The Bishop’s Pawn by Steve Berry; 2018; $28.99; 340 pages; Minotaur Books, New York, NY; 978-1-250-14022-7; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Fairview; 3/25/18-3/27/18

Why did I read this?  Because it is Steve Berry’s newest book and I have read all his previous books and enjoy the way he intertwines historic events with the current day.

Cotton Malone meets someone he met back at the  beginning of his time with the Magellan Billet.  He meets them with files he has been saving for the last fifty years or so.  The majority of the book is set around the time of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination and details the corruption of the FBI, and J. Edgar Hoover.  Hoover was a racist who hated King and did everything in power to facilitate a fall from power.  Illegal wiretaps, lies, misinformation and other sleazy methods.  This story provides a alternate theory of the killing of this civil rights icon.  There is a bigger degree of suspension of disbelief than I could deal with.  Most of the story is suspenseful and thrilling but the conclusion left me cold.

Grade 8/10

What is with the title of the review?  Berry’s purpose is to write an intriguing story by positing an alternative to the accepted narrative, however I had a problem buying into the alternative.

The Lost Order by Steve Berry

The Lost Order by Steve Berry; 2017;$28.99; 493 pages; Minotaur Press, New York, NY; 978-1-250-05625-2; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Northwest; 5/4/17-5/6/17

Why did I read this?  I have read all of the previous Cotton Malone books that Steve Berry has written.  I enjoy the way he uses history to create a mystery today.

Cotton Malone’s ancestor Angus “Cotton” Adams had been a spy for the Confederacy during the Civil War and had close ties with an administrator at the Smithsonian.  There is a group known as the Knights of the Golden Circle who stashed gold all over the country prior to the end of the war.  Now people are trying to find it and killing anyone who gets in there way, they are also seeking to find The Vault a repository of a vast quantity of gold.  Meanwhile other members of the Circle are trying to find a way to change the structure of the government.  Cotton has to help decipher clues to find his way to the gold and prevent a cataclysmic restructuring of the U.S. government that would put almost unlimited power in the hands of the Speaker of the House (hope Paul Ryan doesn’t have time to read this.)

Grade A

just think of the refund

The Patrinew berryot Threat by Steve Berry; 2015; $27.99; 386 pages; Minotaur Books, New York, NY;978-1-250-05623-8; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Gregory Heights; 5/19/15-5/21/15

What if a rogue member of a nation violently opposed to the United States was to get their hands on some information that would prove that the US government had perpetrated a fraud against their own people.  The sixteenth amendment, income tax, was supposedly ratified in 1913, but that may not be the complete and accurate representation of what actually.  A political opponent of FDR taunted him with some information that could have seriously damaged the USA, now that information has fallen into the hands of an enemy of another political leader and he wants to use it to put himself back in a position of power.  Cotton Malone, another agent from the Magellan Billet and a Treasury Agent run all over the world seeking answers, turns out the answer is in the Smithsonian.


Did I enjoy it?  Yes, Steve Berry effectively melds a topic from the past that people still debate about and melds it with international intrigue.  His combination of characters, action, politics and intrigue make this a real page turner.

What is with the title of the review?  If the 16th Amendment wasn’t actually ratified in 1913 the federal government would not have the authority to collect income tax and would owe everyone since 1913 their money back.

Why did I read this?  Because I like Steve Berry’s books and his style.

Fish out of Water

Tnatashahe Romanov Prophecy by Steve Berry; 2005; $9.99; 429 pages; Ballantine Books, New York, NY; 978-0-345-50439-5; purchased from; 5/13/15-5/16/15

Russia has decided to put a tsar back on the throne, but the process is corrupt and being manipulated by the Russian military, aristocracy, mafiya and an American lawyer.  Into the mix is thrown young African American lawyer Miles Lord, who has been fascinated by the country since he was young and speaks fluent Russian.  He discovers in the Archives that there may be some with a claim to the throne, other than the corrupt one his boss is pushing. He and his accomplice, a gymnast from the Russian circus, are chased all over Russia and then to an unexpected part of the United States seeking answers to the riddles left decades ago.  Ultimately good wins out and those who attempted to manipulate the system are dealt with appropriately.

Grade A

Did I enjoy it?  Yes, it was a good action story with a hero who had to rely on his wits, not on formerly being a Army ranger or special agent.

What is with the title of the review? Miles Lord, a lawyer from Atlanta gets drawn into a international conspiracy and has to survive on his wits.  He is not trained in any kind of combat or martial arts, he just goes with his instincts.

Why did I pick this up?  Because I like the way Steve Berry mixes history with modern day current events.


From Mulan to Tienanmen Square and beyond

The Emperor’s Tomb by Steve Berry; 2010; $26.00; 436 pages; Ballantine Books, New York, NY; 978-0-345-50549-1; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Troutdale; 4/13/15-4/15/15

Cotton, Cassiopeia, Stephanie Nell and many others get sucked into the internal politics of China as a transition of  power is about to take place.  At stake are the lives of friends of Cassiopeia and the future direction of the most populous nation in the world.  Ranging from Copenhagen to Russia to all parts of China and involving intelligence agencies from the three most powerful countries on the planet.  At the heart of the book is the question is oil a resource that can be exhausted or does the earth continually manufacture it.

Grade A

Did I enjoy it?  Yes I like the Steve Berry mixes historical fact with fiction to make an exciting modern-day story with lots of action but firmly grounded in reality.

What is with the title of the review?  The action spans from ancient China to unrest in its recent past and into the future.