by Steve Berry
Series: Cotton Malone #8
Genres: Suspense Thriller
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
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.” 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.
I love suspense thrillers and find myself wrapped up in the secrets, agencies, secret societies and the quest to unearth the truth, so I was excited to read The King’s Deception by Steve Berry. While this is the eighth book in the Cotton Malone series, it can be read as a standalone. Filled with political intrigue and Tudor secrets this tale kept me on edge. Three-word review: suspenseful, riveting and action-packed.
The tale begins as Cotton Malone sits down with his ex-wife and shares a story about events that occurred when he and their then fifteen-year-old son Gary traveled to Europe. Leaving out of Georgia, Malone, a retired Magellan Billet agent for the Department of Justice agrees to escort a teenage fugitive back to London. When they arrive, British operatives meet them but things quickly go awry. Gary and the fugitive go missing and Malone realizes he is in the middle of a diplomatic showdown regarding the release of a Libyan terrorist and it somehow revolves around Tudor secrets. The story that unfolds kept me flipping the pages and completely enthralled.
Cotton Malone is a likable character and it is easy to see why he was a highly successful and admired member of the Magellan Billet. He is level-headed, quick thinking and is able to see the whole picture in the game of chess he finds himself thrust into. His son Gary is clever, questions everything and has a lot of baggage to deal with for one so young. Ian, the young fugitive is a pick-pocket who lives on the streets of London. He loves to read and often sleeps in Mary’s bookshop. He has been on the run ever since he witnessed a murder and picked the pocket of the dead man. He is smart, comes up with plans and added to the overall intrigue. Blake Antrim is a CIA operative in charge of the operation, “King’s Deception” and I quite loathe this vile man. His movements in London have the CIA and MI6 involved as one work to reveal a secret and the other works to bury it. Kathleen is a SOCA (Serious Organized Crime Agency) officer currently on suspension who is called in by Thomas Matthews the head of MI6. She is a real firecracker and I enjoyed her role in the events that unfolded. Miss Mary and her twin sister both offer Malone invaluable knowledge and added to the tale.
The best formula for a suspense thriller is when the author weaves his tale around documented facts, writings, and real historical characters and events. Berry tweaked very few facts and created a tale that felt plausible right down to the present day reasons Britain wants to keep this secret from being revealed. I am quite fascinated by the Tudor period and have read many books pertaining to this period; both fictional and non-fictional. Queen Elizabeth I has always intrigued me, so seeing her and Robert Cecil, King Henry the VIII and more held me completely captive. The author brought the present day setting to life, as he weaved in the history of the places we visited making him a delightful tour guide. I had a panoramic view of the past and present, all while caught up in this brilliantly paced and action-packed thriller. I was impressed and felt the tale was tight, the characters fleshed out and the secrets, along with the political game that was afoot to be believable. Fans of Dan Brown will be delighted with The King’s Deception.
Fans of suspense thrillers, conspiracies and the Tudor period in history will want to grab a copy of The King’s Deception. I enjoyed this so much that I want to go back and visit the earlier books in this series and will definitely pick up one of Berry’s books again.
Very nice review, and very blog too – glad I found it 🙂 I would like to add one thing to the dialogue: I had already read the book (awesome – Cotton Malone is king!), and being rather bleak that the adventure was over did some googling “where does the name ‘Cotton Malone’ come from” – I happened upon an archived interview on the Book report radio show’s website. In the interview Berry speaks of a short story “The Tudor Plot” that he wrote as an introduction of sorts to this book. If you were a purist, or merely love the Tudors that much then you would probably benefit from reading that first before reading ‘The King’s deception’.
ooh thanks for the tidbit Dayne.
🙂 you’re welcome
I don’t think I’ve ever read a suspense thriller that involved Tudor history. I’m totally obsessed with it! 🙂 This book sounds awesome, and it sounds like one the BF would totally steal from my nightstand too, so maybe I’ll give it to him as a presie and then read it when he’s done! 😉
you are either very clever or sneaky I can’t decide!!! 🙂
you are very welcome!
Sounds like something I’d like. Thanks for the post. 🙂
This does sound intriguing. I am not a big fan of this kind of genre but this might be something I should pick up.
oh Squee…I hope you do, the flow is wonderful, and it’s not overly complicated and it just sucks you in:)
I’m glad you enjoyed it, though I’m still not thrilled about his Elizabeth I theory. 😉
Oh but it was so well done and she/he is still portrayed as brilliant. The references to events, published work etc was so intriguing.
Great review! Sounds like a good suspense thriller. Not my thing, but I liked that you liked it ^_^
PS: love the new blog design! Is it new? I’m surprised I haven’t noticed it sooner!?
Dee @ Dee’s Reads
Happy Reading! <33
Dee I just moved from blogger to WP Self-host on Tuesday, so yep it is new and I am so glad you like it:)
Ooo I bet my son would like this. I’m going to look into this series more for him.
Cool, yeah even my son would enjoy this one!
I honestly don’t read suspense thrillers but this one sounds fantastic! I’ll definitely have to check it out! Glad you enjoyed this! 😀
Brilliant review! 😀
Literary Love Affair
Well we need to have you try one. While I do not want a steady diet of them, they are good:)
The name sounds so familiar..must check
Melissa (Books and Things)
Oh I love these that can be read as a standalone. Not that I read out of order or anything *cough*. 😉 I agree with you about a good thriller weaving it around actual events. Oh that sounds so good. I’m not a Dan Brown fan but I do enjoy thrillers!!
This is easier to read then Dan’s books.
Hi Kim, thanks for the great review, I’m always in the mood for a thriller.
This was a good one and so many interesting things about the Tudor period. Thanks Debbie:)
It has been a while since I read a book like this. Sounds very Dan Brownish which I love. Really enjoy this fact/fiction/conspiracy theory books. They make for a fun read and I often learn new things too.
Oh yes if you like Dan Brown you will totally enjoy this. So clever.
What is up with all those weird symbols in your review? I love a good historical, mystery type thriller and I have been seeing this book pop up aroudn the blogosphere lately. Looks like a good one! Happy Friday!
Still working on mobile version. It is a symbol for Italics etc. LOL
I love me a good thriller, and this one sounds good. Great review. 🙂
These kinds of books appeal to me (not the cover, but the description) but then I try to read them and I just feel STUPID. Like everything goes over my head or is hard to follow. Maybe that’s why I like YA, it’s simple. Yet the complexity of this kind of book appeals to me at the same time it scares me away. I bet my brother would love this though maybe I need to pick up something similar at the clearance rack at B&N and give it a try and either way I can pass it on to my brother so it’s not a waste. Maybe… one day. 😉
Candace I think this would work for you, the flow is really well done and there aren’t a million characters. Try reading a sample on Amazon.
I’m so making note of this one for my dad Kim! This is right up his alley:) I love when suspense/thrillers are written around real events or characters as well, it just adds a whole extra layer of fascination I think. Can’t wait to see if you enjoy his other books as much as you enjoyed this one!
I think he would enjoy this especially if he likes books by Dan Brown.
Cotton along with all the action seem to be working well!
It did, this was very engaging.
I need to be in a certain mood to enjoy a good suspense/thriller book. Happy to hear that you enjoyed this, Kim!
I also love it when the book is based around historical facts. It makes it exciting and knowledgeable at the same time. I’ll keep this in mind when I’m in the mood for a good thriller book.
Great review! 🙂
Well you know me Nick I love to mix it up, I haven’t read a book like this since January so I was ready. The whole Tudor aspect would intrigue you and it flows really well.
I actually haven’t read that many thrillers but I love thriller TV-shows! I haven’t heard of this one but it sounds really good. I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂
I love thriller shows too Tanja! Have a lovely weekend.
You know, it has been awhile since I have read a really good action packed, suspenseful read and I use to read them all the time. I think I am about due for one.
I am so glad you really liked this Kim. Great review!
I love this type of book every now and again. I am a huge Dan Brown fan, so this really appealed to me:) thanks Ali and have a lovely weekend.