The King’s Deception

Steve Berry. Ballantine, $27 (432p) ISBN 978-0-345-52654-0
In bestseller Berry’s tepid eighth Cotton Malone thriller (after 2011’s The Jefferson Key), the ex–secret agent agrees to escort a juvenile thief in CIA custody, 15-year-old Ian Dunne, to England, as a favor to his former boss, Stephanie Nelle. Conveniently, Malone, who now runs a used-book store in Copenhagen, is planning to pick up his 15-year-old son, Gary, from his ex-wife in Atlanta for a European visit. Shortly after Malone and the two boys land at Heathrow, Ian and Gary are kidnapped. Malone begins a deadly chase that ricochets between 1547 and the present day and centers on a historical mystery involving Elizabeth I. All the elements of a Da Vinci Code adventure are in place: a traitorous CIA agent, ancient treasure, secret codes, and a mysterious, elderly head of the British Secret Intelligence Service; but unfortunately these components function more as teasers for the undeniably fascinating historical material, rather than as a launching pad for genuine thrills. 8- to 10-city author tour. Agent: Simon Lipskar, Writers House. (June)
Reviewed on: 03/18/2013
Release date: 06/11/2013
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Book - 978-1-4676-5231-5
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