The King's Deception

June 11, 2013

The King's Deception
By: Steve Berry
432 Pages
Reviewed By: David Nelissen

Cotton Malone and his fifteen-year-old son, Gary, are headed to Europe. As a favor to his old boss at the Justice Department, Malone agrees to escort a teenage fugitive back to England.  After a gunpoint greeting in London in which both the fugitive and Gary disappear, Malone learns that he’s stumbled into a high-stakes diplomatic showdown-an international incident fueled by geopolitical gamesmanship and shocking Tudor secrets.
At its heart is the Libyan terrorist convicted of bombing Pan Am Flight 103, who is set to be released by Scottish authorities for ‘humanitarian reasons.’  An outraged American government wants that stopped, but nothing can persuade the British to intervene.
Except, perhaps, Operation King’s Deception.
Run by the CIA, the operation aims to solve a centuries-old mystery, one that could rock Great Britain to its royal foundations.
CIA Operative Blake Antrim, in charge of King’s Deception, is hunting for the spark that could rekindle a most dangerous fire:  the one thing that every Irish national has sought for centuries-a legal reason why the English must leave Northern Ireland.  The answer is a long-buried secret that calls into question the legitimacy of the entire 45 year reign of Elizabeth I, the last Tudor monarch, who completed the conquest of Ireland and seized much of its land. But Antrim also has a more personal agenda, a twisted game of revenge in which Gary is a pawn.  With assassins, traitors, spies, and dangerous disciples of a secret society closing in, Malone is caught in a lethal bind.  To save Gary he must play one treacherous player against another-and only by uncovering the incredible truth can he hope to stop the shattering consequences of the King’s Deception.

In The King’s Deception, Cotton Malone is back for another round of history-changing, fast-paced mystery solving. Steve Berry in previous books has attacked the perceptions of many key figures in history, and now it is the British monarchy that will have your perception challenged. Having said that, this adventure takes place almost exclusively (aside from a few flashbacks) in England. It starts with Cotton doing a favor for his former boss. He and his son just need to escort a British fugitive back to London. As soon as the wheels are down in England, everything goes awry. Multiple plots unfold, allegiances change back and forth, and along the way a secret history of the Tudors comes to light.
This book was very much like previous Cotton Malone books, in that the action was well paced and easy to follow, with the critical information of the plot spread out in chunks which always seemed to leave me wanting to know more right away. The plot was one that very much intrigued me and I spent some time researching on my own after I finished reading, just so I could have more first-hand knowledge. As always, Berry adds a “Writer’s Note” at the end to let us, the readers, know where he embellished for the story (which was surprisingly little). Around 300 books were studied for this book and Berry even cites Bram Stoker for one of the biggest facets of the story.
All in all, this book was very good. It had me involved in the characters. It had me imagining some wonderful sights in England, even though I have never been there. It especially had me involved in the plot. Even now, after having read it I cannot help thinking, “What if that did happen? What if what I have heard before may not be true? What if…? What if…? What if…?”


Unknown on July 25, 2013 at 6:12 AM said...

Wonderful review. I especially like the emphasis you put on the 'what if...'. As far as I'm concerned the 'what if' questions have to be on the forefront of the mind after reading anything with a historical context. Elaine Charles' book report radio show has now introduced me to two brilliant authors; Nathaniel Philbrick, and Steve Berry, both of whom have elicited an affinity for history in me :) One extra thing that came out in Berry's interview this Sunday past: He wrote a short story "The Tudor Plot" as a sort of introduction to "The King's Deception" - it might be worthwhile finding it before opening the new novel.

Jen on August 7, 2013 at 10:04 AM said...

Ambrose- Thank you so much for your comment. My hubby got the honor of reviewing this Steve Berry book, but I've been a fan of his for years. I love the stories he creates out of history. The way he weaves fact and fiction together is seamless and stunning. His author notes, at the end of the books, are so fascinating. I look forward to more of his books! I loved loved loved The Amber Room and The Last Romanov. Steve Berry makes history so interesting!

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