Review by Booklist Review
The latest Cotton Malone thriller begins with the assassination of Benito Mussolini and then jumps forward several decades to the present day, where Malone, a former field agent for the U.S. Department of Justice who gets into life-threatening situations with startling regularity, is hot on the trail of some letters allegedly exchanged between Mussolini and Winston Churchill. As he tends to do, Cotton winds up embroiled in a centuries-old conspiracy, this time involving the real-life Knights of Malta, a humanitarian organization founded roughly a millennium ago. The events unfold at a breakneck pace, as usual, but Berry slows things down once in a while to give the reader some much-needed exposition and historical context. He really is very good at the historical-conspiracy thriller; he's a skilled writer much more so than Dan Brown, to whom he's often compared and a more dexterous plotter than many of his contemporaries. Fans of the Malone series will give this one an enthusiastic thumbs-up.--David Pitt Copyright 2019 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Bestseller Berry's enthralling 14th Cotton Malone novel (after 2018's The Bishop's Pawn) finds former U.S. Justice Department operative Malone on a freelance assignment to retrieve long-lost correspondence between Benito Mussolini and Winston Churchill. Malone goes to Malta, the home of the Knights of Malta, an ancient order dedicated to serving the Vatican. The current pope has died, and Luke Daniels, who works with the Magellan Billet, the special investigations unit of the Justice Department that once employed Cotton, is also in Malta, investigating why Cardinal Kastor Gallo has fled Rome to the island nation. Kastor seeks the Nostra TrinitA , the Catholic Church's "ultimate secret," to secure his ascension to pontiff. Luke and Cotton team with Laura Price, an agent with the Malta Security Service, and Pollux Gallo, leader of the Knights of Malta and Kastor's estranged twin brother, to stop Kastor from seizing the throne of the Holy See. Fans of Dan Brown will have fun, and some may even prefer Berry's action-oriented hero to Brown's cerebral Robert Langdon. 400,000-copy announced first printing. Agent: Simon Lipskar, Writers House. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review
In his 14th escapade (after The Bishop's Pawn), former Justice Department agent Cotton Malone tangles with twin brothers, one of whom wants to be the next pope. Called from retirement by British intelligence to Malta, Malone thinks he is to recover a satchel of damning letters between Benito Mussolini and Winston Churchill, but mighty complications arise. In the vertiginous mix are the Knights of Malta with their covert minions, Malta's secret service, and the Vatican's intelligence service dubbed the Entity. Berry traces 900 years of church history as the backdrop to his immensely byzantine plot highlighting a lost parchment written by Constantine the Great as the artifact that lured notables over the centuries to find it. Malone, aided by former boss Stephanie Nelle and Magellan Billet agent Luke Daniels, performs the familiar yet fresh magic of unravelling a historical secret while surviving deadly attacks with adroit aplomb. VERDICT Thrillers abound, but Berry has the lock on -making history zing with breathless suspense and galloping action. Malta and the Vatican are superb settings for this ecclesiastical extravaganza. [See Prepub Alert, 9/17/18.]-Barbara Conaty, Falls Church, VA © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
Religion and murder meet in Malta and Rome in this 14th entry in the author's Cotton Malone series (The Bishop's Pawn, 2018, etc.).The pope has died, and His Eminence Kastor Cardinal Gallo schemes to get the job. Unfortunately, he is "radioactive" in the church, even "proclaimed a threat to all the faithful." Oh, and he only fakes his religious belief. All he wants is power, and he will kill for it. His identical twin brother, Pollux, is a Knight of Malta but not a priest and certainly not his brother's keeper. Meanwhile, series hero Cotton Malone is on a special freelance assignment from Britain's MI6, looking for rumored secret correspondence between Churchill and Mussolini. And former Army Ranger Luke Daniels trails Kastor, who is from Malta, where much of the story takes place. Cotton finds a mysterious ring engraved with a Maltese cross and a five-word palindrome that's spelled out a tad too often. Perhaps a secret lies in the engraved words. He also uncovers documents hidden by Mussolini and looks for what's hidden in an obelisk in Rome. The intrigue is intense as Kastor and a few goons will stoop to murder to abet his rise to the most powerful post in the Catholic Church. Thriller fans will have their violence fix, but the real fun is in learning about the inner workings of the church, its history dating all the way back to Constantine, and the troubled past of Malta. Cynicism about Christianity abounds; why else would Simon Wiesenthal have said that the Vatican has the best spy service in the world? Popes Pius XI and XII never stood up to the fascists, and perhaps heaven, hell, and the Holy Trinity were invented in the third century merely to differentiate Christianity from Judaism. Cotton is highly capable"Failure was not his style," meaning he fits in well among the can-do American heroes in the genre. But Kastor and Pollux are the conniving hypocrites who really pop off the pages.This one will appeal to Dan Brown fans and anyone else in the mood for a page-turning yarn. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.