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Saturday, May 1, 2021

Review - The Kaiser's Web

 In New York Times bestseller Steve Berry’s latest Cotton Malone adventure, a secret dossier from a World War II-era Soviet spy comes to light containing information that, if proven true, would not only rewrite history — it could impact Germany's upcoming national elections and forever alter the political landscape of Europe.

It has been a while since I reviewed a Cotton Malone thriller and this one grabbed my attention. My prior reviews in the series are: 

#5 The Paris Vendetta (click here).

#7 The Jefferson Key (click here).

#8 The King's Deception (click here). 

Author: Steve Berry

Copyright: February 2021 (Minotaur) 421 pgs

Series: 16th in Cotton Malone Thriller series

Sensuality: mild, gun-play

Mystery Sub-genre: political thriller, suspense thriller

Main Characters: Cotton Malone, former Dept. of Justice (Magellan Billet) 

Setting: Contemporary- International (Germany, Chile, S. Africa, Switzerland)

Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review


Book blurb: "Two candidates are vying to become Chancellor of Germany. One is a patriot having served for the past sixteen years, the other a usurper, stoking the flames of nationalistic hate. Both harbor secrets, but only one knows the truth about the other. They are on a collision course, all turning on the events of one fateful day — April 30, 1945 — and what happened deep beneath Berlin in the F├╝rherbunker. Did Adolph Hitler and Eva Braun die there? Did Martin Bormann, Hitler’s close confidant, manage to escape? And, even more important, where did billions in Nazi wealth disappear to in the waning days of World War II? The answers to these questions will determine who becomes the next Chancellor of Germany.

From the mysterious Chilean lake district, to the dangerous mesas of South Africa, and finally into the secret vaults of Switzerland, former-Justice Department agent Cotton Malone discovers the truth about the fates of Hitler, Braun, and Bormann. Revelations that could not only transform Europe, but finally expose a mystery known as the Kaiser’s web."

 Cotton Malone is working as part of team and learning to be a couple with Cassiopeia.  I liked seeing this side of Cotton. Cassiopeia Vitt is always a great, dynamic character and for a while they cover different aspects of the story separately.  This was interesting to see her character more closely.  Former President Danny Daniels makes several appearances in the story, mainly to help facilitate special transportation or make it easier for Cotton to do what he needs via his contacts.  Chancellor Marie Eisenhuth is the politician Former President Daniels referred to Cotton for help.  Information has fallen into her hands about her opponent, information that would tie him to 1940s Germany in a very disturbing way. Rather than leak the information, she wants somebody trustworthy to investigate the validity of the information. There is a subplot of her failing marriage and how her hubby is more aligned to her opponent.  Her opponent, Theodor Pohl, is the spider in the middle of a tangled web to destroy the Chancellor.  Can Cotton and Cassiopeia cut through the elaborate scheme and get to the truth in time?

In the course of the investigation, Cotton and Cassiopeia travel light and far. The Chilean lake district, the harsh mesas of South Africa, secret bank vaults in Switzerland, and a German castle.  Mr. Berry is quite good at evoking the setting no matter where the story takes the reader.  This is special in a thriller to have such attention to the place for atmosphere and context. Wonderfully done.

The plot revolves around a volatile election with historical echoes and significance.  I found this timely with the resurgence of neo-Nazis and anti-Semitism around the world.  I felt this was handled well in the storyline. There is a tangled web to wade through and at times I wasn't sure if Cotton and Cass were getting to the truth amid all the subterfuge.  The pacing had just a few instances of slowing for a little too long, but it picked up again.

 The reader knows who the villain is and you approach the climax with that knowledge, but there is still a twist that makes your jaw drop. The final confrontation is exciting and tense, which is my favorite.  Excellent job there. 

A great addition to the Cotton Malone adventures series. As usual, Mr. Berry takes a historical event (Hitler's death in the furher bunker) and finds tidbits to weave a credible thriller from.  For clarification, this has Hitler definitely die from suicide, but looks for closely at Martin Bormann.  Well done and the twist at the end was superb.

Rating: Excellent - Loved it! Buy it now and put this author on your watch list

1) Short talk with Steve Berry

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJlS1iEFu3s


2) Poisoned Pen Virtual Book Launch

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=laLihlm5HSQ

3) Steve and his wife discuss the book

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GmV-hVkmm8k




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