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The Jefferson Key: A Novel
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The Jefferson Key (with bonus short story The Devil's Gold): A Novel (Cotton Malone Book 7) [Kindle Edition]

Steve Berry
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (425 customer reviews)

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Kindle Price: $5.99
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

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 shocking same reason: a clause contained in the United States Constitution? This is the question faced by former Justice Department operative Cotton Malone. When President Danny Daniels is nearly killed in the heart of Manhattan, Malone risks his life to foil the murder—only to find himself at odds with the Commonwealth, a secret society of pirates first assembled during the American Revolution. Racing across the nation and taking to the high seas, Malone and Cassiopeia Vitt must break a secret cipher originally possessed by Thomas Jefferson, unravel a mystery concocted by Andrew Jackson, and unearth a document forged by the Founding Fathers themselves—one powerful enough to make the Commonwealth unstoppable.

Don’t miss Steve Berry’s short story “The Devil’s Gold” and a sneak peek of his new novel, The King's Deception, in the back of the book.


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A Letter from Author Steve Berry
Cotton Malone is known for his overseas exploits. A former-Justice Department operative, who can't stay out of trouble, he's found adventures in all parts of Europe (The Templar Legacy, The Paris Vendetta), Central Asia (The Venetian Betrayal), Antarctica (The Charlemagne Pursuit), the Middle East (The Alexandria Link), and China (The Emperor's Tomb). But he's never had an American adventure.
Until now.

The Jefferson Key was great fun to research. My wife Elizabeth and I traveled to New York City; Washington, D.C.; Bath, North Carolina; Monticello; and Richmond, Virginia. Monticello was particularly interesting since the terrific novelist, Katherine Neville--author of The Eight and The Fire--played host. Katherine serves on the estate's board of directors and she led us on a behind-the-scenes tour that helped formulate a number of scenes that would later appear in the book. We spent a wonderful day there, wandering the halls and staircases, snapping pictures, checking out every nook and cranny. In Richmond, we stayed at The Jefferson, a grand hotel that also makes an appearance in the story.

Bath, North Carolina was similarly intriguing. Three hundred years ago, Bath was a hotbed for Atlantic pirates, a bustling port and a ship building center. Its location, on a quiet inlet of the Pamlico River, not far from open ocean, made it ideal for both. And though it's now a sleepy village of about 300 residents, delving into its colonial and pre-colonial past was exciting. After all, pirates are fascinating--but they don't match the Hollywood stereotype. The real thing is even better, and The Jefferson Key deals with the real thing.

The research for this novel spanned 18 months, which is normal for my books. Along the way, we uncovered a secret cipher originally possessed by Thomas Jefferson; concocted a mystery for Andrew Jackson; and created a centuries-old document envisioned by the Founding Fathers themselves. It was fun exploring American history, especially the Constitution, which forms a huge part of this plot. With every book there's a challenge to describe the story in as few words as possible. For this one, we came up with this: Four United States presidents 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 1, Section 8--that would shock Americans.

Got you interested?
I hope so.
Enjoy The Jefferson Key.

Review

“One of the most spellbinding and ingenious openings in all of thrillerdom. The cast of characters is huge but every one of them is memorable. The action is intense and masterfully choreographed. As always with Steve Berry, you’re educated about significant things while your knuckles are turning white and the pages are flying. Easily Cotton Malone’s most epic, swashbuckling adventure.” —David Baldacci

"The Constitution. . . secret codes . . . loads of history. . . AND pirates! What else does anyone need? The Jefferson Key won't just haunt your nights--it'll haunt your life. Cotton Malone is coming back to the scariest place of all: Home." —Brad Meltzer

"THE JEFFERSON KEY starts with a bang and holds the reader in its grip until the last page. Fascinating American history, up-to-the-minute politics, pulse-pounding action. This is a story Mitch Rapp would love." —Vince Flynn


From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3509 KB
  • Print Length: 475 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1444709399
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (May 17, 2011)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004P8JPIQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,014 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
209 of 232 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Steve Berry has done it again. The Jefferson Key is an outstanding read. This work a major sized industrial strength novel closely integrating intrigue, complexity, and history.

Starts right off with a fast dramatic setting involving President Andrew Jackson, simultaneously disclosing some fascinating historical facts which I expect are known by very few.

And then immediately we're taken into the present, and our hero, Cotton Malone, has screwed up big time in a major pickle. We're off on our fast moving adventure. No slack here. . .

This novel wraps itself around a complex multi-faceted plot involving multiple security agencies, interesting interplays between strong characters in addition to Cotton, such as rouge agent Jonathan Wyatt (who I happen to like), NIA chief Andrea Carbonnel, and Cassiopeia Vitt, with shifting loyalties, and a strong private organization, called the commonwealth, which derived its credentials from a privateer past and Article 1 Section 8 of our Constitution - the little known or understood Letters of Marque. I had sometimes wondered what that clause meant and was all about.

In fact, there is a great deal of fascinating historical tidbits closely integrated with the plot, demonstrating an enormous amount of relevant research done by the author which went into this writing. Another way of saying it, there is a wealth of interesting information in this book.

This is one of those works which one wished did not end, rich in intrigue, action, and fascinating historical facts integrated closely within the current action.
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124 of 137 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Real Pirates May 12, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Jefferson Key gets off to a strong start, first with the attempted assassination of Andrew Jackson, then with an attempt on the life of a modern-day President. Cotton Malone, a former Justice Department operative, is dispatched to bring down the Commonwealth, a covert band of privateers whose roots go back to the American Revolution.

Mixing historical fact with fictional fancy, Steve Berry delivers a complex, perhaps even convoluted, thriller. There are lots of characters and lots of government agencies and at times it's difficult to remember who's who. The story follows multiple viewpoints, often within the same chapter. As a result, the plot comes across as a bit choppy and occasionally bogs down.

The most enjoyable aspect of The Jefferson Key is its portrayal of pirate culture. No camp buccaneers here; Berry gives us a brutal yet organised band who lives by a strict set of agreed-upon articles.

This is the first Cotton Malone book I've read, and as thrillers go, I have to say it is just average. However, the real life history woven into the story was quite interesting.
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71 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What an entertaining read. May 1, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
That Author Steve Berry has created here in an ingenious mix of history and fiction to tie together the plot line of this book.

Cotton Malone receives a request for help. He doesn't know why he's needed but he trusts the woman who is asking.

What unfolds here is an interesting and complex story of Governmental agencies working with and covertly against each other to solve a cipher that holds the key to a non Governmental group called the Commonwealth who was constitutionally enabled to act as Pirates that was authorized by George Washington. Giving them the ability to steal and disrupt other countries that are deemed enemies of the United States. However they have been using and abusing this loop hole for personal gain and not always acting on behalf of the United States.

The book through the fictional story line ties together the assassinations of four sitting Presidents Kennedy, Lincoln, McKinley, Jackson and fictional President Danny Daniels. Danny Daniels.

Berry will have you believing that almost all of the characters is or could be a suspect including the Presidents wife. It seems that almost everyone and every agency has something to gain or loose be the revealing the key to some secret documents.

The story line is complex and it difficult to figure out what the true motives of the characters until the end. This is an intense thriller that will keep you up late reading. The beginning of the book is like no other that i have read, it will lock you in right away and keep you reading all the way through to it's exciting conclusion.

This is the first Berry book I have read. Berry has produced several Cotton Malone books. As a reader I got a good feel for who the character Cotton Malone is from this book.
Read more ›
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Definitely not for the squeamish! May 19, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I love Steve Berry's books and more than a few of them grace my bookshelves. However, I did not find his latest, The Jefferson Key, as interesting and compelling as The Emperor's Tomb (Cotton Malone). Worse though, this latest offering kept forcing me to put it down.

Now, I am not a squeamish person. I've attended autopsies and studied all kinds of gruesome diseases and watched operations and dealt with gallons of blood. This time, though, Steve really outdid himself with graphic descriptions of torture. When eyeballs started flying across the pages of the book, I had had enough. There is such a thing as too much and frankly, The Jefferson Key is simply not interesting enough to overcome the stomach-churning gore.

Give this one a miss.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Another well written Marlons story
This is a fun to read book fast-paced and easy to enjoy. This book is an adventure book, a mystery novel, and a historical fiction. Read more
Published 3 days ago by A. Marty
4.0 out of 5 stars If you liked the others
On par with the rest of the Cotton Malone series. If you liked the others, you enjoy this one as well.
Published 8 days ago by Ben Anderson
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Malone books always entertaining.
Published 11 days ago by Laurenpr
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Love the teaching, the history and the stories.
Published 23 days ago by Mary Joyce West
3.0 out of 5 stars Was a good plot and exciting to a point
Was a good plot and exciting to a point ! The last 1/4 of the book became pretty predictable. Maybe I have been reading too many mystery novels lately. No surprises.
Published 26 days ago by GARY ROE
4.0 out of 5 stars Good story, well worth a read
Good story,well worth a read.
Published 1 month ago by Trevor thomson
4.0 out of 5 stars Steve Berry does it again with Cotton Malone at the helm
Great historical fact coupled with an intriguing story line. Full of the usual action associated with the Cotton Malone sagas and won't disappoint the reader who enjoys action... Read more
Published 1 month ago by James Atkinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great service on a Great book
Published 1 month ago by Wizard of Fitchburg
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Meh. Found it very wirdy
Published 1 month ago by S. Rotondo
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Love the American history ties with this story.
Published 1 month ago by Dennis M. Collins Jr.
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More 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 19,000,000 copies in 51 countries.

History lies at the heart of every Steve Berry novel. It's his passion, one he shares with his wife, Elizabeth, which led them to create History Matters, a foundation dedicated to historic preservation. Since 2009 Steve and Elizabeth have crossed the country to save endangered historic treasures, raising money via lectures, receptions, galas, luncheons, dinners and their popular writers' workshops. To date, over 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; the 2013 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award; his novel The Columbus Affair earned him the Anne Frank Human Writes Award; and International Thriller Writers bestowed him the 2013 Silver Bullet for his work with historic preservation. A 2010 NPR survey named The Templar Legacy one of the top 100 thrillers ever written.

Steve 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.

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