Cotton Malone (Book 11)
Steve Berry, besides his place as a well read author, is an avid history buff. Accompanied by his wife and a group of fellow history members of the Berry sponsored organization, “History Matters,” they search out little known aspects of the past that don’t coincide with writings in history books. For example, prior to publishing The 14th Colony, Berry wrote The Patriot Threat, in which he indicated that the US Income Tax might be illegal.
Similarly, in the current novel, the 14th colony is Canada. It is indicated that at three distinct periods during the history of the US, plans were drawn up to invade and annex the country of Canada. These plans never came to fruition but were present and available if the US government decided they should be followed.
Cotton Malone is the protagonist along with his on again, off again girlfriend Cassiopeia. Ordered to Siberia by his ex-boss on a temporary assignment in order to meet with Alexandr Zorin, Malone is forced to parachute into the area. He is captured by the Russians but escapes, meeting up with Cassiopeia who has been sent to help him. Together they pursue Zorin into Canada’s Prince Edward Island.
Zorin picks up a Russian sleeper agent left over from the cold war and living in Canada. The two make their way into the United States and eventually to the White House in time for the inauguration of a new president.
The actuality of the planned invasion of Canada, and a flaw written into the order of succession of US presidents in the eventuality of deaths of several of those in line are utilized as aiding and abetting the two Russians in their plot. What they plan to use is one of five suitcase nuclear bombs stored away for many years. The book is definitely an all nighter keeping the reader mesmerized, following the rapid action and events. The ending leaves us with the grateful sense that there will be more books featuring Cotton Malone most likely allied with his love Cassiopeia.
4/16 Paul Lane
THE 14TH COLONY by Steve Berry. Minotaur Books (April 5, 2016). ISBN 978-1250056245. 464p.