The Book of Fate
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|The Book of Fate|
|Publisher||Grand Central Publishing|
|Publication date||September 2006|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|Pages||528 pp (first edition, hardback)|
|ISBN||ISBN 0446530999 (first edition, hardback)|
|Dewey Decimal||813/.54 22|
|LC Classification||PS3563.E4496 B66 2006|
The Book of Fate is a novel by author Brad Meltzer. It is a political thriller with "Freemasonry conspiracy theory" undertones. It was released in September 2006 and found its way quickly to the New York Times Bestseller List.
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The Book of Fate takes place in Palm Beach, Florida; sometime after the presidency of Leland "The Lion" Manning, who served sometime after George W. Bush. Although the novel does not give an exact date, the bulk of the narration occurs eight years after Manning loses his bid for re-election.
After a botched assassination attempt at a NASCAR track, Manning loses favor as a picture is taken showing him seemingly pulling a woman in front of him to use as a human shield; when in reality, he was trying to push her out of the way. While Manning escapes unscathed due to the actions of the Secret Service; Chief of State Ron Boyle is killed and personal aide Wes Holloway is physically disfigured as he suffers a wound to the cheek and loses control of the left side of his face.
Manning maintains some of the spotlight as a former president and Holloway, enduring years of psychological trauma, remains as his aide. When Wes sees Boyle backstage at a function in Malaysia, Wes becomes the prime target of several parties.
Meanwhile, the enigmatic "Roman" visits Nico Hadrian, the shooter from eight years ago, at a mental hospital. Hadrian escapes and due to his schizophrenia and religious fervor, believes that he must kill Holloway, stealing cars and killing several people along the way.
As news of Hadrian's escape forces Manning and the first lady into house arrest, Wes obtains the last thing Boyle requested from the library before resurfacing: a cryptic crossword puzzle with Manning's notes, which appear to be nothing but doodles.
Agents O'Shea and Micah pursue Holloway with their own agenda, while gossip columnist Lisbeth Dodson and roommate and meatball-shaped lawyer Rogo, and former Manning Aide "Dreidel" Jeffer aid Wes in his quest to find the truth about the shooting, Boyle's mysterious reappearance and "The Three," a mysterious group of individuals responsible for the attempted killing and corruption of the Manning administration.
Wes is repeatedly forced to relive the horror of the day that ruined his life during his search for answers. Eventually he is lead to the Key West house of the photographer who took the picture that caused Manning's downfall; in his archives, Wes and Lisbeth find a picture with seemingly impossible implications: Micah is in the corner, passively observing.
After concluding that Wes has discerned their involvement, O'Shea kills Micah and corners Wes before being shot and taken by Boyle. Rogo and Dreidel travel to Fort Lauderdale where they are looking for Dr. Eng, an appointment Boyle made shortly before his killing/disappearance. Wes, confronting the former president, is sidetracked by a sobbing first lady Lenore Manning, and leaves only to find a handwritten note from Boyle, telling him to meet him at his grave in a nearby graveyard.
We learn that The Three consists of "The Roman" (in reality agent Robert Egen), O'Shea, and Micah, three individuals respectively in the employ of the Secret Service, CIA and FBI. By corroborating information on terrorist activities, they have for years withheld information and sold it back under the anonymous epithet of The Roman. After failing to coerce a six million dollar tip, they had approached Boyle with the offer of becoming "The Fourth," which he declined.
In retaliation, The Roman delivered a tip to the White House that the president would be killed by Nico, under their seditious influence; Boyle was slain in the process. As Lisbeth decodes the drawings on the crossword puzzle, we learn that their second offer to be "The Fourth" was accepted, by First Lady Lenore Manning, naively believing she was helping the Manning administration retain the presidency.
Boyle returns to Dr. Eng's office, which is in reality one of the most safely guarded Witness Protection hideout in the country, where he tells Rogo and Dreidel that he never contacted Wes about a graveyard. Realizing the deception, the three return to Palm Beach.
As Wes and Lisbeth arrive at the headstone, The Roman appears accompanied by Lenore. He savagely beats Lisbeth while Wes, as per their plan, hides nearby. Nico confronts Wes but upon seeing his scars, believes that Wes was touched by God, and attacks the Roman, who shoots him. Wes defeats the Roman with Lisbeth's help, while the first lady flees only to be slain by the progressively more insane Nico.
Lenore Manning's funeral passes while Wess is invited as a pallbearer. Nico Hadrian returns to St. Elizabeth's mental hospital where he is finally granted chapel rights. Lisbeth accepts a job at the San Francisco Chronicle, and Wes agrees to leave with her, finally leaving his life as a servant to his past and the president.