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on 12 June 2017
I really enjoyed this book and thought the 'deception' was a really interesting idea. I have read most of the Cotton Malone books and this was definitely on a par with the others. Would recommend.
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on 16 September 2017
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on 31 May 2017
great series, good writer
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on 9 September 2017
As above
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on 3 May 2017
Quite interesting book I Didier like itp.
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on 31 January 2017
So disappointing. This promised to be good but was in fact so poorly researched in its fact it was beyond fiction. Based on a well-known English conspiracy story of well-documented kings and queens, the author has managed to get so many facts, dates and names wrong it ruined what could have been a great read. At least Dan Brown got most of his facts right, but to get names of royal family and dates wrong is unforgiveable. For example, a simple check by him or his editor would have verified the English county of Somerset is NOT next door to Gloucestershire, old central London buildings do NOT have fire escapes from every window such as you find in the States, the bodies of the Princes in the Tower have NEVER been found, nor are they buried in St Pauls - just a few of the mistakes any worthy writer or editor would have or should have picked up on. If I could give it no stars, I would have and I'm only glad I paid pence for this as a second hand copy.
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on 22 February 2014
I've read all the Cotton Malone series and enjoyed them as "not to be taken too seriously" edge of the seat capers. Normally his sense of place and atmosphere is very well crafted. This book, however falls into a sub Dan Brown style of literally quoting verbatim visitor guides of famous places. I really thought Dan Brown had taken this appalling technique to the limit with "Inferno", but I think Steve Berry may well have outdone him here.
Maybe it was because this was set in London, and Steve was in awe of actually standing in the place of history that is so relevant to Americans, but huge tracts read like a gushing tour guide, and were often repetitive.
Then we have the "London" language used. I do not know who Steve spoke to when doing his research into how a teenage London street kid would speak, but honestly this character's language was hilarious. When was the last time a teenager brought up on the Streets would say "come a cropper" or refer to bad men as "B*ggers". I was waiting for someone to say "Cor luva Duck, Guvnor, it's a fair cop!" Perhaps Dick van Dyke could play the part if this was ever filmed.
The other characters were so excessive as to be utterly unbelievable, especially the head of MI6 and the CIA agent. As I said at the beginning I like Steve Berry's work and I understand that there is a requirement to read this genre with a willing suspension of disbelief, but this pushed credibility too far. Peoples actions and motivations were just too far fetched.
Finally how many times did we retrace the tired old ground of Malone's ex wife. I know it had relevance to the plot, but this particular plot device was about as subtle as a sledgehammer.
All in all very disappointing, and if not improved upon dramatically in the next novel, Steve Berry will have lost a loyal reader and advocate.
(You will have noticed that I have not even discussed the main subject of the plot. That is simply because Steve Berry writing this and expecting any readers (and his characters) to have not been aware of this historical nonsense beggars belief. Perhaps after returning to The U.S.A. he was telling everyone about this amazing Monster that lives in a Scottish loch and assuming it was news!)
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on 24 March 2017
I've not read any of Steve Berry's novels before and it was only when I had finished this that I realised that it is the 8th outing for Cotton Malone. Fortunately, it didn't affect the plot as any relevant back story was easily incorporated. I don't usually read thrillers but picked this up in a charity shop because of the Tudor connection. Cotton Malone is an American former Justice Department agent who, with his son, gets caught up in a plot by the CIA to uncover a secret hidden in Tudor times.

Steve Berry had obviously thoroughly researched both Tudor history and the geography of certain areas of Britain, especially London which made me more willing to suspend disbelief in the basic plot/hidden secret sufficiently for me to enjoy the story. I don't think the premise is credible but Berry uses enough verifiable facts to make it into an interesting 'what if it was true' experience. Very readable style - I read this in one day (admittedly on a day when I spent about 6 hours on a train!) but it passed the time really well. Some of the techniques to increase the pace as you approached the climax seemed a little obvious (such as very short chapters) but seeing behind the curtain didn't detract from the effect.

The only reason that I haven't rated it higher is that I would probably only buy another of Steve Berry's books if the story line appealed to me but that is simply because it isn't my favourite genre. I think it was well written so would recommend it to anyone who likes thrillers.
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on 30 September 2013
I very rarely abandon a book that I've paid for, but I'm afraid I did with this one. Eventually I got so frustrated with reading about supposedly English characters in places I know well, who sounded like American tourists on a 10 city coach trip, with minimal knowledge of England, the British language or culture. It felt like it had been written by someone who had only very superficial knowledge of where he was writing about. I don't mind at all reading about an American character in England calling pavements sidewalks, or even if the background description, written by an American author calls it a sidewalk, but when an English character does it sets my teeth on edge. I am using this as an example, and the specific may not have actually happened in this book, but it was a general feeling I got. I apologise to the author for writing a bad review, a thing I have only ever done once before, as I know how much work goes into writing a book. Usually I will just not write a review at all if I don't like it, but in this case I felt I had to.
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on 17 September 2013
not one of his best lots of information on henry the Viii got a little fed up, but the cotton Malone character is great
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