Imposters of Patriotism
Imagine stumbling upon a 200-year-old journal in a crate of old books, only to discover a secret about the Father of Our Country. It’s a dream come true for an antiquarian like Matt Hawkins and a historian like Sarah Gordon. But when the unsuspecting pair try to authenticate the journal, reaching out to an organization that dates back to the days of Washington and Lafayette, they draw the attention of shadowy forces, political operatives, and murderous thugs. Someone wants Washington’s secret to stay buried, and the hunt for the truth will change Matt and Sarah’s lives forever.
Imposters of Patriotism is a deft weaving of American history and fiction, hitting a lot of Da Vinci Code buttons without feeling like a copycat or a pretender to the throne. And I mean that as a compliment. With its mix of strong action elements, engaging characters, and confident pacing, it takes the best of the ever-expanding Historical Secret Thriller genre and leaves the hokiness and more cloying tactics behind. This is no mere formulaic thriller.
Richardson manages to make history come alive – bringing the brutal conditions of Valley Forge and the gentle friendships Washington nurtured into sharp relief in equal measure – while consistently ratcheting up the tension for the heroes. While luck – or the author – is on their side, the threats seem real and the outcome unsure. (In fact, the only thing that seems inevitable is the pairing of Sarah and Matt, but they’re both so likable that you don’t mind one bit.)
This, surprisingly enough, is Ted Richardson’s debut novel, and it’s a marvelous indicator of great stories to come. Richardson has hit the ground running with Imposters of Patriotism and with another Matt Hawkins adventure in the pipeline, I strongly suspect he’ll only get better from here.
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