There is a secret from our history – 500 years old – startling in its revelations and devastating in its political impact. A secret that has, thankfully, stayed hidden.
Former Justice Department agent, Cotton Malone, travels to England and finds himself caught in a dark conspiracy born long ago, in the time of the Tudors.
Now both the CIA and MI6 seem to be competing to uncover the mystery and, for Malone, supposedly on holiday with his son, Gary, it’s not just the action which comes thick and fast. When Gary disappears, Malone is forced into a race against time, as he battles to decipher a puzzle that leads him from the Middle Temple to the chapel at Windsor Castle, from an Oxford college to the sewers beneath Hampton Court.
With assassins, traitors, spies, and dangerous disciples of a secret society closing in, Malone discovers that the solution to the mystery will not only draw him into a lethal trap, but force him closer to his own troubling past. And a shocking revelation.
A couple of years ago I read my first Steve Berry book – The Emperor’s Tomb – and was immediately caught up in Berry’s writing, his style and the adventure that ensued. I really enjoyed that book and couldn’t wait for the next adventure. Unfortunately for some reason I just couldn’t get involved with The Jefferson Key or The Columbus Affair, no idea why – surprising given my love for American history – but for me the magic wasn’t there. Now that I’ve read his latest novel – The King’s Deception – I may take another look at the books I failed to finish, you never know I might feel differently next time I read them.
Along with American history I do have a soft spot for the Tudor period, it makes for fascinating reading and with The King’s Deception it played right into my comfort zone, almost! The one era I have little knowledge on is Elizabeth I’s reign – The Golden Age and last of the Tudor’s – but with this book it gave me the opportunity to learn more about the Queen and those partly responsible for her long service. It really is fascinating stuff and the author has taken a long standing conspiracy, one I had heard of previously, morphed together with solid historical fact and made it into a highly intelligent and pacy adventure that made me reference the internet for more background information throughout the read.
Cotton Malone is key to the story as you would expect and is ably supported by an eclectic cast of spies, family members, friends and strangers, all playing their part to keep the story ticking along. The narrative is fluid and well thought out and the numerous plots all come together at the end without too much effort.
There were a couple of mistakes that I spotted but these were relatively minor and have little bearing on the book or the storyline. All in all a thoroughly entertaining read, one that has regained my confidence in the author and will make me pick up his next book. A quick read that will keep you on your toes but a great delight for me is that the book for the most part was set in and around the streets of London, underground tunnels and royal palaces.
The final few chapters are over in a flash and there were a couple of unexpected moments towards the end but it was the reason for all the skulduggery by the US and UK agencies that impressed me. This isn’t your usual treasure hunt, it’s a little more substantial than that. Well thought out and executed!
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