By Steve Berry
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For hundreds of years, we have heard the stories of famed Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus and how he “discovered” America. What if everything we have been told is wrong?
Steve Berry is best known for writing the Cotton Malone series of thriller novels, including The Emperor’s Tomb and The Jefferson Key. Cotton gets a vacation in Berry’s latest novel, The Columbus Affair. In his first standalone novel in seven years, Berry tackles the enigma that was Christopher Columbus. Many of the details of the explorer’s life remain shrouded in mystery. Berry combines legends, facts and creative fiction to spin a tale that questions all that we know about the Spaniard and the discovery of America.
Tom Sagan is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist whose career is on the skids after a controversial report is exposed as a fraud. However, the truth is Sagan was betrayed by trusted sources who fed him invalid information. He is on the verge of taking his life when a mysterious stranger interrupts him. The stranger, Zachariah Simon, claims to be holding Sagan’s daughter hostage. After seeing a video of his daughter, Alle, tied to a bed, Sagan agrees to help Simon.
Simon is on a quest to find a treasure tied to Columbus and he believes Sagan can help him. To keep his estranged daughter safe, all that Sagan has to do is have his late father’s body exhumed. Simon believes a key to the treasure’s location was buried with him. The source of the treasure and the truth about Columbus are explosive secrets that may force history books to be rewritten.
As he has done in his previous books, Berry weaves together historical facts with theories and rumors to provide a possible answer to one of history’s mysteries and an enjoyable thriller. While some may not appreciate the story Berry has concocted about the real reason Columbus took the voyage to the Americas, I would like to point out that this is merely fiction. Whether or not you agree with Berry’s hypothesis, it really shouldn’t detract from your enjoyment of the story.
I’ve read many novels in this genre where the author has put forth a theory regarding a historical mystery. Some I have agreed with, and some I have not. But I have enjoyed books from both categories and I have been less than enthused with books from both categories. For me, what matters is the author’s writing style and if their argument makes some kind of sense, even if I don’t necessarily agree with the conclusions they draw.
I look forward to the return of Cotton Malone but The Columbus Affair was a very enjoyable read.
On a scale of 1 to 5, I give The Columbus Affair a 4.
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