In New York Times bestseller Steve Berry’s latest Cotton Malone adventure, one by one the seven precious relics of the Arma Christi, the weapons of Christ, are disappearing from sanctuaries across the world.
After former Justice Department agent Cotton Malone witnesses the theft of one of them, he learns from his old boss, Stephanie Nelle, that a private auction is about to be held where incriminating information on the president of Poland will be offered to the highest bidder—blackmail that both the United States and Russia want, but for vastly different reasons.
The price of admission to that auction is one of the relics, so Malone is first sent to a castle in Poland to steal the Holy Lance, a thousand-year-old spear sacred to not only Christians but to the Polish people, and then on to the auction itself. But nothing goes as planned and Malone is thrust into a bloody battle between three nations over information that, if exposed, could change the balance of power in Europe.
From the tranquil canals of Bruges, to the elegant rooms of Wawel Castle, to deep beneath the earth into an ancient Polish salt mine, Malone is caught in the middle of a deadly war—the outcome of which turns on a secret known as the Warsaw Protocol.
Definitely the worst of the series. No real plot twist and Cotton doesn’t even have to think to get through this one. Seems all authors of this genre have a bone to pick with the former president and this just seems cheap compared to the rest of the novels. I may read the next one but this was so much different than all the rest it makes me wonder if the author even wrote this one. I guess after enough novels in a series this is inevitable, see Allon and Reacher for similar examples of poor writing late in the series. I love the history and puzzle solving in this series and this seemed a sophomoric representation of whet the series represents to me.25
Great historical information tied neatly into intrigue and excitement.55
and overly tedious history lesson surrounding a weak, predictable story.15
This is the last Steve Berry book I will ever read. It is so blatantly anti-Trump. He uses every Trump hating stereotype. I almost never quit a book in the middle, but I did this one.15
One of the best Cotton Malone books to date. The characters are well-developed & intriguing.55
Of the 15 Berry novels that I have read, this is the weakest. The plotline was just boring and could almost predict what was going to happen on a scene by scene basis. The less than obvious references to the 45th president were a lazy indulgence. I am in for one more novel, but if it is like this one, it’s time to find a new author.15
Of the fifteen Cotton Malone novels this effort is by far the weakest. It was a chore just getting to the end of the book. Couple that with the author’s obvious and poorly hidden dislike of the 45th American president and my advice is to save time and skip the book. Hopefully Berry’s next effort will be better and he’ll leave out his personal political feelings.25
Another standard recipe for Steve Berry and Cotton Malone—but this time introducing readers to Bruges and key historical sites in Poland. Enjoy learning some historical information on international locations—but why not introduce or talk at all about the Palace of Culture in central Warsaw? That seems ripe for some cool spy angle... All in all, a good 3-day read!45
Berry’s cartoonish Trumpian president detracts from what could have been an interesting story. The underlying premise is also a wee bit far fetched as all movements (Solidarity in this case) all have their broken eggs to make the omelette. These eggs hardly seem worth killing over. While I want to cheer for the good guy, this story lacks any.35
Terrible, I have enjoyed all the Cotton Malone books, but this book is awful.15