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The Alexandria Link: A Novel Hardcover – January 30, 2007
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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.
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
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Top customer reviews
This book starts with Cotton Malone's teenage son being kidnapped, and those holding him want one thing....the thing that only Malone knows...the location of a reclusive scholar who may hold the key to finding the legendary Library of Alexandria. The idea of the knowledge possessed by ancient civilizations being re-acquired is intriguing, but the book quickly defines the search for the earliest transcriptions on the Bible, solely for political aspects between Israel and Palestine. And, of course, there has to be an international cabal for the conspiracy angle.
I found the characters rather insipid, rather than strongly described. Malone's ex-wife is predictably disagreeable, his son's behavior more child-like than teenager, and the D.C politicians either totally evil or pure hearted. The villain is one that has been seen over and over again.
The plot takes on some Dan Brown type of code solving, some Jeffery Deaver type of unforeseen plot twists....but it dragged in those areas. I've read about 5 of his Cotton Malone series so far, and this one is my least favorite, simply because Berry's skills seem lesser in this one. One comment I have is that while this series does not have to be read in the order that they are released, I think it may be helpful. And I do have a question about his character Casseopia Vitt (who, in this book, does not interact with Malone at all) who has been described in one book as "dark skinned, half Muslim" and in another book as the child of highly ranked Mormons. I'm finding that confusing, and hope that it is cleared up in an unread (so far) book.
No disclosure needed - I am a “reviewer” of Amazon products and often get things at a discount, however this item I have bought at FULL price for my own personal use. Thank you for reading my review!
I have read reviews that suggest you don't need to read the books in order, this might be true, but I have found reading at least the first two in the order they were written helped with the character relationships.
I recently discovered Steve Berry and look forward to reading the rest of Cotton Malone books, hoping for the same level of story telling.