Steve Berry's first ever eBook exclusive short story finds an adventurer in a strange and forbidding land, in search of a long lost treasure, and very much in harm's way. As a favor to enigmatic billionaire Henrik Thorvaldsen, Cassiopeia Vitt treks into Bulgaria's Rila mountains in search of a buried stash of exceedingly rare artifacts from a bygone civilization: the ancient tomb of a Thracian king. But when her presence is discovered by a shadowy group of Russians secretly mining the area, she needs a way out. "Who to trust" becomes the question, and her life depends on choosing the right option. Includes a sneak-preview of the new Cotton Malone thriller " The Emperor's Tomb."
Thebestselling author ofbrings you a short story that takes readers on a perilous hunt for . . .
Once he was called the Sphinx, a man so inscrutable that neither his adversaries nor fellow intelligence operatives could predict his next move. Now a contract agent with a secret mission, Jonathan Wyatt has gone rogue. For eight years he's been plotting. Waiting. Scheming to kill Federal agents Christopher Combs and Cotton Malone, whom he blames for the loss of his career. But as Wyatt prepares for a final confrontation in a remote South American village, he makes a discovery that stretches back to the horrors of World War II, to the astounding secret of a child's birth, to Martin Bormann and Eva Braun--and to a fortune in lost gold.
The only thing rarer than the vintage editions Cotton Malone sells in his Copenhagen bookshop is the time he actually gets to spend there. Retirement has been anything but relaxing for the onetime U.S. government operative, who's been drawn into one perilous adventure after another, crisscrossing the globe from the Sinai Desert to Antarctica, while racing to uncover some of the most precious secrets in recorded history.
Back home in Denmark, Malone's barely had a chance to rest and regroup after his last high-risk mission when trouble comes knocking again. Actually, it breaks and enters-in the form of an American Secret Service agent with a pair of would-be assassins on his heels. Malone has his doubts about the anxious young man, but narrowly surviving a ferocious firefight convinces Malone to follow his unexpected new ally into the night-and into another all-too-close encounter with certain danger.
Their first stop is the secluded country estate of Malone's good friend Henrik Thorvaldsen. The wily Danish tycoon's eyes and ears around the world have uncovered the insidious plans of the Paris Club, a cabal of multimillionaires out to manipulate the global economy. Only by matching wits with a murderous terrorist-for-hire, foiling a catastrophic attack, and plunging into a desperate hunt for the legendary lost treasure of Napoleon Bonaparte can Malone hope to avert international financial anarchy. But Thorvaldsen's objective is much more personal: to avenge at any cost the murder of his beloved son by the larcenous aristocrat at the heart of the conspiracy. Through the storied streets and cathedrals of Paris, a breathless game of duplicity and death will be played, all to claim a prize of untold value-or to suffer consequences of unthinkable magnitude.
In 323 B.C.E, having conquered Persia, Alexander the Great set his sights on Arabia, then suddenly succumbed to a strange fever. Locating his final resting place – unknown to this day – remains a tantalizing goal for both archaeologists and treasure hunters. Now the quest for this coveted prize is about to heat up. And Cotton Malone – former U.S. Justice Department agent turned rare-book dealer – will be drawn into an intense geopolitical chess game.
After narrowly escaping incineration in a devastating fire that consumes a Danish museum, Cotton learns from his friend, the beguiling adventurer Cassiopeia Vitt, that the blaze was neither an accident nor an isolated incident. As part of campaign of arson intended to mask a far more diabolical design, buildings across Europe are being devoured by infernos of unnatural strength.
And from the ashes of the U.S.S.R., a new nation has arisen: Former Soviet republics have consolidated into the Central Asian Federation. At its helm is Supreme Minister Irina Zovastina, a cunning despot with a talent for politics, a taste for blood sport, and the single-minded desire to surpass Alexander the Great as history's ultimate conqueror.
Backed by a secret cabal of powerbrokers, the Federation has amassed a harrowing arsenal of biological weapons. Equipped with the hellish power to decimate other nations at will, only one thing keeps Zovastina from setting in motion her death march of domination: a miraculous healing serum, kept secret by an ancient puzzle and buried with the mummified remains of Alexander the Great – in a tomb lost to the ages for more than 1,500 years.
Together, Cotton and Cassiopeia must outrun and outthink the forces allied against them. Their perilous quest will take them to the shores of Denmark, deep into the venerated monuments of Venice, and finally high inside the desolate Pamir mountains of Central Asia to unravel a riddle whose solution could destroy or save millions of people – depending on who finds the lost tomb first.
For those readers who enjoy the Dan Brown type of story such as The DaVinci Code, and, Angels and Demons, this is a book I'm sure you will enjoy. Indeed Steve Berry's style is very much like Brown's – short paragraphs, fast-paced, leaving no space in which to get bored. Also, he writes the type of mystery that I personally like. One that gives the reader a lot of real information even if the main subject matter seems a bit far-fetched. Wisely, I think, considering the furor that followed the publication of, The Da Vinci Code, Berry concludes with a writer's note detailing fact from fiction.
The subject of this book is the lost great Library of Alexandria in Egypt, once the repository of nearly all of the collected knowledge and wisdom of the civilized world containing over a half million scrolls, maps, books and codices. Works by Euclid the mathematician, Herophiles on medicine, Manetho's writings on the historical Pharaohs and the poems of Callimachus to name a few. The library was sacked and burned about 1500 years ago by invading Muslim forces. Christians did similar things, of course. Look at the Crusaders for instance. The three major religions have all done it down through the ages. What irreplaceable knowledge, writings and art have been lost!
According to this story, we find that much of the famous library had been spirited away before the sacking armies reached Alexandria. Stories such as this have been around for years. That, in itself, would be a staggering find but reportedly among the documents is one that would blow the lid off the situation in the Middle East, mainly the conflict between the Palestinians the Israelis. It refers to differing translations of the Jewish Old Testament and involves Saudi Arabia.
Cotton Malone, a retired U.S. agent of a section of their Secret Service named The Magellan Billet, is the book's main character. He is separated from his wife, Pam, an agent of the U.S. Department of Justice and shares custody with her of their much loved teenage son, George. The stress of their lifestyles has pushed them apart and it was not an amicable separation especially on Pam's side. Cotton now lives in Copenhagen, Denmark and has established a fine bookshop over the course of a year.
The action starts straight off with an enraged Pam turning up on his doorstep early one morning literally screaming that George was kidnapped two days earlier and that it was all Cotton's fault. The kidnappers said that if she contacted the police the boy would die and she was not to fly to Copenhagen for two days. She was then to give Cotton a particular cell phone and wait. A very angry and frightened Cotton awaits the call, while trying to calm down his hysterical wife. Apparently he has access to something called the Alexandra Link, the only one in the world supposedly that does.
They want it and will do anything necessary to get it. To Pam the answer is simple. Give them what they want and get George back unharmed. But Cotton can't or won't do this. This Link and the knowledge it would reveal would affect the entire world. The world's three main religions would be shaken to their roots. I am not giving the plot away by saying that the information involves the covenant, between Abraham and the Jewish God, Genesis 13.verses 14-17.
While Pam rages on, the call comes, and while Cotton desperately considers what to do, the bookshop beneath them is blown up by rocket fire. This is just to help him make up his mind. They escape over the rooftops and head for the home of their good friend, Henrick Thorveldson. From there the reader is carried along, first to the castle Kronborg Slot also known as Elsinore in Shakespeare's Hamlet, where they are fired on by an assassin and one becomes involved with the highest levels of the U.S. and Middle Eastern governments and the Israeli – Palestine years long conflict. We meet the mysterious Palestinian George Haddad who is a "guardian". But a guardian of what, precisely? It would seem that all was not burned in the destruction of Alexandria and some papers still exist somewhere concerning this conflict. Does he guard this?
Eventually Cotton contacts his previous boss, Stephanie Nelle, the head of this Magellan Billet section who he trusts implicitly and informs her of what is happening. She appears to know something of this already but she in turn trusts no one around her even up to the Oval Office. She has discovered that some top files have been breached in Washington to which only very few have the access codes. There is Attorney General Brent Green; Securities Advisor Lawrence Daley; someone called Blue Chair and top agents of many countries including Mossad.
And so we are led with Cotton and Pam to monasteries, deserts, mountain retreats, various quests, even Camp David and eventually back to Denmark. Danger is everywhere. How does a book like this end when you know the mystery must endure? Well, you will have to read it, as I cannot give it away. I'm sure you will enjoy it.