cover image The Last Kingdom

The Last Kingdom

Steve Berry. Grand Central, $29 (400p) ISBN 978-1-5387-2099-8

In bestseller Berry’s high-octane 17th novel featuring Cotton Malone (after 2021’s The Kaiser’s Web), Malone, a former intelligence officer who worked 12 years with the Magellan Billet, a covert Justice Department unit, and is now living in Denmark, where he owns and operates a rare book shop, comes out of retirement to assist his protégé, Luke Daniels. Daniels has infiltrated a group bent “on doing some bad things to the U.S.” that is linked to Bavarian prince Stefan von Bayern. The prince wants Malone and Daniels to visit Bavaria’s Herrenchiemsee Palace, built by Ludwig II, the notorious mad king, to search for a valuable document. The document is connected with Ludwig’s desire to realize his enigmatic dream of acquiring “the last kingdom”—and to his mysterious death in 1886, supposedly by accidental drowning. Malone soon finds himself shot at and drawn into aiding Daniels further. The reveal of this mysterious document’s true nature will work best for series fans accustomed to suspending disbelief. Those looking for a fun page-turner with historical elements will be satisfied. Agent: Agent: Simon Lipskar, Writers House. (Feb.)