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The King's Deception: A Novel (Cotton Malone) Hardcover – June 11, 2013

4.2 out of 5 stars 874 customer reviews
Book 8 of 10 in the Cotton Malone Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

After an exciting departure from his Cotton Malone novels (The Columbus Affair, 2012), Berry returns to the series formula. When Malone’s 15-year-old son is briefly kidnapped in London, the spy-turned-bookseller discovers he has inadvertently stumbled upon an international plot that involves secrets about Queen Elizabeth I and the impending release from prison of one of the men behind the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, which killed 270 people. It takes awhile, but Berry does forge a thinly plausible connection between a modern-day terrorist act and the last Tudor ruler of Britain. Berry populates the novel with the usual assortment of characters—the shifty intelligence agent, the stalwart investigator—and even offers us an ancient society that will stop at nothing to keep Elizabeth’s shocking secrets from getting out. Fans of the series will no doubt enjoy this one, although it breaks no new ground, holding tightly to the series format. The galley circulated for review contains a troubling chronological inconsistency—depending on which internal evidence you listen to, the story is set either in 2005–06 or 2009—but this could be cleared up when the book goes to print. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Berry’s books, best-sellers all, have been translated into 40 languages with more than 15 million copies in print in 51 countries. --David Pitt


Praise for The King’s Deception
“[A] perfect blend of history and adventure . . . The history enhances the main narrative and gives it an added punch. . . . Pick up this new fast-paced book by Berry and have an excellent thrill ride while you also get a wonderfully enjoyable history lesson. Education has never been this much fun.”—The Huffington Post
“Steve Berry does what Dan Brown thought he did. [He combines] a love of history with global thriller action and creates books that are impossible to put down and even educational. . . . A perfect blend of history and action . . . perfect summer reading.”Crimespree Magazine
“Cotton Malone returns in a thriller that combines history and gunfire. . . . Readers old and new will enjoy The King’s Deception.”—Associated Press
“A complex, rollicking forty-hour ride through a very dangerous and wild weekend in London where the betrayals collide with current events and the deceptions of hundreds of years ago, resulting in an explosive finish that no one who reads it will forget. . . . Berry is a wonderful guide as always, interweaving fascinating bits of history into the narrative. . . . I can’t give you a better endorsement for a book or an author.”—Bookreporter
“There are more twists and turns in this plot than in a 1970s disco bar. Interspersed between the modern incidents of betrayals and counter-betrayals are numerous episodes of Tudor/Elizabethan history sure to ruffle the skirts of the most avid Tudor fan. With its great plot and interesting characters, this book is a real page-turner and an enjoyable read. Highly recommended.”Historical Novels Review
“History, mystery and murder surround perennial protagonist Cotton Malone in a fast-moving tale featuring Elizabeth I, England’s ‘Virgin Queen.’ . . . A heart-pumping adventure.”The Florida Times-Union
“Action interspersed with unbelievable shockers from the past . . . [Cotton Malone] continues to do battle with history and those who would kill to keep its secrets buried.”Library Journal
“All the elements of a Da Vinci Code adventure are in place [including] undeniably fascinating historical material.”Publishers Weekly
“Contemporary politics mixes with treachery from Tudor England for a novel filled with suspense. The detailed history of Tudor England will entrance fans of British historicals. The castles mentioned are real and worth a visit. There are assassins, traitors, spies and mystery surrounding Cotton and his son, Gary.”—British Weekly

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Product Details

  • Series: Cotton Malone (Book 8)
  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1st edition (June 11, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345526546
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345526540
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (874 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #231,049 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Joseph Devita VINE VOICE on April 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I am a longtime reader of Steve Berry's books and really enjoyed his earlier efforts, especially the first few Cotton Malone thrillers. However, as often happens with series, it seems that with time they lose something. Whether this is the fault of the reader or author is hard to say. Whichever it is, I have noticed that the last few Malone books have been disappointing for me, and it is the same with The King's Deception.

To give credit where credit is due, Berry does try to stir things up, and this latest book for the most part does without the familiar cast of characters that usually flesh out his stories. And he is a good writer who does his research and ably evokes the locations which serve an important function in his historical mysteries. The book does move along at a brisk pace, and for the most part you should find it entertaining.

However, the problems I have with it really distract from the experience of reading it. First, and most importantly, the central mystery is rather flimsy and revealed early on. And then the intricate machinations built up around the plot, which involves the CIA trying to solve a mystery involving the Tudor dynasty so as to have leverage over the British Government seem to lack a certain logical consistency [without giving away too much, the CIA is searching for proof of an historical scandal which the British already know about- so why don't they just move the evidence and therefore eliminate the possible validation of any clues found by the Americans?]. And again, without giving too much away, the shadowy Daedulus Society at the center of the action has its own mystery which should be obvious almost immediately to anyone paying attention- something a few of the characters don't seem to do.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I will start by saying I am a big Steve Berry/Cotton Malone fan. With that disclaimer out of the way, I will say that his latest effort has kept me in the stable of fans for his novels.

The plot centers around a CIA operation to blackmail the English government into pressuring Scotland not to release the Lockerbie bomber for humanitarian reasons. The story is told by Cotton to his ex-wife, Pam, after the fact, so we go in knowing that the CIA Operation failed and that Cotton survived.

The author then weaves a really interesting plot around the CIA trying to prove an old myth that Elizabeth I was actually a male who was substituted for the original Elizabeth who died in her early teens.

The author builds his plot around actual historical facts and places. As usual, he has done his homework and accurately describes the places and historical events. One actually gets the feeling reading the book that one is really in those places described. One of the reasons I enjoy Berry's writing. Many of the places used in the book are ones that I have visited myself and can actually picture in my mind's eye exactly what he describes.

As is normal for Berry, at the end of the book, he explains that which he created to make the story work, that which is fact and that which is conjecture - something I wish some other authors would do.

You really do not have to have read the other Cotton Malone novels to enjoy this one, but having some background into the characters does help, but again, not required. So, if you have not read any of Berry's other books, this is a good place to start. And of course, if you are already a fan don't miss this one.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Steve Berry has established a very comfortable niche for himself in the world of repeating heroes. Cotton Malone is a real person with real problems in a real world. And Berry's obvious erudition in support of his history-based story lines is enjoyable to behold.


For some reason.

Berry has started writing

Like this.

As if giving five words.

Their own paragraph.

Somehow adds emphasis.

And. He. Also. Does. This. Thing.

Which is so over.

He is being lazy. Emphasis and importance come from words, not paragraphs.

C'mon, Steve! You're way too good for this! Get a new editor--one who might God forbid challenge you--and start writing as well as you tell a story.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This author never offers compelling characters but sometimes writes interesting mysteries. This particular story is so disjointed and pointless that I cannot find a single thing about it to recommend. The story lines - such as they are - are clumsy, the conversations are annoyingly shallow, and the complete miss on what could have been a great tale about a long-rumored historical mystery was disappointing and a complete bore. This book reads more like "Want to see my pictures from my trip to London?" than an actual story. And really, the requisite "then we had an interesting weekend" hint at some casual sex thrown in at the end was so completely gratuitous that it made me laugh out loud. Sadly, I'd recommend that you waste neither your time nor money on this one.
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Format: Hardcover
A very complex novel but the ease with which Berry ties all factors neatly together marks a truly fascinating
and engrossing read. What do Elizabethan times in British history going from the reign of Henry VIII to Queen Elizabeth I and her successor,
the return of one of the terrorists in the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing to Libya due to humanitarian reasons based on his terminal cancer,and questions
of territory granted to Irish Protestants by Elizabeth I have to do with one another? A possible answer to this is presented by Steve Berry in his latest
Cotton Malone novel.
Malone is returning to Denmark with his son Gary via a stopover in England. His previous employer the CIA has asked him to escort
a teenager that fled England rather than endanger himself by providing facts about a murder he saw. Looks like an easy drop, with a delivery
of the fugitive to British authorities than on to Denmark with Gary for a much needed father and son get together. No such luck, the boy and
Gary are kidnapped by persons unknown and Malone enters into the midst of a conspiracy involving the US CIA, the British equivalent of the FBI,
a visit to Oxford University, exploration of London underground, and tours of the tombs of deceased British royalty interred in Westminster Abbey.
Steve Berry and his wife are fascinated by history and together founded a society called History Matters which is dedicated to historic preservation.
He incorporates his love of history with a great story featuring a theory about Elizabeth I which changes the way she is depicted. It is based upon
interpretation from writings of her contemporaries plus an essay later published by Bram Stoker, the creator of Dracula showcasing that change in
views of her.
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