06/22/2013 11:27 am ET Updated Aug 22, 2013

THE KING'S DECEPTION Is the Perfect Blend of History and Adventure

Book Review Jackie K Cooper

Steve Berry's new novel, THE KING'S DECEPTION, once again involves his perennial hero Cotton Malone. This ex-secret agent is now trying to lead a quiet life as an owner of a book store in Amsterdam. But as is the case with ex-secret agents who are good at their jobs, the powers that be keep trying to pull him back in. His re-involvement with international intrigue in the city of London is what this book is all about. And take note, this is one of Berry's best.

Malone is asked by his former boss to make a delivery to the government in London. Malone is in Atlanta visiting his son Gary and has decided to take him back to Amsterdam with him. He is contacted by his former boss Stephanie Nelle and asked to deliver a young boy to the authorities in London. This boy, fifteen year old Ian Dunne, is a witness to murder.

Dunne had fled the country after witnessing the murder and was apprehended in Miami, Florida. He was delivered to Malone in Atlanta and now Malone is taking him, along with his son Gary, to London. When they arrive in London they are met by men who turn out not to be who they are supposed to be. There s a fight and Gar6y is taken hostage by these men. Now it is up to Cotton to get him back.

Meanwhile there is a back story concerning the death of Henry VIII and the subsequent rise to power of Elizabeth I. There are some possible secrets that have been uncovered that could affect the whole structure of government in England. The historical data concerning these secrets is played out within the narrative of the story.

This is Berry's most personal book to date in that he plays up the relationship between father and son. Malone has learned at the start of the story that Gary is not his biological son but that does nothing to diminish his love and concern for the boy. It also spills over to Ian Dunne, the young boy he has sworn to protect. This fatherly love shows a new side to Malone and a welcome one.

Berry's books are always a combination of an exciting adventure backed up by a study of history. In some previous stories the history dragged down the adventure and provided obstacles to the overall enjoyment of the book. That is definitely not the case with this story. In THE KING'S DECEPTION the history enhances the main narrative and gives it an added punch.

This ability to combine a suspenseful adventure with a background of historical fact, tinted with some creative fiction, makes Berry one of our most successful authors. Each book of his is a race against the clock against overwhelming odds, but Malone always manages to pull it all out of the fire. This time out the tension, the suspense and the adrenaline rush are all at their most fevered pitch.

So pick up this new fast paced book by Berry and have an excellent thrill ride while you also get a wonderfully enjoyable history lesson. Education has never been this much fun.

THE KING'S DECEPTION is published by Ballantine Book. It contains 432 pages and sells for $27.00.

Jackie K Cooper