Today I am sharing an excerpt of The King’s Deception by Silver Bullet recipient Steve Barry and a look at the Thrillfest event scheduled in New York City July 10-13th.
The King’s Deception
by Steve Berry
Series: Cotton Malone #8
Publisher: Random House
Publication date: June 11, 2013
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Purchase*: Barnes and Noble/Amazon/Book Depository
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Cotton Malone is back! Steve Berry’s new international adventure blends gripping contemporary political intrigue, Tudor treachery, and high-octane thrills into one riveting novel of suspense. Cotton Malone and his fifteen-year-old son, Gary, are headed to Europe. As a favor to his former boss at the Justice Department, Malone agrees to escort a teenage fugitive back to England. But after he is greeted at gunpoint in London, both the fugitive and Gary disappear, and Malone learns that he’s stumbled into a high-stakes diplomatic showdown—an international incident fueled by geopolitical gamesmanship and shocking Tudor secrets. At its heart is the Libyan terrorist convicted of bombing Pan Am Flight 103, who is set to be released by Scottish authorities for “humanitarian reasons.” An outraged American government objects, but nothing can persuade the British to intervene. Except, perhaps, Operation King’s Deception. Run by the CIA, the operation aims to solve a centuries-old mystery, one that could rock Great Britain to its royal foundations. Blake Antrim, the CIA operative in charge of King’s Deception, is hunting for the spark that could rekindle a most dangerous fire, the one thing that every Irish national has sought for generations: a legal reason why the English must leave Northern Ireland. The answer is a long-buried secret that calls into question the legitimacy of the entire forty-five-year reign of Elizabeth I, the last Tudor monarch, who completed the conquest of Ireland and seized much of its land. But Antrim also has a more personal agenda, a twisted game of revenge in which Gary is a pawn. With assassins, traitors, spies, and dangerous disciples of a secret society closing in, Malone is caught in a lethal bind. To save Gary he must play one treacherous player against another—and only by uncovering the incredible truth can he hope to prevent the shattering consequences of the King’s Deception.
Excerpt from Chapter One
In a few minutes his favor for Stephanie Nelle would be over, then he and Gary would catch their connecting flight to Copenhagen and enjoy the week, depending of course on how many uncomfortable questions his son might want answered. The hitch was that the Denmark flight departed not from Heathrow, but Gatwick, London’s other major airport, an hour’s ride east. Their departure time was several hours away, so it wasn’t a problem. He would just need to convert some dollars to pounds and hire a taxi.
They left Customs and claimed their luggage.
Both he and Gary had packed light.
“The police going to take me?” Ian asked.
“That’s what I’m told.”
“What will happen to him?” Gary asked.
He shrugged. “Hard to say.”
And it was. Especially with the CIA involved.
He shouldered his bag and led both boys out of the baggage area.
“Can I have my things?” Ian asked.
When Ian had been turned over to him in Atlanta, he’d been given a plastic bag that contained a Swiss Army knife with all the assorted attachments, a pewter necklace with a religious medal attached, a pocket Mace container, some silver shears, and two paperback books with their covers missing.
Ivanhoe and Le Morte D’Arthur.
Their brown edges were water-stained, the bindings veined with thick white creases. Both were thirty-plus-year-old printings. Stamped on the title page was any old books, with an address in Piccadilly Circus, London. He employed a similar branding of inventory, his simply announcing COTTON MALONE, BOOKSELLER, HØJBRO PLADS, COPENHAGEN. The items in the plastic bag all belonged to Ian, seized by Customs when they took him into custody at Miami International, after he’d tried to enter the country illegally.
“That’s up to the police,” he said. “My orders are to hand you and the bag over to them.”
He’d stuffed the bundle inside his travel case, where it would stay until the police assumed custody. He half expected Ian to bolt, so he remained on guard. Ahead he spied two men, both in dark suits walking their way. The one on the right, short and stocky with auburn hair, introduced himself as Inspector Norse.
He extended a hand, which Malone shook.
“This is Inspector Devene. We’re with the Met. We were told you’d be accompanying the boy. We’re here to give you a lift to Gatwick and take charge of Master Dunne.”
“I appreciate the ride. Wasn’t looking forward to an expensive taxi.”
“Least we can do. Our car is just outside. One of the privileges of being the police is we can park where we want.”
The man threw Malone a grin.
They started for the exit.
Malone noticed Inspector Devene take up a position behind Ian. Smart move, he thought.
“You responsible for getting him into the country with no passport?”
Norse nodded. “We are, along with some others working with us. I think you know about them.”
That he did.
They stepped out of the terminal into brisk morning air. A bank of dense clouds tinted the sky a depressing shade of pewter. A blue Mercedes sedan sat by the curb. Norse opened the rear door and motioned for Gary to climb in fi rst, then Ian and Malone. The inspector stood outside until they were all in, then closed the door. Norse rode in the front passenger seat, while Devene drove. They sped out of Heathrow and found the M4 motorway. Malone knew the route, London a familiar locale. Years ago he’d spent time in England on assignments. He’d also been detached here for a year by the navy. Traffi c progressively thickened as they made their way east toward the city.
“Would it be all right if we made one stop before we head for Gatwick?” Norse asked him.
“No problem. We have time before the plane leaves. The least we can do for a free ride.”
Malone watched Ian as the boy gazed out the window. He couldn’t help but wonder what would happen to him. Stephanie’s assessment had not been a good one. A street kid, no family, completely on his own. Unlike Gary, who was dark-haired with a swarthy complexion, Ian was blond and fair-skinned. He seemed like a good kid, though. Just dealt a bad hand. But at least he was young, and youth offered chances, and chances led to possibilities. Such a contrast with Gary, who lived a more conventional, secure life. The thought of Gary on the streets, loose, with no one, tore at his heart. Warm air blasted the car’s interior and the engine droned as they chugged through traffic.
Malone’s eyes surrendered to jet lag.
When he woke, he glanced at his watch and realized he’d been out about fifteen minutes. He willed himself to alertness. Gary and Ian were still sitting quietly. The sky had darkened further. A storm was approaching the city. He studied the car’s interior, noticing for the first time no radio or communications equipment. Also, the carpets
were immaculate, the upholstery in pristine condition. Certainly not like any police car he’d ever ridden in.
He then examined Norse.
The man’s brown hair was cut below the ears. Not shaggy, but thick. He was clean-shaven and a bit overweight. He was dressed appropriately, suit and tie, but it was the left earlobe that drew hisattention. Pierced. No earring was present, but the puncture was clear.
“I was wondering, Inspector. Might I see your identification? I should have asked at the airport.”
Norse did not answer him. The question aroused Ian’s attention, and he studied Malone with a curious look.
“Did you hear me, Norse? I’d like to see your identification.”
“Just enjoy the ride, Malone.”
He didn’t like the curt tone so he reached for the front seat and pulled himself forward, intending to make his point clearer.
The barrel of a gun came around the headrest and greeted him.
“This enough identification?” Norse asked.
“Actually, I was hoping for a picture ID.” He motioned to the weapon. “When did the Metropolitan Police start issuing Glocks?”
Excerpted from THE KING’S DECEPTION Copyright © 2013 Steve Berry. Excerpted by permission of Ballantine Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Thrillerfest July 10-13 Grand Hyatt, NYC
DIABOLICAL PLOTS, FIENDISH PLANS AND A SHOCKER OF A TWIST YOU WON’T SEE COMING – THRILLERFEST IS BACK IN TOWN!
This year ThrillerMaster Anne Rice takes a bite of the Big Apple
at ThrillerFest VIIIJuly 10-13, 2013
New York City is once again the setting for Gotham noir as the International Thriller Writers (ITW) brings ThrillerFest VIII to town from July 10-13, 2013 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel to celebrate the art of the thrill.
Spines are already tingling for the legendary Anne Rice, Queen of the Gothic Thriller, who will make a rare appearance to serve as the 2013 ThrillerMaster. Rice is the author of 31 novels, including The Vampire Chronicles, Songs of the Seraphim and the new Wolf Gift Chronicles.
“This is the place where fans can mingle with writers, novices can learn from pros, industry professionals can share their secret passion with librarians, and everyone can have one heck of a great time,” says ThrillerFest Executive Director Kimberley Howe.
New this year at ThrillerFest is FanFest, an opportunity for thriller writers to give back to their most loyal fans. These lucky readers will join such big-league talent as Joseph Finder, John Lescroart, M.J. Rose, Steve Berry and R.L. Stine, for a cocktail party that would impress even Nick and Nora Charles. The event will include a special kickoff book signing, gifts and a chance to mix and mingle with their favorite authors.
Spotlight guests, who will add to the pulse-pounding excitement, include:
· Michael Connelly—Author of the number one New York Times bestsellers The Drop, The Fifth Witness, The Reversal, The Scarecrow, The Brass Verdict and The Lincoln Lawyer, as well as the Harry Bosch series. His most recent novel is The Black Box. A former newspaper reporter, Connelly has won numerous awards for his fiction.
· T. Jefferson Parker—One of only three two-time winners of the prestigious Edgar Award for Best Novel, Parker is the bestselling author of 20 novels including L.A. Outlaws, Storm Runners, and the award-winning Silent Joe and California Girl. His most recent novel is The Famous and the Dead.
· Michael Palmer—Famous for his bestselling medical and political suspense, Palmer’s most recent novel is was Political Suicide. His book, Extreme Measures, became a film starring Gene Hackman. A physician, Palmer helps doctors with physical and mental illness, as well as drug dependence and alcoholism.
· Silver Bullet Award Recipient Steve Berry—The New York Times and number one internationally bestselling author of The Jefferson Key, The Columbus Affair and soon-to-be-released The King’s Deception and nine more novels, Berry will be honored for his philanthropic work on behalf of fellow writers and historic preservation.
· Corporate Silver Bullet Award Recipient USO—The USO will be honored for making Operation Thriller a reality. This past November marked the third USO Operation Thriller tour, which took Kathleen Antrim, Michael Connelly, Joseph Finder, Brad Meltzer, and Andy Harp to the Middle East to entertain the troops.
The thrills continue with two of ThrillerFest’s most anticipated events: CraftFest, where the best authors in the business share secrets with fellow writers, and AgentFest, “speed-dating” with the top agents in publishing.
It all culminates with the 2013 ITW Thriller Awards Banquet, during which Steve Berry will receive the Silver Bullet Award and the awards for best novel; best debut novel and best short story will be finally revealed — a riveting climax to a sensational event.
The International Thriller Writers is an honorary society of more than 1,300 authors in 22 countries with more than three billion books in print. To make a reservation for the suspense-inspired four-day adventure, please visit www.ThrillerFest.com.
Event highlights include:
ThrillerFest opens with a bang on Thursday night with a cocktail party hosting all authors, industry executives and conference attendees. Authors are open and accessible to chat with fans.
Anne Rice, the 2013 ThrillerMaster, will be interviewed by her son, Christopher Rice, during a spotlight session.
Author Daniel Palmer interviews his father, New York Times-bestselling novelist and ThrillerFest Spotlight guest Michael Palmer.
Bestselling novelist MJ Rose interviews international bestselling author Steve Berry and Liz Berry about their non-profit History Matters. Steve is the 2013 ITW Silver Bullet Award recipient.
A bestselling author of over 25 books, Jon Land interviews thriller-superstar and Spotlight guest Michael Connelly.
Award-winning author D.P. Lyle, MD interviews T. Jefferson Parker, Spotlight guest and two-time winner of the Edgar Award for Best Novel.
Aspiring writers get the chance to sharpen their prose and hone their agent pitch during CraftFest – a fabulous opportunity to learn from bestselling authors.
AgentFest allows writers the unprecedented opportunity to meet face-to-face with some of the top agents in the business.
Sounds like an awesome event! Are you going?
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