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The Charlemagne Pursuit: A Novel (Cotton Malone Book 4) [Kindle Edition]

Steve Berry
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (215 customer reviews)

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Book Description

BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Steve Berry’s The Columbus Affair and a Cotton Malone dossier.

As a child, former Justice Department agent Cotton Malone was told his father died in a submarine disaster in the North Atlantic, but now he wants the full story and asks his ex-boss, Stephanie Nelle, to secure the military files. What he learns stuns him: His father’s sub was a secret nuclear vessel lost on a highly classified mission beneath the ice shelves of Antarctica.

But Malone isn’t the only one after the truth.

Twin sisters Dorothea Lindauer and Christl Falk are fighting for the fortune their mother has promised to whichever of them discovers what really became of their father–who died on the same submarine that Malone’s father captained.

The sisters know something Malone doesn’t: Inspired by strange clues discovered in Charlemagne’ s tomb, the Nazis explored Antarctica before the Americans, as long ago as 1938. Now Malone discovers that cryptic journals penned in “the language of heaven,” inscrutable conundrums posed by an ancient historian, and the ill-fated voyage of his father are all tied to a revelation of immense consequence for humankind.

In an effort to ensure that this explosive information never rises to the surface, Langford Ramsey, an ambitious navy admiral, has begun a brutal game of treachery, blackmail, and assassination. As Malone embarks on a dangerous quest with the sisters–one that leads them from an ancient German cathedral to a snowy French citadel to the unforgiving ice of Antarctica–he will finally confront the shocking truth of his father’s death and the distinct possibility of his own.

Books In This Series (9 Books)
Complete Series

  • Editorial Reviews

    From Publishers Weekly

    Starred Review. In bestseller Berry's fourth thriller to feature ex–Justice Department agent Cotton Malone (after The Venetian Betrayal), Malone embarks on a search for answers about his father, Capt. Forrest Malone, after learning that instead of dying in 1971 in a nuclear sub accident in the North Atlantic, his father actually died while on a secret submarine mission to the Antarctic. Meanwhile, bad guy Adm. Langford Ramsey schemes to become the next ranking officer of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The two story lines merge as a group led by Malone races to Antarctica, where they find a strange underground city belonging to the Aryans, an advanced race who inhabited the earth at the dawn of our own civilization. A meticulous researcher, Berry carefully integrates such elements as Charlemagne, Nazis, ancient manuscripts, historical puzzles and scientific surprises into the plot. Those who relish suspense in the Da Vinci Code vein will snap this one up, the best yet in the series. 10-city author tour. (Dec.)
    Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

    From School Library Journal

    Starred Review. Berry outdoes himself in his latest Cotton Malone adventure (after The Venetian Betrayal). Using his connections in the federal government, Cotton asks to see a classified file that details the mission that resulted in his father's death. He knew his father died on a submarine but none of the shocking details about where or why he died. But Cotton is not the only person who wants this file, and they kill to get it. Nazi missions to the Antarctic, ancient societies, and a valuable artifact from Charlemagne's tomb all play key roles as Malone uncovers the truth. So much is going on that there is enough material for two good books, let alone one great one. Mixed in with the complicated action, Berry finds the time to explore the characters as well, making this his most personal and best book to date. For all fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 8/08.]—Jeff Ayers, Seattle P.L.
    Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

    Product Details

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    69 of 74 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars Suspense, yes; but also new heights of implausibility December 8, 2008
    I love a good thriller, and there just aren't enough of them around. So I was thrilled to discover Steve Berry's early novels. I enjoyed the first one or two of his Cotton Malone books as well. But as he has moved from one book to the next, the body count seems to rise, the characterizations have become more stilted, the action choppier, and the plots have tumbled into territory that become laugh-out-loud implausible. (Sure, Berry provides detailed author's notes showing exactly how he develops his plots, and the historical clues that he relies on, but the real test isn't whether he can make a case for it in the author's note, but whether it feels 'natural' to someone reading.)

    I would probably have given this book a 3.5 star rating if the system allowed it. But the core plot device -- the quest in Antarctica for a mysterious superior civilization that preceeded the Mayans, the ancient Egyptians, et. al., that had a connection with Charlemagne, and that evil forces (in the person of a manipulative U.S. Admiral, Langord Ramsey) want to keep secret for their own reasons -- is just too strained for four stars.

    Nor is the writing good enough to carry the book over the four-star rating threshold. It's choppy, a la James Patterson, with 94 chapters in only 500 pages, a lot of one-sentence paragraphs, and 8-word long sentences. The perspective keeps jumping back and forth between antiquarian book dealer Cotton Malone and his former intelligence boss, Stephanie Nelle. Each time a gun fires in one location, the action immediately jumps back to the other protagonist. These are all tools that all suspense writers employ, but again, they work best when the reader doesn't realize that they are being used at all.
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    22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars wait...wait...darn December 29, 2008
    Steve Berry has the formula for interesting books.

    1- His main character, Cotton Malone, is complex and interesting with the plausible background of having once worked for the government but has decided to retire to the life of a bookseller in Europe (good so far);
    2- Malone has as a reoccurring circle of friends who seem to have endless connections and unimaginable wealth, all of which he seems to have access to at his beck and call (well, it is fiction);
    3- Berry's books are historically-based and often revealing, giving credence to his stories and making the storyline more interesting (it's amazing what you can discover from his books);
    4- He makes his stories even more interesting by situating them in fascinating, actual surroundings with great detail and explanation (at least most of the time);

    So what the problem?

    Although I look forward to reading each of his books based upon the features above, I know I'm going to be disappointed at the end. Berry seems to take one step too many. His leaps from the realm of possibility into the circle of absurdity...not much, but just enough to deflate me.

    His character, his supporting cast, his locations, even the situations and premises are all outstanding, but he takes a well-created human character with human skills and human frailties and moves the plot into
    abnormal, absurd situations. I, for one, would be far more interested in having Mather seek a long-lost copy of Shakespeare's plays (a plausable notion) rather than a long-lost civilization (okay, if we must).

    Steve Berry's books are always fun, enjoyable reads, if for nothing more than the interesting, historical facts that surrounds the situation. But the final chapters are flawed. Are the endings satisfactory?
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    17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
    This was my first novel by Steve Berry, and I was impressed with it as a stand-alone book. There were occasional references to events and characters of the past, but only when it was relevant to the story. You do not need to read the previous books in the series to follow what's going on, though I'm sure they would give you extra insight into some of the characters.

    The story itself was excellent. I love history and historical fiction, and all of the "history" that is unearthed by the characters was plausible. The action and dialogue were well written and paced... something I was not expecting after having read Dan Brown and (mistakenly) presuming that this novel would also require some serious eye-rolling. I connected with most of the characters, and spent most of the time wondering who were the good guys and who were the bad guys.

    Not only was I very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the writing in this book, but it was also quite an action-packed page turner. I had a hard time putting it down! I am, however, knocking off a star for some slight character incongruities I noticed. So it's not a perfect literary masterpiece, but it is far and above the typical "historical thriller" genre and a very fun read.
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    6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars More entertaining nonsense from Berry August 22, 2009
    Of all the successful contemporary purveyors of this genre: "thriller/historical/'mystical'/with Nazis etc.", Steve Berry has to be the very worst writer. His prose style is workmanlike at best, but more often crude, graceless and mundane, unimaginative and on occasion breathtakingly banal. Even the dreadful but addictive Clive Cussler seems a polished technician of English compared to Berry.

    Yet I've read all his books, and look forward to the next one, knowing full well that it will be no better. Because if you are a sucker for these absurd potboilers, as I am, Berry delivers the goods. The Charlemagne Pursuit (awful title) is stuffed with the intrigue, conspiracy, treachery in high places, extreme violence, twisted characters and New Age historical hokum that characterize the genre, and for the most part Berry keeps things moving along vigorously enough. However, he never really connects the two parallel and interrelated plots in a satisfying way that advances the action...and the last 50 pages feel rushed and incomplete as he ties up loose ends. The telegraphically short chapters can be irritating. Characterizations are shallow across the board, and motivations often either murky or blatantly obvious. A major flaw in this book: the lead villain turns out merely to be a paper tiger, disposed of almost as an afterthought.

    James Rollins remains the gold standard for this kind of novel. But most fans of the genre will enjoy this book despite its shortcomings.
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Enjoy all the history and action of Cotton Malone stories.
    Published 11 days ago by Shawnee S. Wood
    4.0 out of 5 stars Worth your time, great entertainment!
    If you like history and suspense, and you like The DeVinci Code style book, this one's for you. A little slow in places, but plenty of action.
    Published 11 days ago by Debra R. Gardner
    4.0 out of 5 stars The Charlemagne Pursuit
    And another riveting story from a very creative mind making a believable yet fictional history. You just can't wait until this story is found to be real. Read more
    Published 25 days ago by Amazon Customer
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Published 27 days ago by Klaus Walløe
    4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
    Good read.
    Published 29 days ago by Donald
    3.0 out of 5 stars Read better
    Not one of his better books. There are too many parallel story lines running at the same time. Became too confusing.
    Published 1 month ago by Jim Costello
    4.0 out of 5 stars Cotton Malone is a modern day Indiana Jones?
    Fun read. I enjoy Mr. Berry's use of factual history with a intriguing fictional dilemma!
    Published 1 month ago by Keith Peterson
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Published 1 month ago by Phillip K Taylor
    5.0 out of 5 stars excellent read!
    Cotton Malone is a man we should all wish to emulate. In this book he finds out the truth about the death of his father and once again must draw upon all of his abilities to... Read more
    Published 1 month ago by starjumper
    4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
    Book a little long little bit too much detail about the places you're going
    Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
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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.

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