Cotton Malone, Book 15

From the publisher:

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.

This is the 15th book by Steve Berry featuring Cotton Malone. The formula utilized is the same winning format that has made these novels attractive to a large group of readers. Cotton is a former employee of a division of the CIA called the Magellan Billet. He is retired and lives in Copenhagen where he owns a successful book store. He has a girlfriend that lives elsewhere in the world and the two get together whenever possible. How he has time for her and his bookstore are a miracle of time. But that is our gain.

The novel opens as Cotton is on a trip to buy several rare books to fill a customer’s request. His trip is interrupted as is the norm by his ex-supervisor, Stephanie Nelle, who needs him to help the Magellan Billet out by entering into a case. The circumstances involve the present President of Poland being blackmailed by the U.S. in order to force him to allow a missile installation to be set up in Poland. The President is very much against the idea since it will put Poland at odds with Russia.

A situation has developed in which holy relics – Arma Christi – the weapons of Christ are being stolen from their repositories around the world. Stephanie Nelle learns that the relics will be used as admission to a private auction in which incriminating evidence about the Polish President will be given to the highest bidder in attendance. One relic is still in its original place – the Holy Lance – and Malone is sent to a castle in Poland in order to steal it and use it to get into the auction. The events faced by Cotton include traveling into an enormous salt mine that has been in use for centuries. It has proven an excellent source of income for the country over time and is a much sought after tourist attraction for many foreigners.

The auction, its results and a lot of action provides the reader with another great read by Steve Berry, and continued interest in picking up the next novel by the author.

2/2020 Paul Lane

THE WARSAW PROTOCOL by Steve Berry. Minotaur Books (February 25, 2020). ISBN: 978-1250140302. 384p.



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