Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington” as Want to Read:
The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington


3.80  ·  Rating details ·  7,440 ratings  ·  1,212 reviews
In 1776, an elite group of soldiers were handpicked to serve as George Washington’s bodyguards. Washington trusted them; relied on them. But unbeknownst to Washington, some of them were part of a treasonous plan. In the months leading up to the Revolutionary War, these traitorous soldiers, along with the Governor of New York William Tryon and Mayor David Mathews, launched ...more
Hardcover, 413 pages
Published January 8th 2019 by Flatiron Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The First Conspiracy, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Mike This is a true story about events, during the American Revolution, that reveal a plot against George Washington. The book includes quotations from doc…moreThis is a true story about events, during the American Revolution, that reveal a plot against George Washington. The book includes quotations from documents that were written during that time period. The plot even involves conspirators who were tasked with protecting Washington's life. Brad Meltzer, the author, is an excellent historian and storyteller.(less)
Mike This is a true story about events, during the American Revolution, that reveal a plot against George Washington. The book includes quotations from doc…moreThis is a true story about events, during the American Revolution, that reveal a plot against George Washington. The book includes quotations from documents that were written during that time period. The plot even involves conspirators who were tasked with protecting Washington's life. Brad Meltzer, the author, is an excellent historian and storyteller.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,440 ratings  ·  1,212 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington
Brad Meltzer
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: favorites
Loved it. Duh.
Stephanie Hall
Dec 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc, history
ARC sent to me by Flatiron Books.

Actually did not finish this, but it is the end of the year and I can't bring myself to continue reading a book that is so hard for me to read without throwing it down every page or so in frustration. I will say, I'm still very interesting in the subject. The writing style of Meltzer and Mensch just DID NOT work for me at all. Let's talk about why I stopped reading this at page 81.

1. Is this book seriously marketed for adults???? Because so much of it was dumbed
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
The time during America’s Revolutionary War was anything but peaceful, as many history books have explained over the years. When Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch came together to pen this book, they sought not only to explore some of the more confrontational aspects of the period, but also to uncover a little-known (read: documented) conspiracy against George Washington that seeped almost to the core of the Continental Army. The book opens by exploring some of the early goings-on within the colonies ...more
This story takes place in 1776. It is about a secret plot by the British to assassinate George Washington.

The book is well written and extensively researched. The story jumps about following different people, but it all flows together. The author chose to write in the present tense which is unusual for a non-fiction book. The story reads like a novel and at times is suspenseful. I was amazed at the number of Continental Soldiers that were recruited as spies and saboteurs particularly among the L
You won't believe what happens in Brad Meltzer's latest book!

That's pretty much it, page, after page of foreshadowing, with some History Channel level prose to fill it up. In fact, I am pretty sure I already learned some of this back when I used to watch the History Channel.

And, that brings me to the title, "The First Conspiracy:The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington."
There was no known plot to kill George Washington. Not in any historical record, not in any handed down tradition. Meltzer a
Nov 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Totally enjoyed reading The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington by Brad Meltzer. My husband's side of the family is related via George Washington's eldest brother. It was pure delight to read about their relationship and how his brother helped George form the firm moral compass. Knowing right from wrong. Knowing that man should do what is right not for personal gain but simply because it's the right thing to do. A trait that remains in the family to present day!

As one wh
Scott  Hitchcock

What irked me while reading this is the author kept trying to build fake suspense that came off like a bad TV documentary such as American Greed or How to Make a Murderer. Spoiler alert: they fail! I know shocking. You just cannot again and again try to breed false tension into a story so well know. Just tell the story.

Second complaint was only about a third of it was about the conspiracy. This was primarily about the start of the war. I think the title is a bit misleading.

The research w
W. Whalin
Sep 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Unusual Story About George Washington and Early US History

I’ve read a number of Brad Meltzer novels and have enjoyed them. For THE FIRST CONSPIRACY, Meltzer teams with Josh Mensch and writes history about the early days of America. This book held my attention from beginning to end but it was definitely different than the Meltzer novels
Tbis history book enlightens readers about the origins of America’s counterintelligence and a previously untold part of American history. I enjoyed this book and
Elizabeth A.G.
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington is an interesting book about the little known history of the early days of colonialist grievances against the British and the plots of possible abduction and/or assassination of the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, George Washington. Brad Meltzer and co-author Josh Mensch have created a history book that is part mystery story, spy story, conspiracy story, biography, character study, and the story of the beginnings of coun ...more
Feb 25, 2019 rated it liked it
I liked this, but it seemed like a 200-page book stretched out to 400+ pages. While the main topic of the book is what is named in the title, the book includes a lot of background information that doesn't always directly pertain to the assassination plot, and that sometimes has nothing at all to do with the plot. Sometimes, it's just background information on some of the people involved.

Having just completed Chernow's biography of GW a couple of weeks before I got The First Conspiracy, it was ni
Jan 21, 2019 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Children
Recommended to Gail by: Other reviewers
It's hard to believe all the five-star reviews here. I found the writing to be irritating as it's definitely not for adults, but for elementary school children. Everything is overly simplistic, repetitious, and sensationalized. Somehow I stuck with it to the end even though it annoyed me. I have never read any other Brad Meltzer book and if he wrote them all like this one then I have no intention of reading them.
Joann Amidon
Jan 16, 2019 rated it did not like it
The historical facts presented in this book are worth reading about and I was happy to learn new facts as well as remember some I knew. However, the writing is so inferior I can only rate the book with one star.
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: giveaways
I received an uncorrected advance reader copy as part of a Goodreads giveaway. I’ve been entering giveaways for over five years and finally got lucky, so I can assure you that real people win.

Pros: Written in an engaging, modern style and divided into 80+ brief chapters, The First Conspiracy is a propulsive read. It tells a story that I’d never heard before despite growing up in George Washington’s home state and taking at least three years of Virginia History in school. Each thread in the schem
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a story! I've been enjoying Brad Meltzer's books for years but this is the best of them all. Who knew that a tale of a secret plot against George Washington could be so riveting. This is an easy-to-read, engrossing story that reveals much about the early years of the American revolution. A solid recommend!
I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway for this honest review.
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
While the story itself is compelling and dramatic enough, Meltzer's buid-up to the conspiracy is really what makes this book so enjoyable. Particularly the story of the Long Island counterfeiters finding themselves wrapped up in the plot.
Jan 18, 2019 rated it liked it
THE FIRST CONSPIRACY is an interesting read; I learned quite a lot of information which I was previously unaware. I only wish this book had included the entire war.
Feb 29, 2020 rated it liked it
An interesting slice of history that I don’t recall hearing about in school. However, the writing style conveyed that the target audience was middle school kids. The author on several occasions broke the plane between reader and impartial reporter of facts by injecting sophomoric remarks. The text often repeated information already revealed and the very short chapter breaks were annoying.

It appeared to be well researched and well documented with good footnotes. But I don’t plan on reading any o
Oct 15, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars - I did enjoy the book and found it a fairly exciting read. I enjoy history, particularly the Revolutionary War period, and throw in a good Spy story and I'm SOLD! I have mixed thoughts though, regarding the book:

Pro's: The book contained A LOT of information that was new to me. Much of the information had supporting documents, so I felt the authors were sharing factual data and not too much opinion. The information regarding the "beginnings" of our intelligence/counter-intelligence or
Oct 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Release date - 1/2/2019

This was an absolutely fascinating read! It read like a spy novel with many twists and turns, and it was crazy to think that the events I was reading about actually happened. I had no idea that there was a plot against George Washington even before the Declaration of Independence was signed, or that Washington was the creator of what we know as counterintelligence today.

I am not someone who normally gravitates to nonfiction, but this was written in a very compelling way.
I clicked on this one when it showed up on my library's website, not really sure what it was about, no clue at all that it was non-fiction. As the book went on it seemed crazy, that it should have been a "historical fiction" take events. It does make a person wonder, how would the world have changed if they were successful. I also can't imagine how Washington felt as he was betrayed by those so close to him.
Dec 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Set in the turbulent months of 1776 after George Washington is given command of the Continental army and before the mighty British army arrives in the colonies to put down the rebellion, this fascinating book tells the tale of dastardly plots, treason and the beginnings of the Intelligence service. An enjoyable and satisfying read for all.
Apr 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Informative story. Maybe a little too informative and that's why I gave it 4 stars. Mr. Meltzer went back over the same material a few times I felt. Still though, it is a good study in the "First Conspiracy" and although I know if the punishment for the main conspirator, I didn't know the back story.
Nathan Albright
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
[Note:  This book was provided free of charge by Flatiron Books courtesy of a Goodreads giveaway.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

This book can best be considered as a historical mystery.  While I would have liked to have seen the footnotes, they were not provided in this copy, but rest assured that they provide some fascinating reading that the authors have uncovered in this fast-paced and dramatic volume.  Coming in at about 400 pages, this is not a short book, but it reads very quickly
Feb 05, 2019 rated it liked it
I applaud the Authors for bringing to light a little known conspiracy to kill or kidnap Washington and conceivably change the whole course of history . The book has some interesting and even informative moments but the writing leaves a lot to be desired. The book seems to be geared to the late night talk show " person on the street" who doesn't know that New Mexico is part of the United States. Every thing is simply explained and repeatedly explained. Despite being melodramatic at times the Auth ...more
Diana D
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was ok
About a quarter of the way through this book, I lost patience, and it was a struggle to continue reading it, even though it was an easy read. Chapters don't exceed 5 pages. (!) The writing is fairly simple. The word "comprised" is used way too frequently, sometimes correctly, sometimes incorrectly. Characters (real people) are explained in context, and explained again, and when referenced later oh don't worry, they're explained again!

A pattern became clear, and by the time I reached the end of
Feb 18, 2019 rated it did not like it
This book is hard to read. Written at a low reading level, Meltzer tries very hard to write a dramatic story by reliving in the present time tense all of Washington's story from the beginning of the 2nd Continental Congress through the early years of the war. The title is complete nonsense as the "conspiracy" could probably take up about 10 pages of the entire 400+.

If you are completely uneducated in the American Revolutionary War then this is a great book to begin learning with. If you even re
Brenda A
Dec 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: shelf-awareness
I love this book for teaching me a new facet of US history that I wasn’t aware of, and it’s written in a simple style that will make even the most hesitant readers feel at ease.

It felt a little too forced in some places though. A lot of references to things that can only be assumed or guessed at, but not proven. The authors did a good job of presenting the most likely scenario for various bits, but ultimately we don’t know the answers and it was almost like they were just presuming to write his
Fredrick Danysh
A nice historical read about an assassination attempt on George Washington during the American Revolution which also discusses the intelligence gathering and counter-intelligence efforts of both the British and the colonists. Well worth reading. This was a free advance read copy obtained through I would buy the book if I didn't have this copy.
Jun 24, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Could I have foreseen what I have and am like to experience, no consideration upon earth should have induced me to accept this command.” GW

Two hundred pages of information crammed into four hundred pages of exposition. Ends every chapter with a teaser to the next and opens every chapter with a recapitulation of the previous materials. Often reintroduces each character with a short biography. As if they assume the readers can’t remember. Or they’re paid by the word.

“Though Washington doesn’t kn
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Play Book Tag: [Flurries] The First Conspiracy, by Brad Meltzer, 2 stars 7 17 Nov 18, 2019 01:39PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West
  • The Malta Exchange (Cotton Malone, #14)
  • Sam Houston and the Alamo Avengers: The Texas Victory That Changed American History
  • The Warsaw Protocol (Cotton Malone, #15)
  • John Adams Under Fire: The Founding Father's Fight for Justice in the Boston Massacre Murder Trial
  • The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz
  • In the Hurricane's Eye: The Genius of George Washington and the Victory at Yorktown
  • Killing the SS: The Hunt for the Worst War Criminals in History
  • One Good Deed
  • Redemption (Amos Decker, #5)
  • John Adams Under Fire - Signed / Autographed Copy
  • Backlash (Scot Harvath #19)
  • Walk the Wire (Amos Decker #6)
  • Wild Bill: The True Story of the American Frontier's First Gunfighter
  • The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777
  • A Minute to Midnight (Atlee Pine #2)
  • Long Road to Mercy (Atlee Pine, #1)
See similar books…
Brad Meltzer is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Inner Circle, The Book of Fate, and nine other bestselling thrillers including The Tenth Justice, The First Counsel, The Millionaires, and The President’s Shadow. His newest book, The Escape Artist, debuted at #1 on the bestseller list.
In addition to his fiction, Brad is one of the only authors to ever have books on the bestseller lis

Other books in the series

Conspiracy (2 books)
  • The Lincoln Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill America's 16th President⁠—and Why It Failed

Articles featuring this book

Histories, biographies, memoirs, essays, science, technology, true crime, self-help, how-tos, and so on: The world of nonfiction is vast and v...
46 likes · 26 comments
“After all, bragging and boasting aren’t honorable; what’s honorable is doing one’s duty and sacrificing oneself for a noble cause.” 1 likes
“The Congress is full of highly educated talkers who use ornate, flowery language. Washington never went to college. He speaks simply or, more often, he listens. As the other delegates compete to talk as much as possible, Washington exerts a gravity and power by withholding opinions. He has, as John Adams later puts it, the “gift of silence.” But when he does speak, the words have conviction.” 0 likes
More quotes…