Thursday, October 12, 2006


The Book of Fate by Brad MeltzerWes Holloway, an aide to the President of the United States, is shot and his face disfigured during an attempt on the President’s life. But that’s not the worst of it. Even more devastating is the death of Ron Boyle, one of the President’s close friends and advisors. Shot through the chest by the deadly assassin, Boyle bleeds to death on the way to the hospital in the back of an ambulance normally reserved for the President himself. And Wes had put Boyle in the President’s car, making him feel as though he were responsible for Boyle’s death.

Fast forward eight years and we find President Manning now a former President because of that "fateful" day. A picture surfaced during the scuffle with Secret Service agents and the shooter that showed Leland Manning (the Prez) behind a woman. The photo looks as if Manning is hiding behind her, even though he wasn’t, thus awarding him the public name of "the cowardly lion." Wes remains at his side but his life is eventually thrown into disarray by the presence of a man who sounds like Boyle. Could he still be alive?

That is the basic gist of this extremely heavy tome. To go into further detail would risk putting book review readers to sleep ...which is what THE BOOK OF FATE will do for many. That readers may actually finish the book is more an act of determination than joy, as the story is so poorly put together that its very structure nearly defies description.

However, there is one word that fits it perfectly: overwritten. Checking in at over 500 pages (or 15 CDs for the unabridged audio version), the novel could’ve easily been cut in half, if not in a third. Most of the problems lay with overly-drawn descriptions or overly-dramatic prose. There are so many times in the book where Mr. Meltzer (author) starts in on an initially tense action scene, only to have it fall completely flat by describing every hair follicle on a character’s arm, every chair in a room, every piece of paneling on a wall, and every crook in a person’s finger. It boggles the mind that an editor didn’t get his/her fingers into this forgettable story and cut it down just for the sake of saving a few trees!

This one is a definite bypass...


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