The President's Shadow (Culper Ring Series #3)

The President's Shadow (Culper Ring Series #3)

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by Brad Meltzer

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A severed arm, found buried in the White House Rose Garden.

A lethal message with terrible consequences for the Presidency.
And a hidden secret in one family's past that will have repercussions for the entire nation.

Following The Inner Circle and The Fifth Assassin, #1 bestselling author Brad Meltzer


A severed arm, found buried in the White House Rose Garden.

A lethal message with terrible consequences for the Presidency.
And a hidden secret in one family's past that will have repercussions for the entire nation.

Following The Inner Circle and The Fifth Assassin, #1 bestselling author Brad Meltzer returns with . . .


There are stories no one knows. Hidden stories. I find those stories for a living.

To most, it looks like Beecher White has an ordinary job. A young staffer with the National Archives in Washington, D.C., he's responsible for safekeeping the government's most important documents . . . and, sometimes, its most closely held secrets.

But there are a powerful few who know his other role. Beecher is a member of the Culper Ring, a 200-year-old secret society founded by George Washington and charged with protecting the Presidency.
Now the current occupant of the White House needs the Culper Ring's help. The alarming discovery of the buried arm has the President's team in a rightful panic. Who buried the arm? How did they get past White House security? And most important: What's the message hidden in the arm's closed fist? Indeed, the puzzle inside has a clear intended recipient, and it isn't the President. It's Beecher, himself.

Beecher's investigation will take him back to one of our country's greatest secrets and point him toward the long, carefully hidden truth about the most shocking history of all: family history.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Clearly a history buff of the highest order, Meltzer knows his stuff, and he's included research from chats with none other than President George H.W. Bush....Beecher's got the mental acumen of Robert Langdon and the gumption of Indiana Jones, but unlike those globe-trotting types, Meltzer's protagonist is thrown into adventures made in the USA and acts as an awesome gateway into the deadlier aspects of American history."—USA Today on The Fifth Assassin

"History and suspense collide in shocking ways - and the intensity never lets up. Beecher carries the weight of the story. He's a great character who will resonate with readers since he's like the fun next-door neighbor or your best friend in college....One of his best books to date...The ending of The Fifth Assassin appears to announce that Beecher White will return, and that cannot come fast enough."—Washington Post on The Fifth Assassin

"Because not since the Fletcher Knebel seminal Seven Days in May or James Grady's scathing Days of the Condor, has there been a political thriller as relentlessly paced or blisteringly effective as The Fifth Assassin. An early contender for the best thriller of 2013."—The Providence Journal on The Fifth Assassin

"Full of surprises, action, twists and turns, it is a wild and entertaining (and yes, educational) romp, wonderful in every way...Read The Fifth Assassin and prepare to be entranced and enthralled."—BookReporter on The Fifth Assassin

"All of Brad's books are a fascinating read. He is a great storyteller who keeps all of us on the edge of our seats."—President George H.W. Bush

Publishers Weekly
Bestseller Meltzer’s third near-future Culper Ring thriller (after 2013’s The Fifth Assassin) opens with a great dramatic image: First Lady Shona Wallace finding a severed arm in the White House Rose Garden. This grim discovery leads President Orson Wallace to consult Beecher White, a member of the Ring, which was founded by George Washington to “protect the presidency” and at present consists of only six members. The two men have a complicated relationship: Beecher once saved Wallace’s life, but also believes that the chief executive committed a violent crime as a college student. Beecher agrees to help Wallace when he learns that the dead man’s hand was clutching a flattened penny that could have a link to the mysterious death, many years before, of Beecher’s father, who was a mechanic in the Army. Fans of historical conspiracy fiction will find a lot to like, but readers should be prepared for thin characters and a wildly over-the-top plot. 10-city author tour. Agent: Jill Kneerim, Kneerim, Williams & Bloom Agency. (June)
Library Journal
★ 05/01/2015
Meltzer's third offering in his "Culper Ring" series (after The Inner Circle and The Fifth Assassin) is a taut political/conspiracy thriller. Beecher White, archivist and member of the secret Culper Ring, finds his search for the truth about his father's death converging with a plot to kill the president. The Culper Ring, originally created by George Washington as a covert spy operation during the Revolutionary War, exists to protect the presidency. Members are anonymous, thus preserving the ring's integrity. Beecher must pick his way through a minefield of relationships, never knowing whom to trust or fear as he seeks answers. Did his father die in an automobile accident as he was always told or was he murdered during a secret military experiment? And how does it relate to the severed arm found buried in the White House rose garden? VERDICT Readers will find it difficult to put this quick-paced page-turner down as they get pulled into the maze of deceit, intrigue, and conspiracy. Those who are new to the series should read the first two books. [See Prepub Alert, 12/15/14.]—Sandra Knowles, South Carolina State Lib., Columbia
Kirkus Reviews
This third outing for the storied Culper Ring, sworn to protect the U.S. presidency, shows them doing what they do most: sniffing out conspiracies, falling for deceptions, and perpetuating that grandest of all American political institutions, the clueless double take. Orson Wallace is still president, Beecher White still toils in the National Archives, his mentor Aristotle "Tot" Westman still languishes in the hospital after getting shot in the head. But things have changed for Nico Hadrian, who failed in his attempt 10 years ago to assassinate the president and instead killed the first lady, who continues to talk to him after all these years. Nico recently escaped his padded cell at St. Elizabeth's mental institution, just in time to be on the loose when current first lady Shona Wallace turns up a severed human arm in a White House garden. After its opposite number turns up in quite a different location, the two arms are identified as those of Kingston Young, who killed himself two weeks ago. Or is Young really alive and masquerading as the late Tanner Pope's loose-cannon grandson, Ezra, a member of the Knights of the Golden Circle, a guild of assassins who trace their membership back to John Wilkes Booth? Meltzer attacks the web of conspiracies with an unbridled barrage of flashbacks, switching from past-tense to present-tense verbs, from first-person to third-person narratives, until you're as ready as poor Col. Doggett, whom Nico slowly tortures, to cry uncle and confess to all the terrible things you've done, just like everyone else in the Culper Ring, the Knights of the Golden Circle, and the Plankholders, for whom Doggett recruited Nico so long ago. Unlike the previous installment (The Fifth Assassin, 2013), this one doesn't provide much in the way of exposition but instead throws you unceremoniously into the deep end. Fans will survive, but unwary newcomers had better watch their backs.

Product Details

Grand Central Publishing
Publication date:
Brad Meltzer's Culper Ring Series , #3
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 6.60(h) x 1.40(d)

Meet the Author

Brad Meltzer is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Inner Circle, The Book of Fate, and seven other bestselling thrillers. In addition to his fiction, Brad is one of the only authors to ever have books on the bestseller list for nonfiction (History Decoded), advice (Heroes for My Son and Heroes for My Daughter), children's books (I Am Amelia Earhart and I Am Abraham Lincoln) and even graphic books (Justice League of America). He is also the host of Brad Meltzer's Decoded on the History Channel, and Brad Meltzer's Lost History on H2. He currently lives in Florida. You can find much more about him at You can also see what he's doing right now at and on Twitter @bradmeltzer.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
Place of Birth:
New York, New York
B.A., University of Michigan; J.D., Columbia University

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The President's Shadow 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
Linda__ More than 1 year ago
This is a phenomenal book that is filled with twists and turns as it follows Beecher trying to find his father. While this sounds like it might be a family tale, it is so much more. This novel is book 3 in the Beecher White series and the Culper Ring. What follows is a complex tale that shows us the underbelly of the government's darkest secrets. While this is a novel, is dances very close to actual atrocities committed by the government. This, combined with Brad Metzger's superb skill, makes this a taunt and chilling novel that you just cannot put down. I recommend it very highly to fans of the genre. Thank you to the publisher for providing a complementary ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Mallory_SupernaturalFan More than 1 year ago
Review:  THE PRESIDENT'S SECRET by Brad Meltzer (Beecher White #3) Brad Meltzer is a must-read author for me. Not only can I count on exciting and unexpected plot twists, eternally-ratcheting suspense, and fascinating characters; no matter which story, I'll be educated, usually on some overlooked or even secretive aspect of U.S. history. THE PRESIDENT'S SECRET is the third in the series about Beecher White of the National Archives, and the reconstituted Culper Ring, originally initiated by George Washington. It's a humdinger, and I couldn't stop till I finished!
CPAC2012 More than 1 year ago
In The Inner Circle, Tot invited fellow archivist Beecher White to join the Culper Ring--a secret group first assembled by George Washington during the Revolutionary War to protect his secrets and win the war--after Beecher stumbled upon a presidential secret. In The Fifth Assassin, the sequel, apparently (I haven’t read it yet) Tot was shot in the head and Beecher assumed his position as the head of what remained of the Culper Ring. In The President’s Shadow, this third installment in the Culper Ring series, Beecher “sneaks” into the White House only to discover they were waiting for him all along. The First Lady Shona Wallace unburies, while gardening, a severed arm that had been buried in the Rose Garden by a White House intruder. The president’s inner circle suspects it was done with inside help. In its closed fist, the severed arm is holding a penny with an inscription that ties it to Beecher’s personal history, or rather, that of his father’s service in the armed forces. Beecher needs the president to know more about his father and how he died. The president needs to keep the investigation under wraps and off the press. Who better than Beecher and his Culper Ring to investigate? I think this country is in real trouble if the Secret Service needs help from an archivist to solve a case like this, still I willingly went along for the ride. Count on Brad Meltzer to concoct a story where fact and fiction intertwine seamlessly and U.S. history is just part of the mix with such outlandish result that could very well be real. With small bite chapters and easy to read prose, The President's Shadow will breeze before your eyes. Secret government agencies, ultra secret government projects in off the grid locations, conspiracy theories...What's not to like?! Strongly recommend it. DISCLAIMER: I received from the publisher a free Galley of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just wanted to mention a humdinger of a book and one that will really educate you further-"THE PRESIDENT'S SHADOW".Totally awesome!!!!!!!!!! (:
Anonymous 20 days ago
Very strong characters I have been to Fort Jefferson National Park . Beautiful as described .
Anonymous 6 months ago
Full of on the edge of your seat reading.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great "Beecher" book! I was so enthralled with this book, I read it in 1 evening; I couldn't put it down until I had finished! I really love the conspiracy, government secrets and insider looks at places like Camp David and The White House. Mr. Meltzer's writing style is superb; I especially like how he weaves so much actual history into every story that you usually learn a lot from them, and you can easily imaging them actually happening in real life.
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JCHJL More than 1 year ago
I have had a difficult time staying with this one. The back and forth I think is confusing. I have put it down and will pick it up at a later time. At this point I cannot recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bill-NJ More than 1 year ago
What a huge disappointment. After being left hanging in suspense at the end of The Fifth Assassin some years ago, along comes this rag tag collection of overly exaggerated scarred and maimed central characters. Teeth falling out secondary to chemotherapy. Burned faces. Psychotic killer talking to the first lady that he murdered. Really? All a bit too much over the top for this reader. On a personal note, I did read the author's prologue about his own personal journey and challenges over the past several years. Thoughts and prayers are with him.
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mikeburton04 More than 1 year ago
I've read all the Culper Ring books. Not only are the stories enthralling, but you get a taste of our country's history at the same time.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Overuse of descriptive metaphores, contractions that are not legitimate, run-together words like "nonono." Story was too disjointed, jumping back and forth in time. Found it hard to identify with the characters. Doubt I'll be reading anything else by this author.