Steve Berry writes thrillers for thinkers. My kind of books.
I’ve been a Berry fan for years and have read most of the more recent Cotton Malone tales. To see where it all began, I decided to go back to the former agent's roots. A few months ago I read The Templar Legacy, first in the series, and wanted to see how the author would follow it up. The Alexandria Link was next in line.
What a pleasure. This one had it all. High stakes, controversy, multiple villains, larger than life characters, family kidnapping, conflict with the ex-wife, fantastical premise, tight pacing, surprising twists, and even a moral to the story. A multi-faceted gem of a tale.
The non-stop action begins when the ex shows up to tell Malone their son has been kidnapped. Before he can strap on a gun, the bitter divorced couple is attacked, his book shop blown up, and Malone is pulled out of retirement again. The story kicks in from there, eventually finding three threads. First, there’s Malone’s high-wire quest to find the lost Library of Alexandria. Second, his old manager at the Magellan Billet, Stephanie Nelle, nearly dies several times navigating the dangerous political halls of Washington DC. The last thread follows Malone’s pal, Henrik Thorvaldsen, a wealthy Dane who confronts the plot’s mastermind in a picturesque Austrian mansion.
The heartbeat of the story is the first thread, which involves the cat and mouse between Malone and the ruthless mercenary who tricks him into pursuing clues that may lead to the ancient library, and its explosive revelations. Those disclosures would undermine Israel's claim to biblical legitimacy, and turn the world’s three major religions upside down. Worldwide violence would surely ensue. As Malone travels from Copenhagen, to England, Portugal, and into the depths of the Sinai desert, the stakes have never been higher.
As a writer myself, I understand how difficult it is to weave multiple facets of a story together. And I’ve noticed how some authors are strong in one aspect of storytelling, but struggle in other areas. For instance, many thriller writers excel at heart-pounding action, but the characters are cardboard cutouts, which makes it hard for me to get emotionally invested. Or the prose is descriptive and interesting, but the story falls flat because it doesn’t build to a logical conclusion. If you’re a discerning bookworm, you’re nodding your head in agreement. You know how hard it is to find an exciting story, with 3D characters, and a thought-provoking premise.
Look no further, gentle reader. If you’re tired of finding only plain pebbles at the bookstore, check out Steve Berry. He’s a word jeweler, precisely turning words into fine diamonds. His multi-faceted stories catch the light and shine with a brilliance unmatched in the genre.
International award-winning thriller author.