The Jefferson Key

Steve Berry. Ballantine, $26 (480p) ISBN 978-0-345-50551-4
At the start of Berry's ingeniously plotted seventh Cotton Malone novel (after The Emperor's Tomb), former U.S. Justice Department agent Malone, who's been summoned to New York City by his old boss, Stephanie Nelle, manages to thwart an attempt to assassinate the U.S. president outside a midtown Manhattan hotel. Malone soon finds himself in the middle of a power struggle with roots in presidential history. A cipher formulated by Thomas Jefferson and employed by Andrew Jackson has been unbroken for 175 years. Documents hidden by Jackson contain the key to the legitimacy—and the wealth and power—of the Commonwealth, a coalition of privateers or pirates dating from the American Revolution. Malone and his lover, Cassiopeia Vitt, must match wits and survival skills with several formidable foes, including rogue agent Jonathan Wyatt and Quartermaster Clifford Knox of the Commonwealth. Berry offers plenty of twists and vivid action scenes in a feast of historical imagination. Author tour. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/25/2011
Release date: 05/01/2011
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