyle, was killed, and Manning's aide, Wes Holloway, was shot in the face and permanently disfigured. The shooting stole more than Wes's face: he is haunted by guilt for having seated Boyle in the presidential limousine that day. And Wes, once sure he was destined for greater things, has stopped taking chances. Years after Manning lost the White House, Wes is still fetching the former President his coffee. But the cocoon Wes has built around himself is shattered during a trip to Malaysia. A chance encounter in the President's hotel forces Wes to confront his ghosts, and to figure out what really happened the day he and Boyle were shot. The conspiracy he ultimately uncovers reaches all the way to Manning's inner circle and tests Wes's loyalty to the former President, a man he has looked up to as a father figure.

[INSET TEXT: Years after Manning lost the White House, Wes is still fetching the former President his coffee.] Meltzer tells his story from multiple perspectives, Wes's, principally, but also, for example, those of Nico Hadrian, the madman who shot Wes and Boyle, and "The Roman," the dramatically named ringleader of the dramatically named group of conspirators--"The Three"--who used Nico as their pawn. The book has some things going for it. The glimpse it provides into life in the White House inner circle is interesting. (Meltzer had access to former Presidents Bush and Clinton in preparing his manuscript, and credits his conversations with them for some of his favorite details in the book.) And Nico's macabre drive across country holds its own fascination.

On the negative side, Meltzer's plot is confusing, and Wes and his cronies unravel the arcane clues they uncover a bit too quickly. And while Wes is a likeable enough character he is not so compelling that we invest our emotions in his story. Wes is defined largely by his attachment to Manning, who has, we are told, treated Wes like family, but readers aren't given evidence of this special treatment from the President in the text, so it is difficult to credit. The book's title has very little to do with the story, and Meltzer's foray into Dan Brownish territoy--Freemasonry and cryptic symbols--isn't necessary to the plot.

In the end The Book of Fate is decidedly...okay. If you're looking for a page-turner you might want to grab the latest Ken Follett instead.

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Book-blog.com reviews by Debra Hamel are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).

Comments

1.

Hello - I stumbled across your blog from a blogburst link on the Reuters site. I just finished reading Book of Fate. I could be more disappointed, but it was okay. I thought it seemed a bit thin in so many ways and the whole nonsense about the 200 year old secret seems just to be a marketing ploy. I think I'll go back and reread something like Labyrinth...

2.

Sounds like we're pretty much in agreement on this one.

Glad to hear the BlogBurst thing is sending people my way! Thanks for stopping by.




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About the blogger: Debra is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece, including Trying Neaira: The True Story of a Courtesan's Scandalous Life in Ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  






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Book-blog.com by Debra Hamel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License.