Friday, July 11, 2008

Palace Council by Stephen L. Carter

In Palace Council, Eddie Wesley, a member of the “dark nation” and up-and-coming young author, stumbles upon the body Phil Castle, a member of a highly secretive group trying to control the highest ranks of United States politics. It was rumored that Castle left behind a document of great importance. When Eddie’s sister then disappears, he’s determined to find her and untangle the mysteries surrounding Castle’s death and his sister’s disappearance. Before he knows it, Eddie and his long time love interest Aurelia are drawn into a mystery that spans many years.

Carter presents a complicated interwoven political thriller that is compelling, riveting and well written. The chapter endings offer a little piece to the mystery to make the reader want to read more. The story takes place during the 50s and 60s, which was a very turbulent period in American history. Carter often veers off the mystery and focuses on the political climate and social climate of the time. It’s all fascinating stuff. The story was also educational for me. Since history isn’t really my thing and because I was born in the mid 60s, I knew very little about the politics and social atmosphere. This book really gave me a taste of what that period was like.

Of course you couldn’t have a book about racism and politics in the 50s or 60s without cameo appearances from the American’s political players of the era: Richard Nixon, J. Edgar Hoover, as well as others. There are also a host of other well-known figures of the time making appearances or at least being mentioned. These “characters” are essential to the story and add to it rather than detract from it. Carter’s fictional characters were important, believable and outstanding.

I loved reading a political thriller especially at this time. In the past months, I’ve spent many hours glued to the TV following the U.S. primaries: the candidates, pundits, issues, scandals and rhetoric. This book gave me a better understanding of the whole process.

I’d definitely read another book by Carter.


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