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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Review - The Jefferson Key

My kind and wonderful neighbor Ken gives us another review this week.  Join us for the latest Steve Berry novel that combines spies and a American history to weave a thriller of grand stature.

Author:  Steve Berry

Copyright:  2011; Ballantine Books; 451 pages

Series:  #7 in the Cotton Malone adventures 

Sensuality:  Violence with some minor gory details  

Mystery sub-genre:  Action and Adventure

Main Character:  Cotton Malone, a former Justice Department operative 

Setting:  Modern day; USA  

Obtained book through:  Library Find

The information on the cover of the book describes the premise of the story well:

     “Four presidents of the United States have been assassinated – in 1865, 1881, 1901, and 1963 - each murder seemingly unrelated. 

     But what if those presidents were all killed for the same reason:  a clause in the United States Constitution  - contained within Article One Section 8 – that would shock most Americans.

    This question is what faces former Justice Department operative Cotton Malone in his latest adventure.  When a bold assassination attempt is made against President Danny Daniels in the heart of Manhattan, Malone risks his life to foil the killing – only to find himself at dangerous odds with the Commonwealth, a secret society of pirates first assembled during the American Revolution.  In their most perilous exploit yet, Malone and Cassiopeia Vitt race across the nation and take to the high seas.  Along the way they break a secret cipher originally possessed by Thomas Jefferson, unravel a mystery concocted by Andrew Jackson, and unearth a centuries-old document forged by the Founding Fathers themselves, one powerful enough – thanks to that clause in the Constitution – to make the Commonwealth unstoppable.

Oh what a tangled web he wove…or was it more like four or five interwoven webs?  Using historical facts and actual locales as basis and background for this thriller, Steve Berry has given us a most interesting, exciting, and enjoyable book.  Incorporating ingenious and challenging plots and subplots, a large cast of characters, and lots of action, he kept me “on the edge of my seat” in a “couldn’t put it down” kind of way.

The good guys and bad guys were well developed, competent, and believable.  Our hero, Cotton Malone, and his most proficient partner, Cassiopeia Vitt, aided by a few allies, take on a complicated array of evildoers some of whom are connected with the USA’s intelligence community and have their own nefarious agendas.  The primary arch-nemesis, the Commonwealth, consisting of four families whose heritages date back to the Revolutionary War days are particularly nasty.  Are they bona-fide privateers or pirates as their actions demonstrate?

This book contains all the essential elements including action and adventure, murder, mayhem, subterfuge, spy and counter-spy, secrecy, political intrigues.  The use of historical facts was very educational and added to the flavor of the book.  Some of the minor gory details involve the use of pirate discipline and torture; most of it was expressed more for the reader’s imagination rather than detailed descriptions.

I greatly appreciate Ariel allowing me the opportunity to read the various books she has provided.  I have been introduced to many new authors, and my list of favorites continues to grow.  Steve Berry is definitely added to this list. 

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