THE KING'S DECEPTION (Cotton Malone #8)
Author: Steve Berry
Hardcover: 409 pages
Published June 11, 2013 by Ballantine Books
Genre: thriller, suspense, mystery, international thriller, contemporary novel, historical fiction
Rating: 5 plus out of 5 stars
"She went to her grave with her secret inviolate"
Cover jacket blurb - Cotton Malone and his fifteen-year-old son, Gary, are headed to Europe. As a favor to his former boss at the Justice Department, Malone agrees to escort a teenage fugitive back to England. But after he is greeted at gunpoint in London, both the fugitive and Gary disappear, and Malone learns that he’s stumbled into a high-stakes diplomatic showdown—an international incident fueled by geopolitical gamesmanship and shocking Tudor secrets. At its heart is the Libyan terrorist convicted of bombing Pan Am Flight 103, who is set to be released by Scottish authorities for “humanitarian reasons.” An outraged American government objects, but nothing can persuade the British to intervene. Except, perhaps, Operation King’s Deception. Run by the CIA, the operation aims to solve a centuries-old mystery, one that could rock Great Britain to its royal foundations. Blake Antrim, the CIA operative in charge of King’s Deception, is hunting for the spark that could rekindle a most dangerous fire, the one thing that every Irish national has sought for generations: a legal reason why the English must leave Northern Ireland. The answer is a long-buried secret that calls into question the legitimacy of the entire forty-five-year reign of Elizabeth I, the last Tudor monarch, who completed the conquest of Ireland and seized much of its land. But Antrim also has a more personal agenda, a twisted game of revenge in which Gary is a pawn. With assassins, traitors, spies, and dangerous disciples of a secret society closing in, Malone is caught in a lethal bind. To save Gary he must play one treacherous player against another—and only by uncovering the incredible truth can he hope to prevent the shattering consequences of the King’s Deception. (Cover jacket blurb)
|Elizabeth I, Darnley Portrait, c. 1575|
Multiple clues hinting at a fraud were dropped during her longevous kingdom and they have been uncovered by scholars, writers, even lawyers, over the course of five centuries (the Bisley Boy legend, Famous Imposters by Bram Stoker, a group of Irish Nationalist lawyers). None of those clues led to an irrefutable evidence, an evidence that may remain buried forever in a tomb at Westminster Abbey.
Queen of England, France and Ireland, the 'iron fist ruler' provided her kingdom with stability and wealth for an exceptionally long time (1558-1603). Spinster and childless, she didn't possess any grace or beauty. Marriage proposals (and there were many) were all turned down, no doctor was ever allowed to examine her body when she was ill, and no autopsy was authorized and performed at her death. Bad-tempered and prone to cursing, she was depicted as commanding and authoritative as a man. And she might have been one.
|Elen Mirrer in 'Elizabeth I' (HBO tv drama)|
*Review copy graciously offered by the publicist in return of an unbiased and fair review
BOOKS AND WINE
For this complex and engrossing thriller I have decided to upgrade my wine suggestion to a Scottish single malt with a regal name. The Royal Lochnagar 12 year old, a scotch whiskey with a royal connection, is legendary for his classic and mellow flavor. With upfront flavors of earth, freshly cut grass, and spice, light notes of sandalwood and hay, it became a favorite of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert during their visits to their Scottish estate at Balmoral. Great on ice or with a splash of water, you will find it irresistible in a cocktail of bold, fruity flavors. Cheers!
BLOOD & SAND Cocktail Recipe
Ingredients for 1 serving:
3/4 oz scotch whiskey
3/4 oz rosso vermouth
1/4 oz cherry brandy