Steve Berry: The Paris Vendetta
978-0345505477 – Hardcover -Ballantine Books – $26.00
Steve Berry’s latest adventure. The Paris Vendetta, is a terrific read, grounded in some pretty riveting historical mysteries, with a powerful story that grabs you right away and just will not let go. I really enjoyed reading it. Steve’s own description of the book (his site is one of the best author sites I have visited) is the best way to summarize the story without giving too much away:
When Napoleon Bonaparte died in exile in 1821, he took to the grave a powerful secret. As general and Emperor, he had stolen uncountable riches from palaces, national treasuries, even the Knights of Malta and the Vatican. In his final days, his British captors hoped to learn where the loot lay hidden. But he told them nothing and in his will he made no mention of his treasure.
Or did he?
Former-Justice Department operative Cotton Malone is about to find out after trouble comes knocking at his Copenhagen bookshop. Actually, it breaks and enters in the form of an American Secret Service agent with a pair of assassins on his heels. Malone has his doubts about the anxious young man, but narrowly surviving a ferocious firefight convinces him to follow his unexpected new ally.
Their first stop is the secluded estate of Malone’s good friend, Henrik Thorvaldsen. The wily Danish tycoon has uncovered the insidious plans of the Paris Club, a cabal of multi-millionaires bent on manipulating the global economy. Only by matching wits with a terrorist-for-hire, foiling a catastrophic attack, and plunging into a desperate hunt for Napoleon’s legendary lost treasure can Malone hope to avert international financial anarchy.
But Thorvaldsen’s real objective is much more personal: a vendetta to avenge the murder of his son by the larcenous aristocrat at the heart of the conspiracy. Which places Malone in an impossible quandary-one that forces him to choose between friend and country, past and present. Starting in Denmark, moving to England, and ending up in the storied streets and cathedrals of Paris, Malone plays a breathless game of duplicity and death, all to claim a prize of untold value.
I really enjoyed talking to Steve about The Paris Vendetta. Even though it’s the latest in a series he’s done featuring Cotton Malone, you definitely do not need to start at the beginning of the series. This book has all the requisite elements for readers who enjoy intelligent, historically grounded adventure novels; it’s almost impossible not to compare Berry to Dan Brown, and in my opinion, Berry is clearly the better writer. And as an added bonus, Steve is an author who can talk incisively about his own work. This interview should be fun for his many current fans as well as those who have never read his books.