Friday, January 23, 2015

International Intrigue Based on Secrets from American History

In 1913 Philander Knox stated that 33 states had ratified the 16th Amendment to the Constitution giving the US the ability to collect income taxes. However, the ratification was problematic. In the 1930's the antagonism between Andrew Melon and FDR came to a head just before Melon died. He challenged FDR to follow the clues he had laid out to learn about two great secrets from America's past, one relating to the ratification of the 16th Amendment. FDR died before he undertook the quest, but now other people are on the trail of the secrets.

A tax-evader, Anan Wayne Howell, has written a book setting out the case that the 16th Amendment wasn't properly ratified. A number of people are interested including Kim Young Jin, the discredited son of the late Korean dictator. The Treasury Secretary and the President are concerned enough to put the Magellan Billet, run by Stephanie Nelle, on the case. Cotton Malone, Stephanie's best agent, comes out of retirement to take on the assignment with startling results.

If you like action laced with liberal doses of history, you'll enjoy this book. I thought the author did a good job interspersing the historical mysteries with the action in Europe. The author's notes go into detail about the historical underpinnings of the story. It's quite fascinating. I recommend reading that section after you finish the book.

The characters are predictable. Malone is always on the brink of danger doing what seems to be impossible, but coming out unscathed. Stephanie Nelle is a serviceable character, but not one you can get close to. This book rests more on plot than character, but the plot is interesting.

I reviewed this book for the Amazon Vine Program.