Four United States presidents have been assassinated—in 1865, 1881, 1901, and 1963—each murder seemingly unrelated and separated by time.
But what if those presidents were all killed for the same reason: a clause in the United States Constitution—contained within Article 1, Section 8—that would shock Americans?
This question is what faces former Justice Department operative Cotton Malone in his latest adventure. When a bold assassination attempt is made against President Danny Daniels in the heart of Manhattan, Malone risks his life to foil the killing—only to find himself at dangerous odds with the Commonwealth, a secret society of pirates first assembled during the American Revolution. In their most perilous exploit yet, Malone and Cassiopeia Vitt race across the nation and take to the high seas. Along the way they break a secret cipher originally possessed by Thomas Jefferson, unravel a mystery concocted by Andrew Jackson, and unearth a centuries-old document forged by the Founding Fathers themselves, one powerful enough—thanks to that clause in the Constitution—to make the Commonwealth unstoppable.
Intelligence operative, and Berry's cash-cow and serial hero, Cotton Malone has to match wits with Jonathan Wyatt while attempting to solve a conspiracy that has roots as deep as the US Constitution. (Wyatt is first introduced in Berry's e-book The Devil's Gold; a 40-page teaser that is not required reading, but still worth your time.)
This is not my first Steve Berry, but it is my first Cotton Malone. I normally pass on this type of character because this guy can literally do anything...think action-hero Robert Langdon in Angels and Demons (yes I'm still bitter about that). But I was drawn in by the intriguing concept of the Commonwealth; I am a BIG fan of conspiracy theory.
The Jefferson Key avoided that "action hero" story line...for the most part. And I greatly appreciated it. The suspense in this book was intense. I would provide an audible "dun dun dunnnnn!" at the end of a large number of chapters. Though I will admit that there were almost too many cliff-hanger chapter endings if you can imagine a suspense author's version of crying wolf.
I thought that Mr. Berry did a commendable job of balancing history with fiction. He wove an intricate web and it made for a great read. I liked this book and have been recommending it to others like I recommend it to you.
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