NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “All the Steve Berry hallmarks are here: scale, scope, sweep, history—plus breathless second-by-second suspense. I love this guy.”—Lee Child
Former Justice Department operative Cotton Malone wakes to find an intruder in his Copenhagen bookshop: an American Secret Service agent with assassins on his heels. Narrowly surviving a ferocious firefight, the two journey to the secluded estate of Malone’s friend Henrik Thorvaldsen. The wily Danish tycoon has uncovered the insidious plans of the Paris Club, a cabal of multimillionaires bent on manipulating the global economy. But Thorvaldsen also harbors a hidden agenda—a vendetta—that will force Malone to choose between friend and country, past and present. Starting in Denmark, moving to England, and ending up in the storied streets and cathedrals of Paris, Malone is forced to match wits with a terrorist for hire and to plunge into a desperate hunt for Napoleon’s legendary treasure, lost for two hundred years. It’s a breathless game of duplicity and death, all to claim a prize of untold value. But at what cost?
BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Steve Berry’s The Columbus Affair and a Cotton Malone dossier.
Praise for The Paris Vendetta
“Outstanding . . . Berry has become the modern master of the thriller form.”—Providence Journal-Bulletin
“Thrilling . . . exciting and fast-paced . . . a worthy addition to a fine series.”—Wichita Falls Times Record News
“Steve Berry gets better and better with each new book. . . . [In The Paris Vendetta] there are assassination plots, searches for hidden treasure, battles between enemies and even friends, and a taste of romance. . . . Bring on the next one!”—The Huffington Post
“This well-crafted thriller also offers plenty of surprises.” —Publishers Weekly
“Berry has written another amazing blend of suspense and history. Fans will love it, and for newcomers it’s the perfect place to start. . . . [Readers] cannot go wrong with Cotton Malone.” —Library Journal
About the Author
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.
Read an Excerpt
sunday, december 23, the present
The bullet tore into Cotton Malone’s left shoulder.
He fought to ignore the pain and focused on the plaza. People rushed in all directions. Horns blared. Tires squealed. Marines guarding the nearby American embassy reacted to the chaos, but were too far away to help. Bodies were strewn about. How many? Eight? Ten? No. More. A young man and woman lay at contorted angles on a nearby patch of oily asphalt, the man’s eyes frozen open, alight with shock—the woman, facedown, gushing blood. Malone had spotted two gunmen and immediately shot them both, but never saw the third, who’d clipped him with a single round and was now trying to flee, using panicked bystanders for cover.
Dammit, the wound hurt. Fear struck his face like a wave of fire. His legs went limp as he fought to raise his right arm. The Beretta seemed to weigh tons, not ounces.
Pain jarred his senses. He sucked deep breaths of sulfur-laced air and finally forced his finger to work the trigger, which only squeaked, and did not fire.
More squeaks could be heard as he tried to fire again.
Then the world dissolved to black.
Malone awoke, cleared the dream from his mind—one that had recurred many times over the past two years—and studied the bedside clock.
He was lying atop the bed in his apartment, the nightstand’s lamp still on from when he’d plopped down two hours ago.
Something had roused him. A sound. Part of the dream from Mexico City, yet not.
He heard it again.
Three squeaks in quick succession.
His building was 17th century, completely remodeled a few months ago. From the second to the third floor the new wooden risers now announced themselves in a precise order, like keys on a piano.
Which meant someone was there.
He reached beneath the bed and found the rucksack he always kept at the ready from his Magellan Billet days. Inside, his right hand gripped the Beretta, the same one from Mexico City, a round already chambered.
Another habit he was glad he hadn’t shucked.
He crept from the bedroom.
His fourth-floor apartment was less than a thousand square feet. Besides the bedroom, there was a den, kitchen, bath, and several closets. Lights burned in the den, where a doorway opened to the stairway. His bookshop consumed the ground floor, and the second and third floors were used exclusively for storage and work space.
He found the doorway and hugged the inner jamb.
No sound had revealed his advance, as he’d kept his steps light and his shoes to the carpet runners. He still wore his clothes from yesterday. He’d worked late last night after a busy Saturday before Christmas. It was good to be a bookseller again. That was supposedly his profession now. So why was he holding a gun in the middle of the night, every one of his senses telling him danger was nearby?
He risked a glance through the doorway. Stairs led to a landing, then angled downward. He’d switched off the lights earlier before climbing up for the night, and there were no three-way switches. He cursed himself for not including some during the remodeling. One thing that had been added was a metal banister lining the stair’s outer edge.
He fled the apartment and slid down the slick brass rail to the next landing. No sense announcing his presence with more creaks from other wooden risers.
Carefully, he glanced down into the void.
Dark and quiet.
He slid to the next landing and worked his way around to where he could spy the third floor. Amber lights from Højbro Plads leaked in through the building’s front windows and lit the space beyond the doorway with an orange halo. He kept his inventory there—books bought from people who, every day, lugged them in by the boxload. “Buy for cents, sell for euros.” That was the used-book business. Do it enough and you made money. Even better, every once in a while a real treasure arrived inside one of the boxes. Those he kept on the second floor, in a locked room. So unless someone had forced that door, whoever was here had fled into the open third floor.
He slid down the last railing and assumed a position outside the third-floor doorway. The room beyond, maybe forty by twenty feet, was littered with boxes stacked several feet high.
“What do you want?” he asked, his back pressed to the outer wall.
He wondered if it had only been the dream that had sparked his alert. Twelve years as a Justice Department agent had certainly stamped paranoia on his personality, and the last two weeks had taken a toll—one he hadn’t bargained for but had accepted as the price of truth.
“Tell you what,” he said. “I’m going back upstairs. Whoever you are, if you want something, come on up. If not, get the hell out of my shop.”
He started for the stairs.
“I came to see you,” a male said from inside the storage room.
He stopped and noted the voice’s nuances. Young. Late twenties, early thirties. American, with a trace of an accent. And calm. Just matter-of-fact.
“So you break into my shop?”
“I had to.”
The voice was close now, just on the other side of the doorway. He retreated from the wall and aimed the gun, waiting for the speaker to show himself.
A shadowy form appeared in the doorway.
Medium height, thin, wearing a waist-length coat. Short hair. Hands at his sides, both empty. The face blocked by the night.
He kept the gun aimed and said, “I need a name.”
“What do you want?”
“Henrik Thorvaldsen is in trouble.”
“What else is new?”
“People are coming to kill him.”
“We have to get to Thorvaldsen.”
He kept the gun aimed, finger on the trigger. If Sam Collins so much as shuddered he’d cut him down. But he had a feeling, the sort agents acquired through hard-fought experience, one that told him this young man was not lying.
“What people?” he asked again.
“We need to go to him.”
He heard glass break from below.
“Another thing,” Sam Collins said. “Those people. They’re coming after me, too.”
Graham Ashby stood atop the Place du Dujon and admired the tranquil harbor. Around him, crumbly pastel houses were stacked like crates among churches, the olden structures overshadowed by the plain stone tower that had become his perch. His yacht, Archimedes, lay at anchor half a kilometer away in the Vieux Port. He admired its sleek, illuminated silhouette against the silvery water. Winter’s second night had spawned a cool dry wind from the north that swept across Bastia. A holiday stillness hung heavy, Christmas was only two days away, but he could not care less.
The Terra Nova, once Bastia’s center of military and administrative activity, had now become a quarter of affluence with lofty apartments and trendy shops lining a maze of cobbled streets. A few years ago, he’d almost invested in the boom, but decided against it. Real estate, especially along the Mediterranean shoreline, no longer brought the return it once had.
He gazed northeast at the Jetée du Dragon, an artificial quay that had not existed just a few decades ago. To build it, engineers had destroyed a giant lion-shaped rock dubbed the Leone, which once blocked the harbor and had figured prominently in many pre-twentieth-century engravings. When Archimedes had cruised into the protected waters two hours ago, he’d quickly spotted the unlit castle keep upon which he now stood—built by the island’s 14th century Genoese governors—and wondered if tonight would be the night.
He hoped so.
Corsica was not one of his favorite places. Nothing but a mountain springing from the sea, 115 miles long, 52 miles wide, 5,500 square miles, 600 miles of coast. Its geography varied from alpine peaks to deep gorges, pine forests, glacial lakes, pastures, fertile valleys, and even some desert. At one time or another Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Aragonese, Italians, Brits, and the French had conquered, but none had ever subjugated the island’s rebellious spirit.
Another reason why he’d passed on investing. Far too many variables in this unruly French département.
The industrious Genoese founded Bastia in 1380 and built fortresses to protect it, his tower perch one of the last remaining. The town had served as the capital of the island until 1791, when Napoleon decided that his birthplace, Ajaccio, in the south, would be better. He knew the locals had still not forgiven the little emperor for that transgression.
He buttoned his Armani overcoat and stood close to a medieval parapet. His tailored shirt, trousers, and sweater clung to his fifty-eight-year-old frame with a reassuring feel. He bought all his ensembles at Kingston & Knight, as had his father and grandfather. Yesterday a London barber had spent half an hour trimming his gray mane, eliminating those pale waves that seemed to make him look older. He was proud at how he retained the appearance and vigor of a more youthful man and, as he continued to gaze out past a dark Bastia, at the Tyrrhenian Sea, he savored the satisfaction of a man who’d truly arrived.
He glanced at his watch.
He’d come to solve a mystery, one that had tantalized treasure hunters for more than sixty years, and he detested tardiness.
He heard footsteps from the nearby staircase that angled its way twenty meters upward. During the day, tourists climbed to gawk at the scenery and snap pictures. At this hour no one visited.
A man appeared in the weak light.
He was small, with a headful of bushy hair. Two deep lines cut the flesh from above the nostrils to his mouth. His skin was as brown as a walnut shell, the dark pigments heightened by a white mustache.
And he was dressed like a cleric.
The skirts of a black soutane swished as he walked closer.
“Lord Ashby, I apologize for my lateness, but it could not be helped.”
“A priest?” he asked, pointing to the robe.
“I thought a disguise best for tonight. Few ask questions of them.” The man grabbed a few breaths, winded from the climb.
Ashby had selected this hour with great care and timed his arrival with English precision. But everything was now out of kilter by nearly half an hour.
“I detest unpleasantness,” he said, “but sometimes a frank, face-to-face discussion is necessary.” He pointed a finger. “You, sir, are a liar.”
“That I am. I freely admit.”
“You cost me time and money, neither of which I like to expend.”
“Unfortunately, Lord Ashby, I find myself in short supply of both.” The man paused. “And I knew you needed my help.”
Last time he’d allowed this man to learn too much.
Something had happened in Corsica on September 15, 1943. Six crates were brought west from Italy by boat. Some said they were dumped into the sea, near Bastia, others believed they were hauled ashore. All accounts agreed that five Germans participated. Four of them were court-martialed for leaving the treasure in a place that would soon be in Allied hands, and they were shot. The fifth was exonerated. Unfortunately he was not privy to the final hiding place, so he searched in vain for the rest of his life.
As had many others.
“Lies are all the weapons I possess,” the Corsican made clear. “It’s what keeps powerful men like you at bay.”
“I dare say, I’m not much older than you. Though my status is not as infamous. Quite a reputation you have, Lord Ashby.”
He acknowledged the observation with a nod. He understood what an image could do to, and for, a person. His family had, for three centuries, possessed a controlling interest in one of England’s oldest lending institutions. He was now the sole holder of that interest. The British press once described his luminous gray eyes, Roman nose, and flick of a smile as the visage of an aristocrat. A reporter a few years ago labeled him imposing, while another described him as swarthy and saturnine. He didn’t necessarily mind the reference to his dark complexion—something his half-Turkish mother had bestowed upon him—but it bothered him that he might be regarded as sullen and morose.
“I assure you, good sir,” he said. “I am not a man you should fear.”
The Corsican laughed. “I should hope not. Violence would accomplish nothing. After all, you seek Rommel’s gold. Quite a treasure. And I might know where it waits.”
This man was as obtrusive as he was observant. But he was also an admitted liar. “You led me on a tangent.”
The dark form laughed. “You were pushing hard. I can’t afford any public attention. Others could know. This is a small island and, if we find this treasure, I want to be able to keep my portion.”
This man worked for the Assemblée de Corse, out of Ajaccio. A minor official in the Corsican regional government, who possessed convenient access to a great deal of information.
“And who would take what we find from us?” he asked.
“People here, in Bastia, who continue to search. More who live in France and Italy. Men have died for this treasure.”
This fool apparently preferred conversations to move slowly, offering mere hints and suggestions, leading by tiny degrees to his point.
But Ashby did not have the time.
He signaled and another man exited the stairway. He wore a charcoal overcoat that blended well with his stiff gray hair. His eyes were piercing, his thin face tapered to a pointed chin. He walked straight to the Corsican and stopped.
“This is Mr. Guildhall,” Ashby said. “Perhaps you recall him from our last visit?”
The Corsican extended his hand, but Guildhall kept his hands in his coat pockets.
“I do,” the Corsican said. “Does he ever smile?”
Ashby shook his head. “Terrible thing. A few years ago Mr. Guildhall was involved in a nasty altercation, during which his face and neck were slashed. He healed, as you can see, but the lasting effect was nerve damage that prevents the muscles in his face from fully functioning. Hence, no smile.”
“And the person who slashed him?”
“Ah, an excellent inquiry. Quite dead. Broken neck.”
He saw that his point had been made, so he turned to Guildhall and asked, “What did you find?”
His employee removed a small volume from his pocket and handed it over. In the weak light he noted the faded title, in French. Napoleon, From the Tuileries to St. Helena. One of countless memoirs that had appeared in print after Napoleon died in 1821.
“How . . . did you get that?” the Corsican asked.
Turnabout Is Fair Play,
Especially in Marriage
I'm frequently asked about research and whether I actually travel to the places in the novels. The answer I always provide is that my wife, Elizabeth, and I make at least one trip per book --- targeted at a specific locale.
For The Paris Vendetta we spent 4 days in the City of Light.
The Eiffel Tower plays a critical role in The Paris Vendetta. Some exciting action sequences occur atop it's 900 foot summit. To visit the uppermost platform you have to ride a glass-enclosed, exterior elevator. The experience can be unnerving since it feels like you're literally floating in the air. Combine that with a car usually packed with nervous people, and the ride can become traumatic.
Especially for someone with a fear of heights, like Elizabeth.
She'd never taken the elevator to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and when we began the ascent, I spotted a mild look of panic in her eye. At times the tower itself can actually sway, so when the girders moved, Elizabeth's panic quickly evolved into terror.
At the summit, she immediately wanted to go back down.
But we couldn't. I told her that I needed to figure out how to kill a bunch of people up there, and she was just going to have to suck it up for an hour. Of course, this comment immediately garnered the attention of security, who, after I explained the situation, were most helpful. Elizabeth sat on one of the steel supports, cowed in the fetal position most of the time, with a guard for company. I spent an hour discovering what I needed, then we left.
Was I insensitive? Selfish? Not caring about my wife's fears? Let me tell you the rest of the story.
A few years ago, on our honeymoon, we visited Ukraine. There, we toured underground caverns occupied by resistance fighters during World War II -- miles of tunnels, a hundred feet below the surface. A literal rat maze of narrow, low-ceilinged passageways, constructed to confuse any invader with multiple dead ends and few or no exits.
The group we were with numbered about 50, led by a local woman. The way was lit by bare light bulbs, spaced every twenty feet, and our guide carried no flashlight. When I asked what would happen if the power was interrupted I was told not to worry, that never happens. Not a good answer.
Never before had I been a hundred feet below the earth, with no way out. Compounding this was the prospect of staying there another hour and the possibility that the power could go off at any time.
I discovered that I did not like it.
The mild look of panic in my eye that day rapidly gestated into terror.
I told Elizabeth I wanted to leave.
And what did my loving wife say?
"You big baby. I want to see what's down here, so you're just going to have to suck it up for an hour."
So you see, what goes around truly does come back around. --Steve Berry
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I love Steve Berry. He is excellent at mixing fictional thriller with historical accuracy in his plot lines.
For those who like to follow Cotton Malone...fast paced and exciting. As in other of these books the weaving of history and action is irresistible. Not my favorite of the Series but well worth the read
A good historical thriller. Even though the villians weren't as villianous as in some of Berry's other books it was good. I appreciated the lack of bad language that sometimes permeates this genre.
This book was okay but lacked the excitement and thrilling aspects of previous Malone series books. I will still read the sixth installment and hope we see more of the previous characters than we did in this book. Where was Vitt?
Danish billionaire Henrik Thorvaldsen obsesses over the terrorist incident in Mexico City that left seven dead including his son. He cannot move on as the brain behind the assault has remained free although he now knows who he is. Henrik sends apparently fired Secret Service Agent Sam Collins to break into the Copenhagen bookstore owned by former United States Department of Justice (DOJ) operative Cotton Malone. The grieving Dane hopes to obtain Malone's cooperation to help bring down the killer Lord Ashby who has ties to a financial cartel the Paris Club planning an assault on the global economy for avaricous gains that the DOJ hopes to counter. The starting point in the plan is a plot to destroy a landmark that could kill hundreds; war is usury profitable for the finance community. With terrific ties to Napoleon in Corsica and an exciting action packed story line, the latest Cotton Malone thriller (see The Charlemagne Pursuit) is a fun read. Filled with twists and over the top of the Eiffel Tower villains, fans will enjoy Malone's newest retirement caper mindful of War, Inc and If Looks Could Kill although not a satire. Malone teams up with a grieving angry father and a First Amendment conspiracy buff to thwart the latest capitalist plot to have the masses finance war with money and blood so the affluent can make outrageous profits. Harriet Klausner
Europe, United States, and places in between makes for an exciting read. This is the best Cotton Malone book so far.
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You want a good thriller¿ pick up any Steve Berry/Cotton Malone book and you'll have one. As usually Steve Berry has taken a small historical fact and woven a tale of international intrigue that will take the reader through the troubles of Napoleon and use them to highlight today's economic issues as well as expand the characters that readers have come to care for. In this 5th Cotton Malone story, the story surrenders Cotton's best friend, Henrik Thorvaldsen, who is searching for the men that were responsible for his son's death. In tracking them down, Henrik gets involved in a dangerous plot by the Paris Club (a financial cartel) to manipulate the world's economy and make billions. Henrik vendetta against his son's killers clashes with the vendetta of the head of the Paris club and Malone is caught smack in the middle.Cotton and Henrik become estranged as they battle the Paris Club members for different reasons but in the end I believe that were emotionally on the same page.As with all the Cotton Malone books, it was action-packed and whirled the reader through historical facts on a fictional road. One drawback, there was a new character introduced - Sam Collins. It seemed that Berry was trying to turn Cotton into a mentor so maybe Sam will be appearing in future books, however, it seemed to detract for the concentration on Cotton and his relationship with Henrik.Overall, a solid addition to the series.
I've read a lot of Steve Berry's books, and I've enjoyed them all. This is definitely one of the best, though. I feel like the plot line for this one rolled along quite well, even when integrating the historical aspects/details. LOVE Cotton Malone! :)
Good author of books about government operatives (Cotton Malone) . Outstanding book.
I'm sad to say it, folks, Mr. Berry has let me down. Something about The Paris Vendetta, the fifth book in the Cotton Malone series, did not catch me as his previous books have. I wasn't hooked, I wasn't excited or thrilled or anticipating the next turn of events. The Paris Vendetta follows former agent Cotton Malone as he's rudely awoken in the middle of the night by a stranger who says his good friend Henrik sent him. So begins a European cat-and-mouse game between Cotton, Henrik, and a dangerous group of wealthy semi-terrorists called The Paris Club who are searching for the lost riches of the Emperor Napoleon who hid the location in riddles in books before he died. Intriguing? Most definitely. A classic Steve Berry idea? For sure. Executed with his usual swagger and panache? Not this time.Too many twists and turns and a convoluted plot map made the novel meander at times, tripping over its own ideas and details. A regular series character was not present, and several references were made to some trip or project Cotton had been working on over the last two weeks, but we're never told what that project was, nor what resulted from it and why it effected Cotton the way it did. If they were making veiled references to the previous book in the series, they were strange and a little less opacity would have been nice. Likewise, Cotton's son is mentioned but completely abandoned later in the book. I'm really disappointed in the way The Paris Vendetta fell flat for me. The pulse and energy I've come to associate with his books was lacking. I usually adore Berry's books and I can't say the same about this one. Hard to know what to expect from his next, The Emperor's Tomb.
Steve Berry is back to his early level of tight, engrossing thrillers. The character of Cotton Malone continues to develop. A new character, Sam, is introduced to offset the loss of a long standing character that contributed much to previous stories.
Of the books by Steve Berry that I have read, this was probably the most mild. There was action, intrigue, and treasure, but all seemed to be in a lower dose than usual. Almost everything happens in Paris. There is one real bad guy who is overshadowed by some unpleasant but ineffective characters. Finding the treasure seems to be an afterthought. Cotton Malone has some questionable allies that dilute the focus. I still found this to be an enjoyable read, but not as intense as some of Steve Berry's other works.
The Paris Vendetta once again drags Cotton Malone into a mystery with a touch of historical relevance, but this time for an old friend. He finds his loyalties torn between country and friendship as he tries to satisfy both but betray neither. Yet, it ends with a completely unexpected loss. Steve Berry has produced another gripping thriller.
I am a bit Steve Berry fan so I have really looked forward to the release of his newest book. Somehow, it proved to be a bit of a disappointment in that it did not hold my interest. I constantly interrupted myself while reading it to look this up on the Internet or to play with a dog or whatever. Even when I read the climactic ending, I still had a hard time sticking with it. Needless to say, the book is mostly set in Paris although it does open in Copenhagen with the usual crime against Cotton's bookshop. But the action switches to Paris with a few scenes in London. The main focus is the search for Napoleon's lost horde of loot that he absconded with from conquered nations. There also a foray into modern terrorism. It's a decent book and certainly not one to be avoided, but it's not the Steve Berry I'm used to reading. Maybe it has all been done in his previous novels and thus has started to seem passe. So, read and enjoy but don't expect to be riveted to the text.
The Paris Vendetta by Steve Berry is another Cotton Malone historical adventure story. The story line is different enough from Berry's stories to keep even the most jaded readers rolling through the book. Once again I was not as happy with the ending , but that is just me. I enjoyed it enough to add to my library.
I didn't like this book as much as some of earlier books. At times I had a hard time following the story line as the author jumped around three or four parts of the story.
The Paris Vendetta had all the things I usually love about Steve Berry, yet for some reason this one just wasn't grabbing me. Took me ten days to finish since I kept setting it aside to read three other novels that did grip me. It's praise for the book though that I DID come back to it each time I finished something else. Usually if I set a book down to read something more exciting I never come back to it.
Cotton Malone returns with all supportive characters for this romp through Napoleonic history and modern day economic terrorism. Danish millionaire Henrik hopes to avenge his son's killing, as several factions seek a long lost treasure AND a group attempts to control world markets. Too many directions to keep the narrative flowing unfortunately. The facts of Napoleons life, death and treasure are by necessity explained to each faction which is a bit tiresome to the reader. All in all, a fun read, but not Berry's best.
A decent historical thriller, but I was disappointed that this book relied more on the thriller aspect than the historical aspect. In previous works, Berry has more successfully integrated the historical mystery being solved with the modern action. In this one, the mystery of Napoleon's hidden treasure felt tacked on to a story about financial conspiracies and terrorism to throw Berry's loyal readers a bone. That said the story kept me interested and provided a few hours of solid entertainment.
Read a Cotton Malone book before and really enjoyed it, this one was a bit slower and more difficult to get into. May have been my mood so eventually I will try to re-read it. I received this book as a reviewer copy as I did with the previous book(The Charlemagne Pursuit (book 4). These are both in the middle of the series, so I am not sure which is more like the rest of the series (this one is book 5). I have to say that I enjoyed Charlemagne Pursuit more than I did this one. I keep wanting to go back and read the first of the series (The Templar Legacy), but haven't yet. I was hoping that re-reading it would help, but I am struggling to make myself re-read it because I am just not enjoying it as much as I did Charlemagne Pursuit.
This is an easy read other than the fact that everything gets played out in three times the amount of time it should. Most ideas are unexpected. I feel every one of this author’s books ends with finding some lost treasure. Fun if there’s nothing else you want to read.
I found the plot very exciting but I felt it was overly complicated and not well explained. Shifts between characters later in the book were too abrupt and happened without warning, making the storyline hard to follow. Still a good read but I hope the next one is better.