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The Emperor’s Tomb (Cotton Malone)

By Steve Berry

The Emperor’s Tomb (Cotton Malone)

You can view this book's Amazon detail page here.


Started reading:
17th August 2010
Finished reading:
24th August 2010


Rating: Unrated

I was recently able to snag an advanced reviewers copy of Steve Berry’s new book (on sale Nov 23), The Emperor’s Tomb, as a member of Library Thing. I finished reading it a couple of days ago.
The Emperor’s Tomb is pure Steve Berry and a really fun read for a dark winter’s day in front of a warm fire. Of course, this scene is for your benefit (and my imagination) since I’m reading it in sweltering 95+ degree summer heat.
From the book cover:

“Malone’s life is shattered when he receives an anonymous note carrying an unfamiliar Web address. Logging on, he sees Cassiopeia Vitt, a woman who’s saved his life more than once, being tortured at the hands of a mysterious man who has a single demand: Bring me the artifact she’s asked you to keep safe. The only problem is, Malone doesn’t have a clue what the man is talking about, since Cassiopeia has left nothing with him. So begins Malone’s most harrowing adventure to date—one that offers up astounding historical revelations, pits him against a ruthless ancient brotherhood, and sends him from Denmark to Belgium to Vietnam then on to China, a vast and mysterious land where danger lurks at every turn.”

First, I should report a note of full disclosure – I’m a big fan of Steve Berry and anxiously await each new book. However, Steve Berry’s books aren’t going to win any awards for serious literature. This isn’t really a criticism of his writing but rather a statement of the niche that Berry fills. Every era needs authors that give readers a break and provide fun, exciting reading. This is what Berry does and very well! It isn’t essential that you know Cotton Malone is a retired secret agent turned Copenhagen antiquarian bookseller or about Cotton’s previous escapades with the mysterious Cassiopeia Vitt and other minor characters. However, it does make reading a current Steve Berry book that much more enjoyable. So if you’re new to Steve Berry, pickup some of his earlier books to catchup with Cotton and Cassiopeia. Many are in paperback. As is typical of the adventure genre today by such writers as Dan Browne, Berry skillfully weaves a set of historical facts, locations and events into a plausible, though maybe improbable, adventure scenario. Of course; there is the requisite gun fights and chases across the landscape but as I said, this is why you read a Steve Berry book. In the case of The Emperor’s Tomb, Berry takes much from Chinese history mixing in plot elements from today’s headlines about oil and China’s economic development. After finishing the book (my recommendation) you can check the writer’s notes in the back to see what is fact and where Steve has taken some license to create a good story. Another common adventure vehicle regularly used by Berry, in evidence throughout the book, is the disguised loyalty of characters. Good guys are bad guys but they aren’t. Bad guys are working for the good guys etc etc. In this book Steve Berry does over do the twists somewhat and narrative rationales get a little tiresome. But, overall this is a minor criticism in a basically good read.