The Alexandria Link (Cotton Malone Series #2)

( 240 )

Overview

Cotton Malone retired from the high-risk world of elite operatives for the U.S. Justice Department to lead the low-key life of a rare-book dealer. But his quiet existence is shattered when he receives an anonymous e-mail: “You have something I want. You’re the only person on earth who knows where to find it. Go get it. You have 72 hours. If I don’t hear from you, you will be childless.” His horrified ex-wife confirms that the threat is real: Their teenage son has been kidnapped. When Malone’s Copenhagen bookshop ...

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Overview

Cotton Malone retired from the high-risk world of elite operatives for the U.S. Justice Department to lead the low-key life of a rare-book dealer. But his quiet existence is shattered when he receives an anonymous e-mail: “You have something I want. You’re the only person on earth who knows where to find it. Go get it. You have 72 hours. If I don’t hear from you, you will be childless.” His horrified ex-wife confirms that the threat is real: Their teenage son has been kidnapped. When Malone’s Copenhagen bookshop is burned to the ground, it becomes brutally clear that those responsible will stop at nothing to get what they want. And what they want is nothing less than the lost Library of Alexandria.

A cradle of ideas–historical, philosophical, literary, scientific, and religious–the Library of Alexandria was unparalleled in the world. But fifteen hundred years ago, it vanished into the mists of myth and legend–its vast bounty of wisdom coveted ever since by scholars, fortune hunters, and those who believe its untold secrets hold the key to ultimate power.

Now a cartel of wealthy international moguls, bent on altering the course of history, is desperate to breach the library’s hallowed halls–and only Malone possesses the information they need to succeed. At stake is an explosive ancient document with the potential not only to change the destiny of the Middle East but to shake the world’s three major religions to their very foundations.

Pursued by a lethal mercenary, Malone crosses the globe in search of answers. His quest will lead him to England and Portugal, even to the highest levels of American government–and the shattering outcome, deep in the Sinai desert, will have worldwide repercussions.

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  • The Alexandria Link
    The Alexandria Link  

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Cotton Malone, of Templar Legacy fame, can't stay away from trouble. Like many other former operatives, he longs for the quiet life of a bookseller, so he buys a rare bookshop in Copenhagen and settles into a new vocation. But his dreams of days spent ruminating over antiquarian editions vanish with the revelation that his son has been kidnapped. Perhaps to italicize that point, somebody torches his shop. The kidnappers have only a single demand, but that imperative is impossible: They want "the Alexandria link," the key to the whereabouts of the ancient lost library of Alexandria. Malone holds the key, but something prevents him from relinquishing it. That painful conundrum serves as the engine for this Da Vinci Code-style thriller.
Library Journal
Cotton Malone, Berry's protagonist from The Templar Legacy, returns in another globe-hopping adventure. While Cotton is working at his bookstore, his ex-wife appears and tells him that their son has been kidnapped. The ransom demand is the Alexandria Link, a source that leads to the ancient library thought to have been destroyed centuries ago. The knowledge contained in the hidden archive could change the world. Forced back into the world of espionage he wanted to forget, Cotton takes his ex-wife along while trying to rescue his son and keep the truth of the link a secret. As in the previous Malone mystery, contemporary issues and page-turning thriller elements combine with history in shocking ways. Fans of this type of thriller and readers who have already discovered Berry will not be disappointed. For all fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ10/1/06; see Q&A with Berry on p. 94.—Ed.]
—Jeff Ayers
Kirkus Reviews
European billionaires, Israelis, Saudis and Americans shoot it out in an international search for ancient manuscripts that could drastically alter the map of the Middle East. Having rested up from their great labors, the cast of The Templar Legacy (2006) faces new perils as they are thrown headlong into yet another there's-been-a-huge-misunderstanding religious mystery. The ceaseless action begins with the kidnapping of the teenage son of former American secret-agent-turned-bookseller Cotton Malone, whose understandably panicked ex-wife has jetted to Copenhagen, where he now lives. There is the usual warning to keep the police out of it, but Malone has enough sense to enlist the help of his elderly but capable billionaire pal Henrik Thorvaldsen after shadowy evil-doers torch the bookstore as a warning. The kidnapper is Dominick Sabre, murderous right-hand man of elderly but malevolent billionaire Alfred Hermann, current big cheese in the Order of the Golden Fleece, a cabal of super-rich European moguls with a taste for world-scenario management. Thorvaldsen, a Jew, is also in the Order, giving him access to Hermann's plotting, which has to do with the possibility that much of the great library at Alexandria was shifted offsite before its destruction. Amid the ancient papyri and scrolls may be some early Old Testaments that point to serious geographic misunderstandings over the millennia, mistakes that would undermine the claims of the world's three monotheistic religions. Given a deadline-or the kid dies-to find his old pal George Haddad, who holds the clues to the location of the library, Malone jets to London, ex-wife in tow, in time to see Haddad assassinated, which forces him into anuneasy alliance with the treacherous Sabre. In the U.S., meanwhile, Malone's former boss uncovers involvement at the Highest Level. The president's life is in danger. Fast action and wild plotting largely mask lackluster prose in Berry's latest what-if thriller.
From the Publisher
Praise for Steve Berry

The Templar Legacy

“Richly detailed and fantastically suspenseful, this thriller grips the reader for a wild literary ride that continues until the very last page.”
–Tucson Citizen

The Third Secret

“A racy read . . . skillfully combines Vatican insights, old-fashioned thrills, intrigue, murder, ambition and retribution.”
–Orlando Sentinel

The Romanov Prophecy

“Perfect for thriller fans and history buffs alike. Fabulous plot twists.”
–David Morrell, author of Creepers

The Amber Room

“Sexy, illuminating . . . my kind of thriller.”
–Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345485762
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/27/2007
  • Series: Cotton Malone Series , #2
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 512
  • Sales rank: 115,674
  • Product dimensions: 4.19 (w) x 7.53 (h) x 1.26 (d)

Meet the Author

Steve Berry

Steve Berry is the New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author of The Lincoln Myth, The King’s Deception, The Columbus Affair, The Jefferson Key, The Emperor’s Tomb, The Paris Vendetta, The Charlemagne Pursuit, The Venetian Betrayal, The Alexandria Link, The Templar Legacy, The Third Secret, The Romanov Prophecy, and The Amber Room. His books have been translated into 40 languages with more than 18,000,000 copies in 51 countries.
 
History lies at the heart of every Steve Berry novel. It’s this passion, one he shares with his wife, Elizabeth, that led them to create History Matters, a foundation dedicated to historic preservation. Since 2009 Steve and Elizabeth have traveled across the country to save endangered historic treasures, raising money via lectures, receptions, galas, luncheons, dinners, and their popular writers’ workshops. To date, nearly 2,500 students have attended those workshops. In 2012 their work was recognized by the American Library Association, which named Steve the first spokesman for National Preservation Week. He was also appointed by the Smithsonian Board of Regents to serve on the Smithsonian Libraries Advisory Board to help promote and support the libraries in their mission to provide information in all forms to scientists, curators, scholars, students, and the public at large. He has received the Royden B. Davis Distinguished Author Award and the 2013 Writers for Writers Award from Poets & Writers. His novel The Columbus Affair earned him the Anne Frank Human Writes Award, and his historic preservation work merited the 2013 Silver Bullet from International Thriller Writers.
 
Steve Berry was born and raised in Georgia, graduating from the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University. He was a trial lawyer for 30 years and held elective office for 14 of those years. He is a founding member of International Thriller Writers—a group of more than 2,600 thriller writers from around the world—and served three years as its co-president.
 
For more information, visit www.steveberry.org.

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Read an Excerpt

ONE

Copenhagen, Denmark

Tuesday, October 4
The present

1:45 am

Cotton Malone stared straight into the face of trou- ble. Outside his bookshop’s open front door stood his ex-wife, the last person on earth he’d expected to see. He quickly registered panic in her tired eyes, remembered the pounding that had awoken him a few minutes before, and instantly thought of his son.

“Where’s Gary?” he asked.

“You son of a bitch. They took him. Because of you. They took him.” She lunged forward, her closed fists crashing down onto his shoulders. “You sorry son of a bitch.” He grabbed her wrists and stopped the attack as she started crying. “I left you because of this. I thought this kind of thing was over.”

“Who took Gary?” More sobs were his answer. He kept hold of her arms. “Pam. Listen to me. Who took Gary?”

She stared at him. “How the hell am I supposed to know?”

“What are you doing here? Why didn’t you go to the police?”

“Because they said not to. They said if I went anywhere near the police, Gary was dead. They said they would know, and I believed them.”

“Who’s they?”

She wrenched her arms free, her face flooded with anger. “I don’t know. All they said was for me to wait two days, then come here and give you this.” She rummaged through her shoulder bag and produced a phone. Tears continued to rain down her cheeks. “They said for you to go online and open your e-mail.”

Had he heard right? Go online and open your e-mail?

He flipped open the phone and checked the frequency. Enough megahertz to make it world-capable. Which made him wonder. Suddenly he felt vulnerable. Højbro Plads was quiet. At this late hour no one roamed the city square.

His senses came alive.

“Get inside.” And he yanked her into the shop and closed the door. He hadn’t switched on any lights.

“What is it?” she asked, her voice shredded by fear.

He faced her. “I don’t know, Pam. You tell me. Our son has apparently been taken by God-knows-who, and you wait two days before telling a soul about it? That didn’t strike you as insane?”

“I wasn’t going to jeopardize his life.”

“And I would? How have I ever done that?”

“By being you,” she said in a frigid tone, and he instantly recalled why he no longer lived with her.

A thought occurred to him. She’d never been to Denmark. “How did you find me?”

“They told me.”

“Who the hell is they?”

“I don’t know, Cotton. Two men. Only one did the talking. Tall, dark-haired, flat face.”

“American?”

“How would I know?”

“How did he speak?”

She seemed to catch hold of herself. “No. Not American. They had accents. European.”

He motioned with the phone. “What am I supposed to do with this?”

“He said to open your e-mail and it would be explained.”

She glanced nervously around at the shelves cast in shadows. “Upstairs, right?”

Gary would have told her he lived over the store. He certainly hadn’t. They’d spoken only once since he’d retired from the Justice Department and left Georgia last year, and that had been two months back, in August, when he’d brought Gary home after their summer visit. She’d coldly told him that Gary was not his natural son. Instead the boy was the product of an affair from sixteen years ago, her response to his own infidelity. He’d wrestled with that demon ever since and had not, as yet, come to terms with its implications. One thing he’d decided at the time—he had no intention of ever speaking to Pam Malone again. Whatever needed to be said would be said between him and Gary.

But things seemed to have changed.

“Yeah,” he said. “Upstairs.”

They entered his apartment, and he sat at the desk. He switched on his laptop and waited for the programs to boot. Pam had finally grabbed hold of her emotions. She was like that. Her moods ran in waves. Soaring highs and cavernous lows. She was a lawyer, like him, but where he’d worked for the government, she handled high-stakes trials for Fortune 500 companies that could afford to pay her firm’s impressive fees. When she’d first gone to law school he’d thought the decision a reflection of him, a way for them to share a life together. Later he’d learned it was a way for her to gain independence.

That was Pam.

The laptop was ready. He accessed his mailbox.

Empty.

“Nothing here.”

Pam rushed toward him. “What do you mean? He said to open your e-mail.”

“That was two days ago. And by the way, how did you get here?”

“They had a ticket, already bought.”

He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “Are you nuts? What you did was give them a two-day head start.”

“Don’t you think I know that?” she yelled. “You think I’m a complete idiot? They told me my phones were tapped and I was being watched. If I varied from their instructions, even a little, Gary was dead. They showed me a picture.” She caught herself and tears flowed anew. “His eyes . . . oh, his eyes.” She broke down again. “He was scared.”

His chest throbbed and his temples burned. He’d intentionally left behind a life of daily danger to find something new. Had that life now hunted him down? He grabbed the edge of the desk. It would do no good for both of them to fall apart. If whoever they were wanted Gary dead, then he was already. No. Gary was a bargaining chip—a way to apparently gain his undivided attention.

The laptop dinged.

His gaze shot to the screen’s lower-right corner: receiving mail. Then he saw greetings appear on the from line and your son’s life noted as the subject. He maneuvered the cursor and opened the e-mail.

YOU HAVE SOMETHING I WANT. THE ALEXANDRIA LINK. YOU HID IT AND YOU’RE THE ONLY PERSON ON EARTH WHO KNOWS WHERE TO FIND IT. GO GET IT. YOU HAVE 72 HOURS. WHEN YOU HAVE IT, HIT THE NUMBER 2 BUTTON ON THE PHONE. IF I DON’T HEAR FROM YOU AT THE END OF 72 HOURS, YOU WILL BE CHILDLESS. IF DURING THAT TIME YOU SCREW WITH ME, YOUR SON WILL LOSE A VITAL APPENDAGE. 72 HOURS. FIND IT AND WE’LL TRADE.

Pam was standing behind him. “What’s the Alexandria Link?”

He said nothing. He couldn’t. He was indeed the only person on earth who knew, and he’d given his word.

“Whoever sent that message knows all about it. What is it?”

He stared at the screen and knew there’d be no way to trace the message. The sender, like himself, surely knew how to use black holes—computer servers that randomly routed e-mails through an electronic maze. Not impossible to follow, but difficult.

He stood from the chair and ran a hand through his hair. He’d meant to get a haircut yesterday. He worked the sleep from his shoulders and sucked a few deep breaths. He’d earlier slipped on a pair of jeans and a long-sleeved shirt that hung open, exposing a gray undershirt, and he was suddenly chilled by fear.

“Dammit, Cotton—”

“Pam, shut up. I have to think. You’re not helping.”

“I’m not helping? What the—”

The cell phone rang. Pam lunged for it, but he cut her off and said, “Leave it.”

“What do you mean? It could be Gary.”

“Get real.”

He scooped up the phone after the third ring and pushed talk.

“Took long enough,” the male voice said in his ear. He caught a Dutch accent. “And please, no if-you-hurt-that-boy-I’m-going-to-kill-you bra- vado. Neither one of us has the time. Your seventy-two hours have already started.”

Malone stayed silent, but he recalled something he learned long ago. Never let the other side set the bargain. “Stick it up your ass. I’m not going anywhere.”

“You take a lot of risks with your son’s life.”

“I see Gary. I talk to him. Then, I go.”

“Take a look outside.”

He rushed to the window. Four stories down Højbro Plads was still quiet, except for two figures standing on the far side of the cobbled expanse.

Both silhouettes shouldered weapons.

Grenade launchers.

“Don’t think so,” the voice said in his ear.

Two projectiles shot through the night and obliterated the windows below him.

Both exploded.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 240 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(112)

4 Star

(83)

3 Star

(29)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(12)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 243 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2007

    Good Story but Factually Flawed

    In general, The Alexandria Link was good read. Berry's writing holds the readers attention as any good thriller should. However, I was somewhat disappointed in the factual accuracy of the book. Similar to the Da Vinci Code, the author takes significant license with the facts. Repeatedly he states that no Old Testament documents now exist earlier than 1000 A.D. 'The Masoretic Hebrew Text'. Further, he states that the Septuagint 'OT in Greek' was the primary source for the OT translation. Both of these assertions are wrong. First, the oldest Old Testaments documents are the Dead Sea Scrolls 'in Ancient Hebrew' found at Quran and date from 200 years before Christ. Second, while the Septuagint has been used as a corroborative source there are numerous other OT documents from the period were also used. In short, A for a good story, F on the facts.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2011

    The Alexandria Library

    Thought provoking premise with a political twist. Very good reading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 14, 2011

    A must read!

    The second in the Cotton Malone series is a great read. Lots of action and well written. I love it when a writer doesn't feel the need to impress their audience with huge words or convoluted meanings... just a great story told very well. Another great book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 21, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Unabridged Audible Book was Great

    The unabridged audible book took about 18 hours to finish. My husband and I listened to it during 2 trips back and forth between Southern Ca and Northern Ca. This was the first fictional book my husband has "read" and he was hooked after finishing it - wanting to start the next book. At times, the details were a bit droning, but overall, it was exciting - probably could have done well with the abridged version. I absolutely loved how Steve Berry brings intricate religious conspiracy theories to life. His books are believable and well written with solid characters. Entertaining, and this book stands well alone without reading the Templar Legacy first. (I read it, my husband did not but we both enjoyed the book). This book, though fictional, doesn't seem that unlikely! Makes for a puzzling feeling afterwards.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 17, 2011

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    I Also Recommend:

    This time they make the story hit Cotton on a personal level - good read

    Suspensful, lots of twists and turns, love the religous aspects of the story and the way Cotton Malone gets pulled into so many things even though he's "retired." This particular story is made personal to him with lots of high stakes.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2010

    Intellectual Thriller

    While it follows some of the hallmarks of the type of international conspiracy thriller made famous by Robert Ludlum, it departs from the mold by nature of the main character. By making Cotton Malone a retired agent (they are almost always retired) who is now a rare-book dealer, Berry gives it a twist from those series that have come before it. It makes the plot revolve more around intellectual issues than standard political and economic issues (even though they are involved).
    As a scholar of Judaism (I am rabbi), I found the Biblical part to be credibly written while remaining incorrect. I do not view it as Anti-Semitic in any way (as a previous reviewer did) but it does portray Israel in a negative light.
    One shouldn't read this type of book to learn history but to have fun!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 12, 2010

    Historically,Archeologically Inaccurate and Anti-Semitic

    It might be an action thriller but it is a piece of fiction and any historic claims that are made are false. It is the most inaccurate book I've seen in a long time. Who was Steve Berry's research assistant?

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2010

    Not a Book for Christians who value the Bible

    I was shocked by his character's attack of the Hebrew scriptures and threw the book away without finishing it. I do not appreciate the attitude that the Bible is incorrect and that is why Israel is in the middle east and how the Palestinians are being "picked on" by Israel. In 2001, Palestine attacked Israel so many times....suicide bombers hitting buses and coffee shops and killing men, women and children and to listen to this attempt to rewrite history, by this author, was disgusting. He obviously doesn't think much of Israel or the Christian faith.

    1 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 8, 2013

    I just finished reading this book. I shouldn't have. And I ten

    I just finished reading this book. I shouldn't have. And I tend to enjoy fun novels, even if they aren't perfect. Matthew Reilly, James Rollins, yes even Dan Brown, if the writing is done well and the characters made to be believable. But this? I would have given it no stars.

    [there may be spoilers. you have been warned.]

    I had initial misgivings at, oh, page 2. The portrayal of the 1948 war in Israel was laughably inaccurate. I assumed that, maybe, Berry was writing that way for dramatic effect, to show you what the main character in that scene was feeling. However, as the pages went on, the historical inaccuracies and outright lies over what occured - and is still happening - in the Middle East was downright disturbing. How could he get all these facts wrong? A fully-armed Israeli army in 1948, murdering thousands of Palestinians? What books was he using for his research? Was he even using research at all, or just gobbling up the propaganda of "poor Palestinians!" that is so prevalant in American liberal society? It's a dangerous political zone to be messing with.

    I should have stopped there, but I always have a hard time putting a book down in the middle. Besides, I couldn't believe anyone could be THAT anti-semetic and still have so many books published. Maybe things would change.

    Then came the plot device based solely on Kamal Salibi's theory that Israel was never where it is now, but the ancient Jews originally settled in Saudi Arabia. Salibi based his idea on the similarity of the names of the region in the Arabian peninsula to the Old Testament names of places. Any person who enjoys history knows that whenever a radical theory emerges, there will always be those who disagree, maybe even the majority. But Salibi's crackpot theory was published in the early 80's and NO ONE agrees with him. A clue? Maybe because it's ludicrous. Not a single historian takes this guy seriously - except Berry tries to pass this off to us as a plausibility. Sure, it's plausible. As one reviewer pointed out, it's about as plausible as Atlantis being in Georgia because it sounds similar to Atlanta. Utter tripe. Not only that, but combined with the anti-semetic overtones it could actually further anti-Jewish or anti-Israeli sentiments among ignorant readers who absorb the information without doing any research. A little information - especially WRONG information - is a seriously dangerous thing.

    Not to mention the lack of character development. I honestly didn't care about any of them. This isn't Cotton Malone's first book, nor is it Stephanie's, Thorvaldsen's or Vitt's. And none of them interested me. They lacked dimension and likeability. I love books in which we get to see the same characters over and over again, because we get to know them better and better, see how they react, develop and hopefully attract our attention. But not these guys.

    Overall, don't waste your time. Read Orson Scott Card's response "Evil Fiction" regarding the historical inaccuracies and save yourself a ton of time. Find a different author, I know I will.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2013

    Join videogame rp at...

    Videogames all results!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Posted November 22, 2011

    Outstanding story

    This us the third book in the series I have read and plan to read all of them. The story lines are exiting and history plays a big part. You do need to read the information at the end of the book to sort out true historical facts and the writer's fictional license. Great read.

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  • Posted September 10, 2011

    Another great read by Steve Berry!

    I really enjoyed the book which mixed adventure with great characters and plot. Will read more by this author.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 29, 2010

    Loved this book!!

    I plan to read the rest, such a great writer!!

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  • Posted August 18, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Alexandria Link Rocks

    I have read previous Steve Berry Books Before But This one Tops The Cake. This Fast Pace excellent read is great for fellow adventure readers. I am now reading Book 3 The Venetian Betrayal.

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  • Posted March 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Not Bad

    Pretty good read. A little long winded but presented some interesting conversational topics. Makes you wonder how much of history has been altered for political or economic gain. I've already started the 3rd book of the Cotton Malone series so I'm in for the long haul. Give it a read!

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  • Posted October 4, 2009

    Entertaining story, very entertaining, & a pleasure to read & experience.

    I like Steve Berry's work! He does good research, and uses it well. The susspense builds continually and the "obious" solutions don't ALWAYS turn out that way. I find myself caring about the characters & their stories. I recommend it to anyone with an interest in mysteries & history.

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  • Posted September 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    History buffs will love it

    Action, history, believable characters, and wonderful mental images. I enjoyed it completely.

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  • Posted September 16, 2009

    A fun read

    While reading the adventures of Cotton Malone, I am pulled into his surroundings. The author does a wonderful job of setting the secene and describing the location. I feel as if I am moving through the bolevards, back streets of Europe. The action is well paced, the characters are balanced and believable. I look forward to each new adventure.

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  • Posted September 13, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Uh Oh! This One Is Controversial

    Take a ride on the Alexandria Link and explore new realms of geo-political controversy! If it's a ride you're looking for, you'll find it here. But watch out, there are some scarey turns and unexpected jolts! I hope you don't have a heart attack.

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  • Posted August 8, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    The Alexandria Link

    The Alexandria Link captured my mind and would not let go. Steven Berry laid out an amazing story with the elements of blockbuster political thriller and the discovery of hidden secrets that if revealed would rock the civilized world to its foundations. And the characters are cool! Four stars! I won't reveal the secret, but believe me, it's a good one. Have fun!

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