Thursday, June 21, 2007

What we're reading - The Lost Constitution by William Martin.

I'm back again with another historically tinged "quest" thriller. This time we are in search of an annotated early draft of the United States Constitution that may have some of the framers personal thoughts on the Bill of Rights and particualarly on the 2nd admendment and our right to bear arms. Topical indeed these days, but William Martin's new book "The Lost Constitution" is a fine read that also gives one some food for thought on the topic [and from both extreme sides of the issue]. Besides, my Aunt gave it thumbs up for its New England settings. Between William Martin and Steve Berry [see my March 20th post on The Alexandria Link] it looks like I now have two new authors to enjoy their earlier if I only had the time! Look for "The Lost Constitution" on the library's bookshelves and on the beaches this summer!

From Publishers Weekly - A rare, annotated draft of the U.S. Constitution is at the heart of Martin's entertaining third novel to feature antiquarian book dealer Peter Fallon. As in Harvard Yard (2003), Martin tells two stories. The first chronicles the loss and recovery of the document at the time of the constitutional convention, where young Will Pike attends Massachusetts delegate Rufus King, and its passing through generations of the Pike family to the present. The second traces Fallon's search against deadly competition to find the draft. Throughout, Martin makes clear that people have always tried to use the Constitution for their own purposes, including right-wing Christian fanatics, survivalist gun nuts, liberal gun-banners and greedy entrepreneurs now seeking the lost draft. The Pike family motto: "In America, we get up in the morning, we go to work, and we solve our problems" serves as a unifying theme, and Martin also makes clear that the Constitution—drafts and all—was intended as a unifying agent. This is a good mystery, a better examination of constitutional issues and a superb paean to New England, its people, natural beauty and resources.

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