By Steve Berry
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Imagine if a group of modern-day pirates had been shaping the course of American history since its inception. Further imagine that they were doing so under the charter of one of our Founding Fathers. In the latest novel by top thriller author Steve Berry, that’s the launching board for a fast-moving thriller full of conspiracies, intrigue and drama.
“The Jefferson Key” is the seventh novel by Berry featuring former Justice Department operative Cotton Malone as the hero. The previous tales have led Malone on worldwide excursions, taking him to far-flung corners of the globe chasing after treasure and solving ancient mysteries. This time, Malone is needed at home.
An assassination plot against the President of the United States is launched and Malone is unwittingly lured to the scene of the crime. The president survives the attempt, but Malone soon discovers that the plot involves a centuries-old group known as The Commonwealth. A secret society first formed during our country’s infancy, The Commonwealth are a group of privateers who have operated freely thanks to a clause in the United States Constitution, contained within Article 1, Section 8. The story goes on to tie together four presidential assassinations and a cryptic cipher created by Thomas Jefferson.
Overall, I enjoyed “The Jefferson Key.” Berry has created a clever plot filled with mystery, political intrigue, history and action. With a myriad of government agencies and multiple double crosses, you never quite knew who to trust. However, there were times when Berry’s rapid-fire point-of-view changes detracted from my enjoyment of the story, forcing me to backtrack to follow what each character was doing. But that didn’t keep me from quickly getting through the book. The fast-paced plot and historical references kept me turning the pages.
This was the first book by Berry that I had read, but it won’t be the last. I’m ready to go back and read the first 6 Malone books and look forward to the next one.
On a scale of 1 to 5, I give “The Jefferson Key” a 3.5.