Series: Cotton Malone #12
Published by: Ballantine Books
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A family’s secret, a ruthless fanatic, and a covert arm of the American government—all are linked by a single puzzling possibility:
What if everything we know about the discovery of America was a lie? What if that lie was designed to hide the secret of why Columbus sailed in 1492? And what if that 500-year-old secret could violently reshape the modern political world?
Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative journalist Tom Sagan has written hard-hitting articles from hot spots around the world. But when one of his stories from the Middle East is exposed as a fraud, his professional reputation crashes and burns. Now he lives in virtual exile—haunted by bad decisions and a shocking truth he can never prove: that his downfall was a deliberate act of sabotage by an unknown enemy. But before Sagan can end his torment with the squeeze of a trigger, fate intervenes in the form of an enigmatic stranger. This stranger forces Sagan to act—and his actions attract the attention of the Magellan Billet, a top-secret corps of the United States Justice Department that deals with America’s most sensitive investigations. Sagan suddenly finds himself caught in an international incident, the repercussions of which will shudder not only Washington, D.C., but also Jerusalem. Coaxed into a deadly cat-and-mouse game, unsure who’s friend and who’s foe, Sagan is forced to Vienna, Prague, then finally into the Blue Mountains of Jamaica—where his survival hinges on his rewriting everything we know about Christopher Columbus.
This book was amazing and without a doubt one of the best books I’ve read in a very long time. I have never read a book by Steve Berry prior to this one and I am thrilled I won this one through the GoodReads First Reads giveaways. I will definitely be purchasing more books by Mr. Berry.
I do not understand the criticisms of this book that other reviews have mentioned. I had absolutely no problem with the momentum of the plot. As far as I was concerned every character, every tale, every sentence was completely critical to the story. I fell in love with some of the characters, even the villainous characters, and I loved the complexity that Mr. Berry built in to each one. Tom Sagan, a disgraced former Pulitzer-Prize winning investigative reporter who lost his family and his career, Alle Sagan Becket who felt betrayed and abandoned by her disgraced father and who, seeking acceptance and validity, fell victim to an insane terrorist, Bene Rowe, a man seeking to clarify his own identity while struggling with who his ancestors were and the man he currently is, and Zachariah Simon the insane terrorist who will betray everyone and stop at nothing to incite a war to save his people. The story is fantastic and is woven so intricately that I could barely bring myself to ever put the book down.
I adored the writing style. I loved how the story was continually shifting character perspective. It keeps the story from becoming stale and created a deeper understanding of the story as a whole. It was not a tale of Tom Sagan, or Alle Becket, or Bene Rowe, or Zachariah Simon, it was a tale of all of these characters on different quests to different ends through the same treasure. I found it reminiscent of the character shifts in William Faulkner’s “As I Lay Dying.” I also loved Mr. Berry’s use of choppy shifting sentences. The choppy sentences, such as:
I didn’t know if I could.
If I should.
I would have to try.
(I made those up, they aren’t in the story but that style is) was beautifully included in the context of the book. It broke up the fluid writing of the rest of the book and reflected the chaos of a moment, or a thought process, and it was brilliantly used.
I have no complaints with this book. It is definitely a new favorite of mine and if Mr. Berry’s other books are as well-written as this one I may have found a new author to add to my list of favorites.