cover image The 14th Colony

The 14th Colony

Steve Berry. Minotaur, $27.99 (464p) ISBN 978-1-250-05624-5

Bestseller Berry’s 11th Cotton Malone thriller (after 2015’s The Patriot Threat) offers a clever variation on the theme of racing against the clock to avert national disaster. In 1982 in Vatican City, Ronald Reagan and John Paul II have a private meeting, in which they plot the end of the Soviet Union by concerted political, economic, and spiritual pressure. In the present day, the impending end of the administration of President Danny Daniels also signals the closing of the Magellan Billet, a covert intelligence unit within the Justice Department. Meanwhile, the unit’s leader and Malone’s old boss, Stephanie Nelle, sends him on what should be a simple reconnaissance mission to Russia, but, of course, it isn’t. The story line expands to include missing nukes, a society formed by U.S. army officers after the Revolutionary War, and a dying man’s cryptic reference to the “zero amendment.” Richer characterizations and more thoughtful suspense elevate this above similar 24-like stories. [em]Author tour. Agent: Simon Lipskar, Writers House. (Apr.) [/em]