This is not my usual genre of book, and I haven't read any others in the series, but there was plenty of suspense, action, and twists to keep it going. Certainly an enjoyable read if you're a fan of books like The Sigma Protocol. The writing was top-notch in terms of pacing, vocabulary, and readability, and the characters motives were generally deep and well-motivated. Plots within plots within plots abound. Unlike, say, The Da Vinci Code, you're not expected to figure out the puzzles for yourself, which can cut both ways in terms of reader engagement. I would definitely consider reading another book by this author. 4/5
Title: The Charlemagne Pursuit
Author: Steve Berry
ISBN: 9780345485793/Ballantine Books
Protagonist: Cotton Malone, bookseller and former US government operative
Setting: present-day, Germany and Antarctica
First Line: The alarm sounded and Forrest Malone came alert.
Cotton Malone's father was a submariner in the US Navy. When Cotton was ten, Forrest Malone went on patrol and never came back. Cotton always wanted to know what happened, but told the mission was classified, he let it go--until his own son began asking questions about his grandfather. Since he's a former operative for the US government, he knows people in the right places, and he's owed favors. He asks to see the file on his father's last mission...and people start dying. While Cotton finds himself in Germany, dodging bullets and thrown in amongst the very strange Oberhauser family, his former boss finds herself searching for clues and following the trail of an assassin in the eastern US. It all ties in with something called the Charlemagne Pursuit, ancient knowledge known to Charlemagne, with connections to Nazi Germany all the way to the present day.
I don't read many thrillers, but Steve Berry's Cotton Malone series is an exception. I like Berry's characterization of Cotton and his former boss, Stephanie. The author also seems to have a knack of choosing historical bits and puzzles that fascinate me like the Amber Room, the Romanovs, and the Knights Templar. Although the Charlemagne Pursuit is much more a puzzle of the author's own devising, I found it fascinating as well. The pages turned quickly in this book. The only thing in it that I didn't particularly care for was the entire Oberhauser clan. I think that, as I get older, my tolerance for twisted families becomes less and less.
[This is a review of an advanced reading copy.]