Review: The King’s Deception by Steve Berry

19th July 2013

pg1*I received this book in coordination with the booktrib blog tour in exchange for an honest review.

Cotton Malone is back in Berry’s latest, The King’s Deception. Retired, Malone is much more concerned with his son, Gary, than state secrets. His ex-wife has told Malone and Gary that he is the product of an affair. Malone comes to the States to collect Gary and take him back to Amsterdam when he’s asked for a favor: escort Ian Dunne back to London. Dunne was a witness to a murder, and London wants him back.

But the CIA is already in the UK in the form of Blake Antrim, and a good guy he is not. He’s uncovered a secret – the possibility that Queen Elizabeth I was an impostor and more specifically, male – and plans to use it to his advantage. Antrim is instrumental in getting Malone involved, and his reasons are far more personal.

The implications of the secret terrify a government who has brokered shaky peace and who will do anything to maintain it.

Steve Berry’s books make the rounds in my family. My mother first discovered The Alexandria Link, and ever since we pass his newest among us. (And yes, I realize I have the coolest family.) So recently…

3 days ago, somewhere in southeast Texas

Dad: So what did you think of the new Berry?

Me: Eh.

Dad: What do you mean, eh?

Me: I mean, eh.

Yesterday, somewhere in southeast Texas

Dad: You’re crazy.

Me: About….

Dad: The new Berry book. It’s awesome!

Me: Eh.

Book #8 in this series just seemed a bit wilder. Not only are they tracking the possibility that Elizabeth was a boy, there’s also a rumor that Henry VIII hid a treasure somewhere for his heirs. Then there’s the Libyan prisoner being released from a Scottish prison.

If that seems like a lot, add Antrim’s trouble with women, Malone’s background and marriage, and a troublesome SOCA agent to the mix, and the tale is downright unmanageable. It’s never a good sign when the premise of a book is more captivating than the book itself, and that was the case for me with The King’s Deception. Check out The Bisley Boy legend and get back to me. Fascinating, yes? But the execution of Malone’s story wasn’t as refined as I would have liked.

But don’t take my word for it. My mom and dad both loved the book, and I think for diehard Berry fans, it’s a must.

Add this to your Goodreads shelf.

  • The Queen Elizabeth I as a boy theory annoys me.

    • I had actually never heard that. The Bisley Boy stuff is really interesting to me, though.

    • Eaveson

      well that rules you out for not being an Irish National 🙂

  • Julz

    I read all of Berry’s books, but as a Tudorphile, this was a bit of a stretch for me. Not my fave.

    • Nope. Too much stuff, but I did find the Bram Stoker bit really fascinating. Had never heard of that.

  • LittleLynne

    My daughter told me about Steve Berry’s latest offering and on doing a review search, 1st came across someone who didn’t think it was as good as previous books and then someone who thought it was 5 star. So we needed a 3rd opinion! I came across a link on the 2nd site to a radio show that had spoken about the book this weekend, as well as an interview with author, Steve Berry (bookreportradio(dot)com), so listened to the podcast of the show. I’ve generally never been much of an audiobook listener, preferring my own narration, but the narration was good! The radio book show seems to discuss about 5 or 6 books a week, with an author interview too, so I thought I may spread the word along-seemed like a good way of getting a feel for some of the books out there. Was interested to see you thought it a bit over the top, and while I wouldn’t want to miss out on one in a series, my time is such a valuable commodity, I don’t really want to waste it on something I may be disappointed in! I did however find the link you shared to The Bisley boy legend really intriguing. Something I hadn’t heard before, but wouldn’t discredit too quickly! Thanks for the honest feedback.

  • I’d never heard of Berry until he was the keynote at the Historical Novel Society conference, in which he pissed off a good chunk of the audience with his comments and enthusiasm for the Elizabeth-is-male theory. I do love the name of his hero – related to the Mathers, by chance? — and I really love that your family swaps his books around! That’s so awesome!

  • Charlie

    A few books I’ve read recently had that awesome premise, not so good story thing going on so I’d likely skip it, but then hearing your parents say it’s good makes me wonder (no disrespect to you of course, it’s the having a few views at once feature). Yes, you certainly do have the coolest family. Reading Audra’s comment the author sounds a bit too Philippa Gregory-like for me.

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