The Book of Fate, by Brad Meltzer. If political intrigue and conspiracies are your thing, this one's for you.
Wes Holloway, a hotshot presidential aide, is wounded in an assassination attempt that kills the president's close friend. Eight years later, the dead man reappears, disfigured but very much alive and apparently stalking the former president. Wes thinks he can figure out what's going on, but to do so he must decipher a two-century-old code and penetrate the secrets of Masonic history. From his first novel, The Tenth Justice (1997), through his sixth, Identity Crisis (2005), Meltzer has served up exciting thrillers that take readers behind the scenes of American politics. The pattern doesn't change this time. Like the television series The West Wing, Meltzer's novels focus on the political people the public never sees and tells the stories we never hear. He could be accused here of jumping on the Da Vinci Code bandwagon, but that wouldn't really be fair. He's too good a writer to waste his time imitating someone else's work, and this novel is much more skillfully written--and far more plausible--than Dan Brown's tedious best-seller. The characters are genuine human beings--not all that common in the world of high-concept thrillers--and the plot fluidly integrates historical fact and fiction, which is even less common. Fans of thrillers that reach far back into history will be, well, . . . thrilled. David Pitt