Posted in Books

Book Review: The King’s Deception (Cotton Malone #8), by Steve Berry

About the author:
Steve Berry is the author of the Cotton Malone series of novels. He is an international bestseller author whose books have sold over 12 million copies and translated into 40 languages. He has also taught writing to audiences across the globe.

Cover and blurb:
The cover shows a castle with a red swirl over it. This, plus the blurb about a 500 year old secret that is startling in its revelations, makes the story interesting. A historical thriller that I might love.

My thoughts:
Historical thrillers are something to ponder on. To be executed well, it should be researched well, and yet give the feel of continuity, like it flows from scene to scene, character to character and not stick to just the historical details. Reading Berry was a revelation of just such a book, well written and – borrowing a term I’ve heard from many of my friends these days – unputdownable.

The historical event – a secret that has been kept for and by generations of Tudors – brings in the interest for the reader at the start. Brought to the present time to set the tone for a little drama, the reader is taken back again in a flashback, as Cotton Malone narrates the events that got him and his younger son Gary involved in a case that revolved around that big Tudor secret. It’s the drama that sets the base for the case. To add to the interest is the impending release of a Libyan terrorist from a Scotland prison on humanitarian grounds, one that is seen as a reason for the world to question the power houses.

The secret threatens the monarchy, the monarchy has the power to change things, so this secret in the wrong hands would wreak havoc. To do that, a cunning and somewhat obsessed villain is needed. Berry gives us a few of them in this novel, but the one that stands out, and one that connects in a totally unexpected way, is rogue CIA agent Blake Antrim. Egoistical sod that he is, he is prepared to use any means necessary to complete his mission. The problem… the secret is half way across the world, stolen by a young boy. Cheeky, innovative and street smart, Ian’s character is appealing and yet a little confusing. You love him, but nitpicking a little, you begin to wonder how a boy, a petty thief ends up half way across the world running from people. Bringing him back to England is Malone, with his son Gary. Cotton is someone one can admire as the hero. He doesn’t have a panic button, takes the right decisions on the spur of the moment and such. Gary, well you could almost say he’s a chip off the old block (almost… almost!) The trio are kidnapped from Heathrow, and well, the rest is to you to find out.

Berry’s characterization is brilliant. He works his threads well, keeping us interested in his plotting, and also in the characters. Major characters are slowly developed, the secondary ones brought in and shot out (literally) when needed. There’s history, thrill and even some family drama in the book. Frankly, I didn’t feel the necessity for the third, the novel could have worked without it too. The secrets and the events come out well to hold the attention of the reader, albeit they might seem a little too easy to use. One thing I feel the book could use is a little bigger font size. I’d be thrilled to see that in future thrillers.

Interested in history, action and a fast-paced book? This, I feel, is one for you.

A rating of 8/10
A rating of 8/10

Book details:
Title: The King’s Deception
Author: Steve Berry
ISBN: 978-1-4447-5470-4
Genre: Historical / Thriller
Publishers: Hodder / Hachette India
Price: INR. 350


This book was given to me for review by Hachette India. This is not a paid review.
The opinions expressed in the review are my own, and remain unbiased and uninfluenced.

Shared with First Reads at b00k r3vi3ws.

(Aug 23rd, 2013)


Poetry and writing are to me, a breath of fresh air in a life that is sometimes covered by the smoke of sorrow or self doubt. They also become the sweets I share to celebrate when life offers me a reason to. But most of all, they are to me, my life. For each word I write is a piece of my heart, a thought that just had to find its way into the world.

2 thoughts on “Book Review: The King’s Deception (Cotton Malone #8), by Steve Berry

  1. Awesome book indeed…and as Berry put it in an interview with Elaine Charles (book report radio show) – the Bisley Boy is totally believable, and the consequences Massive! It needs mentioning that if you’re a purist, you should probably pick up Berry’s short story “The Tudor Plot”, before reading ‘King’s Deception. It’s not really necessary, but Berry does make mention of it in the interview of having a lot relevance to the one being discussed here.

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