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The Paris Vendetta: A Novel (Cotton Malone) Mass Market Paperback – July 27, 2010

3.9 out of 5 stars 242 customer reviews
Book 5 of 10 in the Cotton Malone Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

James Rollins Reviews The Paris Vendetta

James Rollins is the author of six thrillers in the bestselling Sigma Force series (Sandstorm, Map of Bones, Black Order, The Judas Strain, The Last Oracle, and The Doomsday Key); the movie novelization, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull; and several stand-alone thrillers. Read his guest review of The Paris Vendetta:

I’ve known Steve Berry since the beginning of his career. Back in 2002, he approached me to read his first novel, The Amber Room, for a cover blurb. The book’s description definitely intrigued me, hinting at a story involving lost treasures, historical mysteries, and characters both compelling and repellant. Still, I turned the first page with a skeptical eye, wondering how a debut author would fare with such a big story. But within a matter of pages, skepticism faded, and awe rose. I read that book in one long sitting and closed the cover and thought: This guy is going to have a huge career. So, of course, I was happy to provide a blurb for that book. By the way, another struggling author was also impressed with the novel and described it as "my kind of thriller--a globe-trotting treasure hunt with exotic locales and ruthless villains." That little-known author was Dan Brown.

As years rolled by, my first gut reaction to Steve’s writing proved prophetic. His career rocketed after that first book as he produced story after story of nail-biting adventures that spanned the world: from the Russian steppes to the Egyptian desert to the icy caves of Antarctica. He’s since become branded as the king of intrigue, a master at folding ancient mysteries into ripped-from-the-headlines adventures. His books have dealt with Vatican prophecies, cures for AIDS, lost ancient libraries, even the discovery of a lost civilization. Over the years, he’s gathered a huge international following, climbing bestseller charts around the world.

So I picked up his latest book, The Paris Vendetta, and eyed it again with a bit of jaded skepticism. Surely he must have run out of steam. Who could keep producing masterworks of such precise plotting, complicated characters, and heart-pounding adventure year after year? So I settled into my favorite chair and turned the first page of The Paris Vendetta. Within a matter of paragraphs, I was riding with Napoleon through the scorching Egyptian desert, climbing the Great Pyramid for a midnight rendezvous, and discovering something earth-shattering was afoot. But what was it? A few pages later, his main character, the resourceful Cotton Malone, struggles to survive a firefight in his bookstore in Copenhagen. I found myself holding my breath, wincing as the suspense grew as taut as an assassin’s garrote, and quickly became embroiled in a conspiracy that trailed back centuries.

As I read that book, the hours vanished. Pages continued to fly by. And once again I was hooked. No, more than hooked... I was lost. In the end, that is the true magic and mastery of this man’s writing, the true reason he has become the king of intrigue. You don’t just read a Steve Berry novel. You live it. --James Rollins


--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Bestseller Berry deftly blends contemporary suspense and historical mystery in his fifth novel to feature former U.S. Justice Department operative Cotton Malone (after The Charlemagne Pursuit). Danish billionaire Henrik Thorvaldsen, a friend of Malone's, has become consumed with finding out who masterminded the slaughter outside a Mexico City courthouse two years earlier that killed seven people, including his young diplomat son. Once he learns that a wealthy British aristocrat was behind the outrage, Thorvaldsen gets entangled in a conspiracy that involves an elite group of ruthless financial experts planning to destabilize the global economy, a terrorist plot to destroy a European landmark, and a legendary cache hidden by Napoleon. Malone soon finds himself in a desperate struggle to save not only Thorvaldsen's life but the lives of countless innocents as well. While the plot takes a few predictable turns, this well-crafted thriller also offers plenty of surprises. 5-city author tour. (Dec.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Cotton Malone (Book 5)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (July 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345505484
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345505484
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (242 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,361 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on December 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Danish billionaire Henrik Thorvaldsen obsesses over the terrorist incident in Mexico City that left seven dead including his son. He cannot move on as the brain behind the assault has remained free although he now knows who he is.

Henrik sends apparently fired Secret Service Agent Sam Collins to break into the Copenhagen bookstore owned by former United States Department of Justice (DOJ) operative Cotton Malone. The grieving Dane hopes to obtain Malone's cooperation to help bring down the killer Lord Ashby who has ties to a financial cartel the Paris Club planning an assault on the global economy for avaricous gains that the DOJ hopes to counter. The starting point in the plan is a plot to destroy a landmark that could kill hundreds; war is usury profitable for the finance community.

With terrific ties to Napoleon in Corsica and an exciting action packed story line, the latest Cotton Malone thriller (see The Charlemagne Pursuit) is a fun read. Filled with twists and over the top of the Eiffel Tower villains, fans will enjoy Malone's newest retirement caper mindful of War, Inc and If Looks Could Kill although not a satire. Malone teams up with a grieving angry father and a First Amendment conspiracy buff to thwart the latest capitalist plot to have the masses finance war with money and blood so the affluent can make outrageous profits.

Harriet Klausner
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Format: Hardcover
This was much better than The Charlemagne Pursuit. The Paris Vendetta does have it's problems but it is very readable and takes the reader for a little adventure ride so I give it 3 stars. Not too bad. I'm not trying to be some overly critical reader here, but I hate it when the pieces don't fit together very well. Again he uses Book Store Cotton as his main driver to move the story ahead but it may be time to kill off Cotton or retire him for awhile. Gggeezzzz this poor guy is getting older and some of the antics he's doing are beyond impossible and the scenes with poor Cotton and the helicopter and the runaway plane at the Eiffel Tower must have worn the guy out. As usual Berry throwns in a some history and speculation and some invention to spice up the story and although Napoleon's Treasure is a very central point it does seem to get lost in the action mish-mash and seems to just be an afterthought; which helps to make this a very average middle-of-the-road-thriller.

I don't see any problems with some of the shortened chapters, afterall they clearly avoid chapters crammed with too much.

There are also points where it really drags because it Steve will go into the travelogue mode and overdescribe some details about geography, history or architecture. Not a bad read but not a great read. I like a thriller to put me a bit more on the edge of my seat.

If you like some thrills and some history I'd recommend this book for you to read.
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Format: Hardcover
Steve Berry's books are like candy; you read them quickly because the plot is compelling, and you have a pleasant aftertaste. This is the latest in a string of books written about Cotton Malone, the American ex-pat bookseller now living in Denmark. No matter how hard he tries to be retired, just like Michael Corleone "They keep dragging me back".

This is another quest for something valuable, in this case the fabled "lost treasure" of Napoleon. The quest takes us to various interesting places, but most prominently to Paris, where most of the action is centered.

A few new characters for the "good guys" are introduced (and I suspect we may read about them again in the future), and there are the usual coterie of "bad guys". The plot may be a bit "out there", but the book is a very good way to spend a few pleasant hours, finish the book, and wait expectantly for the next Cotton Malone book.
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By BGray on December 30, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'm so glad I didn't buy this book--I checked it out from the public library instead. I think the author made the mistake of venturing into the Napoleon treasure nonsense. It would have been much better if the author had stuck to the theme of global financial manipulation as it is so relevant to today--and scary.

Also, I have to note one of my pet peeves about international intrigue books with American main characters. It annoys me to no end when American characters on foreign soil are always the heroes while the locals are given minor background roles. While American security personnel do have some clout with it's allies, I have no doubt in my mind that the French authorities would ever allow an American agent to virtually "call the shots" much less be the first to look upon a lost treasure of Napoleon.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
First, I am a Steve Berry fan, but I rate books in accordance with the capabilities of the author, not some scale comparing all literary works (as other reviewers often do). So, before I blast this one, let me assure you I have enjoyed many of Mr. Berry's other novels. That said, The Paris Vendetta is an overly tangled mess of subplots, none of which satisfied me. It was as if Mr. Berry originally thought he'd use the Bilderbergers or the Trilateral Commission (aka The Paris Club here) and then throw in terrorism and back-reference war to add danger to the economic intrigue and manipulation. Sounds like a good start, just one minor problem... seems none of the legendary historical stuff he's known for was in the first draft. What to do? Find something fast and shoehorn it in.

Solution? Mr. Berry selects Napoleon Bonaparte, an ancient seer, a prophetic and magical book, an alleged treasure, and a descendant of Pozzo di Borgo (a Count, who Berry describes as "instrumental" in leading to Napoleon's downfall) in order to fill the glaring hole in his novel. And in the Writer's Note section, Mr. Berry describes most of these elements as ones of his own invention. Really? These additions are strikingly similar to those found in The Secret of Kings, written by a woman who is truly a descendant of the Count (not the Duke, aka Wellington) most responsible for Napoleon's downfall. I wonder if the real Eliza Larocque received remuneration for so many coincidences? Her work of fiction predates 2008.

Next, the idea to bring in new characters, who will no doubt show up in future Steve Berry works, clutters this story. The flashbacks about Sam would have been better saved for his next appearance. (However, I'm guessing Mr.
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