From Publishers Weekly
At the start of bestseller Berry's second thriller to feature Cotton Malone (after The Templar Legacy), Malone, a former employee of the covert branch of the U.S. Justice Department, is trying to lead a secluded life as a bookseller in Copenhagen. Unsurprisingly, that hope is short-lived when his son is kidnapped and his ex-wife, Pam, asks for his help in rescuing the boy. The abductors intend to force Malone to reveal what he knows about the survival of the legendary lost library of Alexandria, which may hold ancient texts that could undermine Israel's claim to biblical legitimacy. Malone and his allies get mixed up in Washington intrigue and double-dealing as they try to identify the high-level traitor seeking to use the secret sources to change the dynamics of the Middle East. Characters implausibly leave enemies unsecured, placing themselves in unnecessary jeopardy, while the notion that the texts could have the desired effect may strike some readers as too far-fetched. Predictable plots twists (like the growing rapprochement between Malone and Pam) and superficial treatment of the issues between the Israelis and the Palestinians are further minuses.
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Berry, author of several big-selling high-concept thrillers, including The Templar Legacy
(2006) and The Third Secret
(2005), is back with another paranoid fantasy for fans who like their heroes to face unimaginable dangers in a variety of glamorous locations. Berry's hero, Cotton Malone (recently retired from the Department of Justice's Magellan Billet, which specializes in extra-sensitive international investigations), has reinvented himself as a seller of rare books in Copenhagen. Trouble, of course, finds him even in Denmark--first in the person of his ex-wife, who bears the news that their son has been kidnapped. Then the kidnappers convince Malone of their seriousness by torching his bookstore. The central conflict here comes from the fact that what the kidnappers want--"the Alexandria link," the key to locating the remains of the vanished library of Alexandria--is the one thing Malone, who knows the whereabouts of the link, cannot give them. So, with the conflict firmly established, and the villains showing their mettle, the plot is off and running across the globe, the story driven by a series of short chapters, each acting as a little time bomb. Trite characters and a formulaic plot (drawing, yet again, on The Da Vinci Code
) get in the way, but Berry does make intriguing use of ancient history, and the action certainly zooms along. Fun reading if you keep moving and don't take time to digest. Connie FletcherCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved