cover image The Lost Constitution

The Lost Constitution

William Martin, . . Forge, $24.95 (512pp) ISBN 978-0-765-31538-0

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. Author tour. (May)