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by Steve Berry
Ballantine, June 2013
411 pages
ISBN: 0345526546

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

One of Steve Berry's best Cotton Malone thrillers, this story is likely to draw readers in because so much of the British historical background is familiar territory, even for Americans. The story begins when Malone is asked to drop off a juvenile criminal in London on his way to a Thanksgiving break with his son, Gary, in Denmark.

It all goes horribly wrong from the moment the three arrive in London. Even without his delivery task, Malone is seeking to address the unsettling fact that Gary has recently learned - that Malone is not his biological father. When rogue cops come to claim the prisoner, Malone is in for the fight of his life, and it's just the first in a series of unpleasant events that leads to the revelation of a British state secret that's been kept under wraps for centuries.

Much of the book's setting (main tourist areas of London that coincide with royal history) will be familiar to readers, as will some of the details of the lives of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, who play important roles in the secret being kept hidden. Adding to the intrigue is a secret society, coded messages, a trail of historical clues and modern-day diplomatic wrangling over terrorism.

As if that weren't enough, Berry's thriller manages to make its debut right as NSA leaks reveal that the US spies not only on its enemies but on its friends as well. That makes THE KING'S DECEPTION perfectly timed. In the novel's case, the CIA is seeking to leverage British secrets against the government in order to apply pressure to have the government reverse a decision about releasing a Libyan terrorist from a Scottish prison.

It all makes for a very interesting read. Berry, as usual, uses history to his advantage, in this case in a very Dan-Brown-ancient-conspiracy sort of way. Steve Berry is true to the historical facts as much as possible, yet builds an interesting dilemma around modern day themes. It's the best of both worlds for mystery readers.

Christine Zibas is a freelance writer and former director of publications for a Chicago nonprofit.

Reviewed by Christine Zibas, July 2013

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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