"Three may keep a secret if two of 'em are dead." -Poor Richard's Almanack
Taylor arrives in Philadelphia for the funeral of his longtime friend Dr. Wally Rush with a heavy heart. Not only has the world lost one of its preeminent, Pulitzer Prize-winning American Revolution historians, but R has lost his mentor, the man who led him to devote his life's work to the study of "The First American," Benjamin Franklin. The bond between them was sealed when R did Wally a favor that could never be revealed. But Wally saved one final secret for R, disclosed in a letter conveyed by the will's executor. Written in the slow, painful script of the professor's last days, the note delivers an incredible bombshell. Wally, it seems, had stumbled upon twelve handwritten pages in a code commonly used by spies during the revolutionary war. The pages refer to George Washington, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison, and level a shocking charge-that Benjamin Franklin committed a heinous crime.
A part of the "Inferno Follow-up" Collection
In his 15th novel, PBS news anchor Lehrer turns to the high-stakes world of founding fathers biography for a tale of academic intrigue. His hero is Benjamin Franklin scholar "R" Taylor, who sits on a committee investigating plagiarism charges against another historian, who has in turn threatened to expose the committee members' own lapses in attribution. Exacerbating R's conflicted feelings is the questionable authorship of his beloved mentor's magnum opus. To top it off, he has received a cache of 18th-century documents that seem to incriminate Franklin in the murder of his illegitimate son's mother. The scholarly sleuthing procedural offers cover for Lehrer's temperate satire of academic rivalries, as he takes a stab at how historical imagination works (it requires long conversations with the shade of the founding father one is profiling) and examines the question of what constitutes plagiarism. Lehrer could have probed most of these issues in an extended Newshour segment and panel discussion. Instead, he has fictionalized them in sober prose ("R had come to believe that dramatic performances built around important historical moments were very effective ways to connect young people to history") salted with overripe dialogue ("I swear on Wally's costumed remains, R, that I will not go quietly") that History Book-of-the-Month Club members may find an interesting change of pace. (May) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
June 12, 2006
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.