The Jefferson Key


 My first Steve Berry book was “The Jefferson Key” which weaves a story of presidential assassinations and cryptic codes through more than 100 years.  I enjoyed the historical themes, and reliance on actual clauses of the Constitution to support the plot.  By expounding upon many true historic tales, the book seemed realistic and came to life as the characters chase down leads and clues in a manner similar to “The Da Vinci Code.”

The book starts with the attempted assassination of Andrew Jackson, and launches the reader back to the present where an assassination attempt is underway on the current president.  Berry then reveals that because our country did not have a Navy during the Revolutionary War, President Washington authorized several wealthy families with ships to protect America’s coasts, and in return for this protection, the families could keep 20% of the treasure they looted from enemy ships.  Although the US government was enriched by the remaining 80% of the plunder, the presidents no longer wants to condone the acts of these families.  To show their strength and opposition to that position, the families arrange for the assassinations of presidents. 

The book switched back and forth between so many characters and points of view, that I found myself distracted, and almost gave up halfway through.  This constant change compounded with the short chapters jerked my attention from one person to another so fast that I was disconnected with the book from the first few pages.  This also left me disconnected from the characters.

I didn’t find the book as exciting as I had hoped, so I would not recommend the book.  However, I believe that people like my sister, who like political shoot ’em up thrillers, would enjoy this book.

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