Review: The Lost Order by Steve Berry

The Lost Order
by Steve Berry

The Lost Order.jpg

Copyright: 2017

Pages: 487

Read: April 5-17, 2017

Rating: 4/5

Source: Publicist for Review

 
BlurbThe Knights of the Golden Circle was the largest and most dangerous clandestine organization in American history. It amassed billions in stolen gold and silver, all buried in hidden caches across the United States. Since 1865 treasure hunters have searched, but little of that immense wealth has ever been found.

Now, one hundred and sixty years later, two factions of what remains of the Knights of the Golden Circle want that lost treasure—one to spend it for their own ends, the other to preserve it.

Thrust into this battle is former Justice Department agent Cotton Malone, whose connection to the knights is far deeper than he ever imagined. Complicating matters further are the political ambitions of a reckless Speaker of the House and the bitter widow of a United States Senator, who together are planning radical changes to the country.

From the backrooms of the Smithsonian to the deepest woods in rural Arkansas, and finally up into the rugged mountains of northern New Mexico, The Lost Order is a perilous adventure into our country’s dark past, and a potentially even darker future.


Review: So I did something I never do. I read a book out of series order. It’s not something that I like to do …. ever. But something about this book immediately caught my eye when it was pitched to me. So I took the plunge, and said why not? I can say that while I did miss some things along the way (and don’t worry, I will backtrack and read the two books I skipped), it was nothing really earth-shattering that left me kicking myself for reading out of order. In fact this book could easily read as a standalone quite well. So don’t let the fact that it’s book #12 in the Cotton Malone series deter you from picking this one up.

For me this book had a somewhat slow start. It probably didn’t help that I was dealing with some medical things relating to my daughter when I first started this book. So while I *say* it had a slow start, it might just have been because of the way things were going in my personal life. The last 250 pages were a blur – I read them very quickly and couldn’t stand to put the book down. It got extremely good, extremely fast.

I like Cotton’s character. I always have. He’s just a really interesting character. I think he’s really the perfect blend of being a total badass while remaining believable. It also doesn’t hurt that I like all the supporting characters as well. So that probably makes Cotton more enjoyable to me. As always, Mr. Berry seamlessly blends fact vs. fiction. I always love the very ending of each book where he separates the facts from the fiction. Everything he writes always seems so plausible. That’s really what makes these books so appealing to me. It also doesn’t hurt that I have a fascination with the Civil War, so that was just another attention grabber this book had for me.

So while I did a bad thing (reading a series book out of order – ha!), I’m happy to say that it didn’t affect my feelings on the book at all. I thoroughly enjoyed this one. And I highly recommend it to everyone. Even if you’re not a series fan, or not caught up with this series, pick it up – it’s a really good read!!! I look forward to seeing what happens next with the characters – seeing what adventures await Cotton! This was just a good, solid read. It was a lot of fun and left me wanting more Cotton Malone!!

I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Review: The Jefferson Key by Steve Berry

The Jefferson Key
by Steve Berry

The Jefferson Key

Copyright: 2011

Pages: 513

Read: June 19-30, 2016

Rating: 4/5

Source: Grandmother

 

 

Blurb: Four presidents of the United States have been assassinated – in 1865, 1881, 1901, and 1963 – each murder seemingly unrelated. But what if those presidents were all killed for the same shocking reason: a clause contained in the United States Constitution? This is the question faced by former Justice Department operative Cotton Malone. When President Danny Daniels is nearly killed in the heart of Manhattan, Malone risks his life to foil the murder – only to find himself at odds with the Commonwealth, a secret society of pirates first assembled during the American Revolution. Racing across the nation and taking to the high seas, Malone and Cassiopeia Vitt must break a secret cipher originally possessed by Thomas Jefferson, unravel a mystery concocted by Andrew Jackson, and unearth a document forged by the Founding Fathers themselves – one powerful enough to make the Commonwealth unstoppable.


Review: The last Cotton Malone book in this series is actually one I ended up not finishing. It revolved around a Chinese storyline of some sort and I vaguely remember being heavily pregnant with Katelyn and just not interested. So I DNF’ed it. Seeing as how my daughter is over a year old now, it’s obviously been a while since I last met up with Cotton. I obviously missed something in the previous book (how Cotton and Cassiopeia ended up a couple), but overall that wasn’t really a big surprise.

So what did I think about this book? Well this is the first time Mr. Berry has set Cotton primarily in the United States. And I loved it. My one and only complaint is that it was over 500 pages – common for these books – but definitely tough on me personally as a reader these days. And while this is the 7th in the series, it stands well on its own, but I do highly recommend meeting Cotton from the beginning!

So overall … a good book, if rather long. Definitely recommended.

2014.20 REVIEW – The Paris Vendetta by Steve Berry

The Paris Vendetta
by Steve Berry

Copyright: 2009
Pages: 472
Rating: 3.5/5
Read: April 25 – May 4, 2014
Challenge: The Official TBR Challenge
Yearly count: 20
Format:  Print
Source: Personal Copy (Bookmooch)
Series: Cotton Malone #5

The Paris VendettaBlurb: Former Justice Department operative Cotton Malone wakes to find an intruder in his Copenhagen bookshop: an American Secret Service agent with assassins on his heels. Narrowly surviving a ferocious firefight, the two journey to the secluded estate of Malone’s friend Henrik Thorvaldsen. The wily Danish tycoon has uncovered the insidious plans of the Paris Club, a cabal of multimillionaires bent on manipulating the global economy. But Thorvaldsen also harbors a hidden agenda – a vendetta – that will force Malone 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 is forced to match wits with a terrorist for hire and to plunge into a desperate hunt for Napoleon’s legendary treasure, lost for two hundred years. It’s a breathless game of duplicity and death, all to claim a prize of untold value. But at what cost?


Review: This book is the fifth installment in the Cotton Malone series. I have slowly worked my way through these books the last few years. They always pique my interest, with all the history involved, but I find them to be somewhat slow reads (which is why I probably only read one a year).

In this particular installment, there was a lot of things going on. I found myself not as interested in the actual storyline as I was in the character development. There is a lot of growth, betrayal, and devastation within the characters of this book. Because of this I would not recommend reading this book without having read the previous books in the series. I don’t think you would appreciate some of the characters’ decisions without some background information.

As always with Mr. Berry’s work, the book appears to have been meticulously researched. The writing was extremely good, the storyline interesting. Overall a great book that I did indeed enjoy. It’s just that I have hit a slump in my reading and unfortunately, I think this was the book that started that slump. But I was determined to read it because I knew it would be worth it in the end, it was just a long journey to get there.

Overall, definitely a book and series I would highly recommend to those of you who love a good adventure with lots of history involved.

2012.32 REVIEW – The Charlemagne Pursuit by Steve Berry

The Charlemagne Pursuit
by Steve Berry

Copyright: 2009
Pages: 576
Rating: 4/5
Read: Nov. 29 – Dec. 13, 2012
Challenge: Mystery & Suspense Challenge; Off the Shelf Challenge
Yearly count: 32
Format: Paper book
Source: Personal Copy

The Charlemagne PursuitBlurb: As a child, former Justice Department agent Cotton Malone was told that his father died in a submarine disaster in the North Atlantic. But what he now learns stuns him: His father’s sub was a secret nuclear vessel lost on a highly classified mission beneath the ice shelves of Antarctica.

Twin sisters Dorothea Lindauer and Christl Falk are also determined to find out what became of their father, who died on the same submarine–and they know something Malone doesn’t: Inspired by strange clues discovered in Charlemagne’s tomb, the Nazis explored Antarctica before the Americans. Now Malone discovers that cryptic journals penned in “the language of heaven,” conundrums posed by an ancient historian, and his father’s ill-fated voyage are all tied to a revelation of immense consequence for humankind. As Malone embarks on a dangerous quest with the sisters, he will finally confront the shocking truth of his father’s death and the distinct possibility of his own.


Review: I feel as if I’m failing my readers here, because unfortunately I did not take very good notes after finishing this book and have read two books since reading this one, so I apologize if my review isn’t as in-depth as it should be.

This is the fourth book in the Cotton Malone series. I think what I like the best about these books is the way that Mr. Berry seems to effortlessly weave history into his fiction without it begin dull. Add some gunfights and adventure to that history and you’ve got a roller coaster ride.

I will say that the only reason that I rated this book a 4 instead of a 5 was that it lagged a little bit here and there. I think part of the problem was that I enjoyed one of the storylines more than the other. And unfortunately I honestly preferred the secondary storyline – not the one that Cotton was really involved in. I’m not saying that it wasn’t a good book all around – because it definitely was. I think my problem with it was that I really didn’t care for what the Charlemagne Pursuit ended up being. I don’t know, it’s hard to explain. I also didn’t like that Henrik and Cassiopeia weren’t in this book at all – they’ve been pretty important characters in the previous books and this one left them out completely. However, we do get to see more of Stephanie’s character in this installment, so that was nice to see.

I definitely would start at the beginning of this series, because this book would not read so great as a stand-alone. However, I did enjoy that we finally got to know a little bit about the enigma that was Cotton’s father. I found that to be very interesting.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book and this series. It was a fun read – but at 576 pages it’s not a very quick read.

 

2012.1 REVIEW – The Venetian Betrayal by Steve Berry

The Venetian Betrayal
by Steve Berry

Copyright: 2007
Pages: 540
Rating: 4/5
Read: Jan. 1 – Jan. 7, 2012
Challenge: The Eclectic Reader 2012; Mystery & Suspense 2012; Off the Shelf 2012
Yearly Count: 1
Format: Print
Source: Personal Copy

Blurb: After narrowly escaping incineration in a devastating fire that consumes a Danish museum, Cotton Malone – former Justice Department agent turned rare-book dealer – learns from his friend, the beguiling adventurer Cassiopeia Vitt, that the blaze was neither an accident nor an isolated incident. As part of a campaign of arson intended to mask a far more diabolical design, buildings across Europe are being devoured by infernos of unnatural strength. Born from the ashes is a new Eastern European nation whose ruthless leader will soon draw Cotton into an intense geopolitical chess game against a shadowy cabal of power brokers. The prize lies buried with the mummified remains of Alexander the Great – in a tomb lost to the ages for more than two thousand years. Trekking from Denmark to Venice to Central Asia, Cotton and Cassiopeia are determined to solve an ancient puzzle whose solution could destroy or save millions of people – depending on who finds the lost tomb first.


Review: This is the third in the Cotton Malone series. I find this to be such a fun series! There’s always just enough history combined with incredible action, it just makes a great combination.

I felt in this book we really got a lot more insight into who Cassiopeia Vitt is. In the two previous books, she’s kind of been an enigma in my opinion. So it was really nice to learn more about Cassiopeia in a way that the readers hadn’t before.

As I stated above, I think what really draws me to these books is how there is some historical aspect to them. The first book dealt with Templars, the second involved the lost Library of Alexandria, and this book focused on Alexander the Great and where he was really buried. Having majored in history, these books really interest me. And there’s always non-stop action. I really do find it to be a perfect blend.

I have the next book in this series already on my shelf, I hope I get to it sooner rather than later. I would highly recommend this book and the series as a whole.

2011.19 REVIEW – The Alexandria Link by Steve Berry

The Alexandria Link
by Steve Berry

Copyright: 2007
Pages: 485
Rating: 4/5
Read: April 8 – 17, 2011
Challenge:  TBR Dare; TwentyEleven Challenge
Yearly Count: 19
Format: Print

First Line: George Haddad’s patience ended as he glared at the man bound to the chair.

Blurb: “You have something I want. You’re the only person on earth who knows where to find it. Go get it. You have 72 hours. If I don’t hear from you, you will be childless.” Cotton Malone’s teenage son has been kidnapped, and an anonymous e-mail from those responsible proves they will stop at nothing to get their hands on a coveted prize: the legendary lost Library of Alexandria, which vanished 1,500 years ago. Within that vast reserve of 500,000 manuscripts, one holds the key to ultimate power – a revelation so shocking it could fundamentally alter modern geopolitics. Pursued by a lethal mercenary, Malone crosses the globe in search of this vast bounty of wisdom. His quest will lead him to England and Portugal, even to the highest levels of American government – and the shattering outcome, deep in the Sinai desert, will have worldwide repercussions.

Review: The last 200 pages of this book made the first 300 pages that I suffered through made this book entirely worth it. There were spots that were just too much for me. I am not a religious person and I found myself skipping over whole passages discussing the Bible and the Holy Land and how the Bible was fundamentally changed in translation. However, I still enjoyed this book. And honestly, I loved the conspiracy part of the book. And once the climax occurred, the book flew by for me. It was just getting to that point that was a little difficult to me. But I toughed it out because I remembered how much I enjoyed the first Cotton Malone book, The Templar Legacy, and I was just patiently waiting for the break-neck thrill ride that I know Steve Berry is capable of writing to happen. I’m glad I stuck with it, because it was honestly a great ending. I already have the third book in this series on my shelf and I hope to get to it quicker than I got to the second book after the first. I would highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys fast-paced thrill-packed adventure!

The Templar Legacy by Steve Berry

The Templar Legacy
by Steve Berry

Copyright: 2006
Pages: 475
Rating: 5/5
Read: June 3-7, 2009
Challenge:  2009 100+ Reading Challenge; Countdown Challenge; 1st in a Series Challenge; Suspense & Thriller Challenge – Religious thriller subcategory
Yearly Count: 27

First Line: Jacques De Molay sought death, but knew salvation would never be offered.

Cotton Malone, once an agent for the US Justice Department, is enjoying a peaceful life in Copenhagen as a antiquarian book dealer. But all of that changes when his former boss tries to meet up with him while she is on vacation. However, he finds out rather quickly that she is not on vacation; she is not an any type of operation, but she is up to something. As he sets out to figure out what it is that his former boss does not want to let him in on, he quickly finds himself involved in an ancient puzzle that has mystified scholars for ages. The more involved he finds himself, the more dangers the stakes become, and the more intrigued Cotton Malone becomes. For there is one very powerful man who will stop at nothing to get what he wants, even with Cotton in his way.

I’ve been keeping my eye on this book for a while, but I had been slightly unsure about reading it. However, after seeing Angels & Demons in the theater, my interest in this type of book has been renewed (I also have Angels & Demons waiting anxiously on my TBR pile for me). So I checked this book out of the library the last time I was there. And let me tell you – I was absolutely hooked on this book from about page one!! I loved it. I loved the historical/religious aspect of it intertwined with the fast paced race-around-the-clock action!! I highly recommend this book if you haven’t read it yet!