Series: Cotton Malone #8
Format Read: Hardcover
Source: Meryl L Moss Media in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: June 11, 2013
Buying Links: Amazon | The Book Depository | Barnes & Noble
Blurb from goodreads:
Cotton Malone is back! Steve Berry’s new international adventure blends gripping contemporary political intrigue, Tudor treachery, and high-octane thrills into one riveting novel of suspense.
Cotton Malone and his fifteen-year-old son, Gary, are headed to Europe. As a favor to his former boss at the Justice Department, Malone agrees to escort a teenage fugitive back to England. But after he is greeted at gunpoint in London, both the fugitive and Gary disappear, and 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 objects, 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.
Blake Antrim, the CIA operative 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 generations: 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 forty-five-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 prevent the shattering consequences of the King’s Deception.
I don't think I've read a Cotton Malone book before but that wasn't a problem as I read this story, it held up well as a stand alone. "The King's Deception" is a mix of English and Irish history, terrorism, family matters both historical and current, and international relations. There are many plot threads and more than once I found myself wondering how it all tied together or what the heck one had to do with the others. Pay attention, take notes if need be (more than once I wished I were reading it on my kindle) because it does all fit together eventually but you need to keep track. There are double and triple agents, plot twists and very little is predictable. It's a good beach or pool read especially if you have large blocks of time to devote to reading.
There's a large cast of characters and many of them you just aren't sure if they are good guys or bad guys. While a few are clearly one or the other, most are not and I liked that ambiguity; it was a realistic touch. I never really warmed up to Cotton, he was decent enough, I just didn't connect to him. Antrim and Matthews were also distant but intriguing; Matthews particularly was quite complicated. I really liked Ian and Miss Mary; they were interesting, felt real, and their relationship was delightful. Berry neatly ties in family matters from a century ago with family matters in Malone's present day life, with the stories serving to emphasize each other and the different familial responses.
"The King's Deception" is a fascinating look at British history and conspiracy theories and how they affect our modern world. Brew up a glass of iced tea, get comfy and dive into this complex political thriller.