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.
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.]
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.
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.”
The Third Secret
“A racy read . . . skillfully combines Vatican insights, old-fashioned thrills, intrigue, murder, ambition and retribution.”
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