The heart of the narrative takes place during the year-plus that newly-appointed commander General George Washington spent in New York City, 1775-76, preparing for the inevitable and overwhelming British assault against his ragtag Continental Army.
Taking place during the most critical period of our nation’s birth, The First Conspiracy tells a remarkable and previously untold piece of American history that not only reveals George Washington’s character, but also illuminates the origins of America’s counterintelligence movement that led to the modern day CIA.
As if that weren't daunting enough, Washington learns of a treasonous plot within his own elite guard unit. The ensuing effort to expose the traitors and foil the plot has enough surprising twists-and-turns to satisfy the most demanding spy novel fan. New York legislator John Jay leads the investigation, and in the process lays the groundwork for future counterespionage and counterintelligence agencies in the US. Well-written and researched, and highly recommended.
Note: a good chronological follow-up to this history would be Washington's Spies: The Story of America's First Spy Ring, by Alexander Rose, which was adapted into the AMC TV series Turn: Washington's Spies.