Brad Meltzer’s new mystery novel—The Inner Circle, the no. 1 bestseller on the most recent New York Times list—is all about the National Archives.
“I came to visit and I fell in love. Truly,” Meltzer says in an interview about the book in the forthcoming issue of Prologue, the quarterly magazine of the National Archives.
“Lost history, secret documents, long-forgotten letters from Presidents and other big shots—all of which tell the true history of our nation. How could a history nut not fall in love?”
In The Inner Circle, an Archives staff archivist discovers an unusual document in a very strange place that leads him to some surprising revelations about the government. But while the story is fiction, the setting is not. To research The Inner Circle, Meltzer, who had always walked by the National Archives Building in downtown Washington, DC, while researching other novels, finally came in from the cold and shadowed staffers in many of the Archives’ divisions.
“I was most amazed by the fact that you still have people combing through documents from the founding of our country,” he says. And yes, he says, he’s more appreciative of the work people do to understand and keep safe the nation’s documents.
Have you read The Inner Circle? Meltzer says he was inspired by the people he met—did you recognize any of our National Archives staff? You can read the first chapter on his web site.