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The Alexandria Link: A Novel (Cotton Malone) Paperback – November 27, 2007

3.6 out of 5 stars 295 customer reviews
Book 2 of 10 in the Cotton Malone Series

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Editorial Reviews

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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From Booklist

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 Fletcher
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Cotton Malone (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (November 27, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345485769
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345485762
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (295 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #102,842 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Red Rock Bookworm TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 30, 2008
Format: Paperback
With The Alexandria Link, author Steve Berry takes us on a search for the legendary lost Library of Alexandria which was assumed to have been destroyed but has in fact been preserved by a group known as the Guardians. We ride along with retired U.S. government operative Cotton Malone as his quest takes him from damp streets of London to a chateau in Vienna, from historical locations in Lisbon and the United States to a desert in the Sinai as he hunts for the document which could reveal a secret from the distant past which, if disclosed, could jeopardize the security of our modern world.

Berry has taken stories about actual historical characters like David Ben-Gurion, actual locations such as the Monastery of Santa Maria de Belem in Lisbon, old manuscripts, the works and conclusions of various scholars, the existence of an actual medieval society called The Order of the Golden Fleece, the fabricated correspondence between a couple of Saints and utilized these as the framework around which he has constructed of his story. For those readers who will immediately attempt to point out the historical discrepancies contained in this book, one needs to remember that The Alexandria Link is ultimately a work of the authors talent and imagination and this is why it is sold under the classification of fiction.

The one factual thing the book does point out (either wittingly or unwittingly) is that through the ages, religion has been used to incite wars, create economic chaos, disrupt the harmony that could potentially exist between peoples and nations, and ultimately has been the tool employed to satisfy the political aspirations and objectives of various individuals and countries.

As an entertaining distraction with which to satisfy your thirst for vicarious adventure, this book more than fills the bill.
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Format: Paperback
Steve Berry delivers another globe-hopping thriller with retired US operative Cotton Malone attempting to live a quiet life running a bookshop in Copenhagen. Retirement comes to an abrupt halt when he escapes the assassins who burn down his bookshop and tell him they have kidnapped his son. Cotton is forced to join forces with his acerbic ex-wife Pam when it seems assassins may be on her tail, as well. They get their son back, but then they find themselves caught between ancient organizations: the Guardians of the Library at Alexandria, pledged to keep its secrets safe, and the Order of the Golden Fleece, a ruthless sect of the powerful who meet in secret and who have vowed to claim the Library for themselves. Accompanying Cotton and Pam is the Order's pet assassin, who has a few plans of his own regarding the library.

At the same time, treachery is afoot in the US government with the president, vice president, secretary of state, and the heads of several security departments all mistrusting each other as a web of secrets and lies is unraveled. Some find this kind of thriller gripping. Unfortunately, I find it a bit tiresome, and in this book, everything that was happening inside the government was not essential to the main plot of Cotton Malone following a quest to the lost Library of Alexandria. This is also the third Steve Berry book I've read starring an idiotic and unlikeable female lead. When Pam Malone, yet again acting stubborn and stupid, gets herself shot, I found myself wishing they'd put her down then and there. This author obviously has some issues with women. The author also seems way out of touch with children. Gary Malone was supposed to be 15 but came across as a 10-year-old in size, maturity, vocabulary, and deed.
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Format: Paperback
Making a mad dash for the Oregon coast to escape the heat, _The Alexandria Link_ caught my attention in a local bookstore. (Sorry, Amazon.) I had read his The Templar Legacy: A Novel, and I was intrigued by the plot - what if the texts from the destroyed library at Alexandria survived? What gems of literarure, history and philosophy would we discover? Barry takes the premise further - how might a clearer understanding of ancient history influence the Middle East today? What if the "Promised Land," source of so much strife and bloodshed, wasn't in the Levant, but elsewhere?

Cotton Malone, the protagonist from _The Templar Legacy_ returns, this time with his ex-wife in tow. The plot is complicated, and intrigue and double-crossing abounds, as Barry tries to suprise the reader and keep them off balance as characters double and triple cross each other. The action is fast-paced, and the clues are intriguing. However, the geography of Washington, DC is poor, and Barry's explaination of historical events are thin. Borrowing from Dan Brown, the chapters are short, intentionally leaving you hungering for more as the focus of the story hops from one competing group to the next, each racing to either recover or destroy an ancient text that would change the nature of politics in the Middle East forever.

Even with the suspension of realism that I reserve for these sorts of stories, I wasn't buying Barry's premise. That both Arabs and Jews would work together to supress the mystery document was a reach; the series of impossible situations that Malone found himself in - and that he managed to get out of - continued to stretch the credible, and the writing itself was a pale comparison to others of the same genre. For want of something better to read, this would do. Otherwise, I'd pass.
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