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The Inner Circle

(Culper Ring #1)

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  19,978 ratings  ·  1,644 reviews
The best-kept secret of the U.S. Presidency is about to be revealed.

"There are stories no one knows. Hidden stories. I love those stories. And since I work in the National Archives, I find those stories for a living."

Beecher White, a young archivist, spends his days working with the most important documents of the U.S. government. He has always been the keeper of other peo
Hardcover, 449 pages
Published January 11th 2011 by Grand Central Publishing
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CJ I forced myself to finish it because I bought it and nothing else on hand to read. While there were some interesting aspects to the book and a POTENTI…moreI forced myself to finish it because I bought it and nothing else on hand to read. While there were some interesting aspects to the book and a POTENTIALLY fascinating concept, it was just too ridiculous to take seriously... shame really.(less)

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Average rating 3.78  · 
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 ·  19,978 ratings  ·  1,644 reviews

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Tom Callaway
This was my first Brad Meltzer book, and it started out well, but as time went on, a few things became painfully obvious:
1. "No one is who they appear to be at first." And I mean, no one. Not a single named character escapes this cliche.
2. Towards the second half of the book, we get hit with Dan-Brown mini chapters, intended to add suspense, but only achieve a sense of talking to the reader as if he/she is 5 years old.
3. The plot gets more and more and more convoluted...I halfway expected space
Feb 07, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I love books with the whole historical conspiracy thing and I like Brad Meltzer, but this one was a miss. Since it's a Brad Meltzer book, I expect a certain amount of sad sackness to the protagonist, but this one was too much to take. And there were too many moments where everything stopped for exposition from people who would not normally do such a thing, in situations that no one would normally do it. And some situations, I just didn't buy. If you've never read Meltzer's books, do yourself a f ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Let me go slowly here...I wish I could find a way to rate this book by various categories within the book. In other words I give the idea/plot 5 stars and the actual storytelling a 2. At best much of the time.

Let me also say this, I'm interested enough in the "story" that I plan to move on to the next book. You will see I went with a 3 star rating (or maybe you've seen already, ha...). This is about as close as I can come to reflecting my thoughts and feelings on this book in a single rating.

Daniel Audet
May 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
If you're not a Brad Meltzer fan yet, you will be after you read this book. Released earlier this year to rave reviews, it looks like we have the beginning episode in a series featuring our reluctant, mildly dorky, intellectual but - inexperienced in espionage - hero - Beecher. Meltzer's attention to detail and his well known expertise in American History play in beautifully here as the plot deepens, thickens and splinters into several directions. Secret groups bent on preserving the presidency ...more
Jay Connor
Apr 17, 2011 rated it liked it
I had lost faith in Brad Meltzer. His stellar explosion onto the political thriller scene in the late '90s and early '00s was very welcome. Grisham had moved on to "Italy," Baldacci had begun a storytelling "plausible-deniability" period with his Camel Club series, and the rest of the landscape was trying to create plot lines around the new national dread - terrorism.

Meltzer came on the scene with three great reads having different branches of government taking center stage: "First Counsel" (Wh
Jan 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
The Inner Circle is a smart political adventure full of intriguing mystery. The novel starts with a bang and continues at a thrilling pace until the very last word. Brad Meltzer takes political history and turns it on its ear. Creating a massive presidential conspiracy theory that surpasses even the wildest of imaginations, Meltzer convincingly leads the reader on a joyride through the darkest of presidential secrets.

Beecher White is a compelling lead. An average guy with job steeped in history
Feb 01, 2011 rated it did not like it
This book starts off with an incredibly implausible scene. Beecher, an archivist, is helping an old the friend in the archives try to locate some information about her long-lost father (who turns out to be in an asylum for the criminally insane after attempting to assassinate the president.) He is showing her a SCIF room, very private rooms where the president and other special dignitaries can view especially important and secret documents without being spied upon (why would they have surveillan ...more
Feb 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
Everyone knows I love State of the Union night. Reading all the pre-event hype left me craving a mid-winter escape with a political thriller, a fictional president and a zingy caper. The kids at Huffington Post made it seem hip to avoid O: A Presidential Novel, so I went with Brad Meltzer's The Inner Circle. That's how the conspiracy among NPR, Comedy Central, and yes--the History Channel--was revealed to me. They worked in covertly in unison to make me believe that this was an excellently craft ...more
Emilie Haney
Mar 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook, thriller
I picked up this book in the search for finding additional writing like David Baldacci, one of my favorite authors, and was pleasantly surprised with this book and author (who was new to me).

I enjoyed the context, having lived in DC previously, and liked reliving some of the highlights of that city. I also enjoyed the conspiracy aspect of this series. It wasn't as fast paced as I'm used to with Baldacci and I hoped for more action from the main character and a little less…sappiness, but that in
Feb 26, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2011
When Michael Crichton published "The Lost World" a few years ago, I felt like I was reading the screenplay for the upcoming "Jurassic Park" sequel rather than an actual novel. A similar thing happened reading Brad Meltzer's latest novel "The Inner Circle."

The story itself is a popcorn thriller of a book. The story opens with archivist Benjamin January preparing for a meeting with his old high school crush, Clementine. She's contacted him again via Facebook and needs his help with tracking down
Rebekah Scott
May 01, 2012 added it
Shelves: 2011
In 1778, a man by the name of Benjamin Tallmadge organized a spy network in New York City, right in the middle of the British troops. Tallmadge was acting under the order of George Washington himself, and the purpose of this group was to pass information about the British to General Washington. This much is generally known, but what if that group of spies didn’t disband after the Revolutionary War? What if the group known as the Culper Ring continued to work behind the scenes protecting the pres ...more
Titus Burley
May 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
I approach any book I read with an innocent until proven guilty attitude; I plunge into a book expecting and hoping to like it. Though I had been intrigued by the premises of Meltzer's books, it wasn't until I read a really touching and well-crafted blog dedicated to his late father that I felt compelled to read one of his novels. Meltzer's premises often tap into little known facts or "secrets" in American history. Think "National Treasure" type adventure novels. So here was the perfect set-up ...more
Feb 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
this book for sure is a page turner. I started it and could not walk away. Brad definitely can tell a story. Beecher is an incredible character. If you read this book I hope you have a map because you are sure to get lost in it.
R.P. Morel
Jun 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: everything_else
Great book with a good twist on the average run-of-the-mill thriller.
Aug 18, 2019 rated it did not like it
The protagonist should have been killed in the first few pages due to his own stupidity. The bad guys would have knocked him off easily had this storyline held any reality at all. But it didn't and his "woe-is-me" attitude continued through the book. Nowhere did he grow, strengthen or become more aware. He had a knack for getting the facts wrong, panicking and being confused.
The ending was unrealistic as well.
All together, a book that can be left on the shelf. This is my first book by this auth
Scott Rhee
Jul 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Avid watchers of the History Channel have more than likely seen, or at least heard about, Brad Meltzer. He is, in some ways, to the History Channel what Alton Brown is to the Food Channel. Meltzer's show "Decoded" is the "Good Eats" for conspiracy theorists, a well-researched, melodramatic, funny, tongue-in-cheek look at everything from the Lincoln assassination to the Mayan end-of-the-world-in-2012 prophecies. Meltzer is also a bestselling author of more than a dozen novels, most of them involv ...more
Jun 01, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
The worst Brad Meltzer book in his published career. Then again, because I usually enjoy this author, maybe my expectations were too high.

The first BM i read was THE MILLIONAIRES whenever that one was new. I couldnt put it down. it was so good that i read THE FIRST COUNSEL shortly after. I never read the same author back-to-back so that was a big deal. DEAD EVEN was a lot of fun!

THE INNER CIRCLE tasted the same as THE BOOK OF LIES & THE BOOK OF FATE. It almost seems as if Meltzer has gotten to
Kate S
Aug 28, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
I enjoyed this thriller set in and around the DC area. I found myself very familiar with many of the places mentioned throughout the story. I had a problem with the timeline. Ten years ago there was an assassination attempt on the President of the United States and around that time the First Lady was killed. This First Family was not the Clintons, either of the Bush families, or the Obamas, but all of those First Families are discussed and apparently held their office as history reports it. Now, ...more
David Monroe
May 30, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: thriller
I saw this at the library last week. I thought it would be a good bathroom book. We all have those, right? OMG! I ended up literally throwing this into the wall. I've never done that. The protagonist is a young, supposidly bright archivist for the US National Archives. This character suffers from so many annoying Tropes. Let's see: Horrible Judge of Character; Ignore all evidence; No knowledge of his primary job; Selective obliviousness; Suffers from 2 unrequited relationships; Carries the Idiot ...more
Ken Hanes
Jun 06, 2017 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Nobody ever.
Shelves: thriller
This book was the worst book I've read (listened to actually) in years. I've read that Meltzer's earlier work was better, but I'm going to have a tough time going back to anything by the author after this trite.

The main character is an idiot. A boring, unsympathetic, whiny idiot. The vast majority of the side characters aren't any better. There was a somewhat interesting mystery at the start, but after the 971st ridiculous plot twist, it really started to lose me. There was some interesting hist
Aug 28, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: reviewed, listened-to
I'm so sorry I sent this to you last Christmas. I know it was signed by the author, but that's no excuse for such a crappy present. I understand if you viewed it as an insult. Again, my apologies.
With love and regret,
Jul 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Meltzer puts out another great novel! He brings conspiracy to the forefront and makes you wonder what is REALLY going on inside US Politics.
Feb 01, 2013 rated it liked it
This story is longer than necessary. There are interesting conspiracy plots , but the main characters are not strong and become distracting. 6 of 10 stars
My first Brad Meltzer book, great read, very entertaining!
Nov 23, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
There are a host of reasons why I didn't enjoy this novel, but only two of them are necessary in this review to justify my rating.

My primary problem with the book is the protagonist, Beecher. He bounces from plot twist to plot twist totally devoid of agency. At no turn does he show any positive character traits. He spends the entire book either stumbling into a plot development or being lead there by other characters. Beecher isn't even described as being exceptional at his job; he's just anothe
Amanda Baker
3.5 stars overall.
this is another intriguing Meltzer book with political intrigue, corruption and the need for some lowly employee to stop the crimes from higher ups from occurring. In this book however, Beecher is approached by his past, one that he cant really get over-- I mean, doesn't everyone remember their first kiss. How much can you trust those from your past though, especially when you are still working through your emotions of your ex?
I loved the George Washington history and that hon
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is the first book that I've read by Brad Meltzer, and I really enjoyed it. Having never read another of his books, I can't make any kind of comparison.

Washington D. C. is the setting for this political thriller with flashbacks of earlier memories. A story filled with so many twists and turns including betrayal, conspiracy, and murder. We learn about the Culper Ring & the Plumbers. Which to trust? Meltzer also provides lots of historical details including facts about George Washington.
Walter Stoffel
Feb 29, 2020 rated it liked it
A story of political intrigue that didn’t really intrigue me. There were some twists and turns, the main characters were real enough, and there was a sufficient dose of historical facts mixed in with the fiction to give the story legitimacy. But, there was a je ne sais quoi missing in order for the story to fully draw me in. Spoiler alert: all these years I thought the industrial/military complex was pulling the strings and turns out to be the Culper Ring! Confession: I listened to the audiobook ...more
Urbandale Library
May 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is an example of a book which was on my to read list and I have no recollection of putting it there. Since it takes place in the National Archives and follows a librarian, it seems likely it was recommended to me. The story line was suspenseful enough to keep me reading. It is a political thriller which involves the president and his secret ring of good guys and bad guys and an archivist named Beecher who gets involved. Beecher, is a likeable character and one to cheer for, but pay close at ...more
Rebekah O'Dell
Aug 01, 2018 rated it did not like it
To be fair, my rating is based on the audiobook. I suspect I would have given it two stars had I read it on paper.
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Arters AP Literat...: The Inner Circle 4 2 May 04, 2017 07:38AM  
Very weak plot 8 54 Jan 08, 2016 12:35PM  
The Stephen King of political thrillers? 2 16 Aug 16, 2015 06:12PM  
Brad Meltzer 1 25 Apr 30, 2013 08:45AM  
Help! Book suggestions 3 47 Sep 11, 2012 09:39PM  

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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

Culper Ring (3 books)
  • The Fifth Assassin (Culper Ring, #2)
  • The President's Shadow (Culper Ring, #3)

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