The Charlemagne Pursuit (Cotton Malone Series #4)

The Charlemagne Pursuit (Cotton Malone Series #4)

by Steve Berry

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Overview

NEW YORK TIMES BESETSELLER • “Those who relish suspense in the Da Vinci Code vein will snap this one up, the best yet in the series.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

As a child, former Justice Department agent Cotton Malone was told that his father died in a submarine disaster in the North Atlantic. But what he now learns stuns him: His father’s sub was a secret nuclear vessel lost on a highly classified mission beneath the ice shelves of Antarctica.

Twin sisters Dorothea Lindauer and Christl Falk are also determined to find out what became of their father, who died on the same submarine–and they know something Malone doesn’t: Inspired by strange clues discovered in Charlemagne’s tomb, the Nazis explored Antarctica before the Americans. Now Malone discovers that cryptic journals penned in “the language of heaven,” conundrums posed by an ancient historian, and his father’s ill-fated voyage are all tied to a revelation of immense consequence for humankind. As Malone embarks on a dangerous quest with the sisters, he will finally confront the shocking truth of his father’ s death and the distinct possibility of his own.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345485809
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/24/2009
Series: Cotton Malone Series , #4
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 576
Sales rank: 110,075
Product dimensions: 7.50(w) x 4.30(h) x 1.37(d)

About the Author

Steve Berry is the New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author of The Lincoln Myth, The King’s Deception, The Columbus Affair, The Jefferson Key, The Emperor’s Tomb, The Paris Vendetta, The Charlemagne Pursuit, The Venetian Betrayal, The Alexandria Link, The Templar Legacy, The Third Secret, The Romanov Prophecy, and The Amber Room. His books have been translated into 40 languages with more than 18,000,000 copies in 51 countries.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


Garmisch, Germany
Tuesday, December 11, The Present
1:40 pm

Cotton Malone hated enclosed spaces.

His current unease was amplified by a packed cable car. Most of the passengers were on vacation, dressed in colorful garb, shouldering poles and skis. He sensed a variety of nationalities. Some Italians, a few Swiss, a handful of French, but mainly Germans. He’d been one of the first to climb aboard and, to relieve his discomfort, he’d made his way close to one of the frosty windows. Ten thousand feet above and closing, the Zugspitze stood silhouetted against a steel- blue sky, the imposing gray summit draped in a late- autumn snow.

Not smart, agreeing to this location.

The car continued its giddy ascent, passing one of several steel tres­tles that rose from the rocky crags.

He was unnerved, and not simply from the crowded surroundings. Ghosts awaited him atop Germany’s highest peak. He’d avoided this rendezvous for nearly four decades. People like him, who buried their past so determinedly, should not help it from the grave so easily.

Yet here he was, doing exactly that.

Vibrations slowed as the car entered, then stopped at the summit station.

Skiers flooded off toward another lift that would take them down to a high- altitude corrie, where a chalet and slopes waited. He didn’t ski, never had, never wanted to.

He made his way through the visitor center, identified by a yellow placard as Müncher Haus. A restaurant dominated one half of the building, the rest housed a theater, a snack bar, an observatory, souvenir shops, and a weather station.

He pushed through thick glass doors and stepped out onto a railed terrace. Bracing Alpine air stung his lips. According to Stephanie Nelle his contact should be waiting on the observation deck. One thing was obvious. Ten thousand feet in the high Alps certainly added a height­ened measure of privacy to their meeting.

The Zugspitze lay on the border. A succession of snowy crags rose south toward Austria. To the north spanned a soup- bowl valley ringed by rock- ribbed peaks. A gauze of frosty mist shielded the German vil­lage of Garmisch and its companion, Partenkirchen. Both were sports meccas, and the region catered not only to skiing but also bobsledding, skating, and curling.

More sports he’d avoided.

The observation deck was deserted save for an elderly couple and a few skiers who’d apparently paused to enjoy the view. He’d come to solve a mystery, one that had preyed on his mind ever since that day when the men in uniforms came to tell his mother that her husband was dead.

"Contact was lost with the submarine forty- eight hours ago. We dispatched search and rescue ships to the North Atlantic, which have combed the last known position. Wreckage was found six hours ago. We waited to tell the families until we were sure there was no chance of survivors."

His mother had never cried. Not her way. But that didn’t mean she wasn’t devastated. Years passed before questions formed in his teenage mind. The government offered little explanation beyond official re­leases. When he’d first joined the navy he’d tried to access the court of inquiry’s investigative report on the sub’s sinking, but learned it was classified. He’d tried again after becoming a Justice Department agent, possessed of a high security clearance. No luck. When Gary, his fifteen-year- old, visited over the summer, he’d faced new questions. Gary had never known his grandfather, but the boy had wanted to know more about him and, especially, how he died. The press had covered the sink­ing of the USS Blazek in November 1971, so they’d read many of the old accounts on the Internet. Their talk had rekindled his own doubts– enough that he’d finally done something about them.

He plunged balled fists into his parka and wandered the terrace.

Telescopes dotted the railing. At one stood a woman, her dark hair tied in an unflattering bun. She was dressed in a bright outfit, skis and poles propped beside her, studying the valley below.

He casually walked over. One rule he’d learned long ago. Never hurry. It only bred trouble.

"Quite a scene," he said.

She turned. "Certainly is."

Her face was the color of cinnamon which, combined with what he regarded as Egyptian features in her mouth, nose, and eyes signaled some Middle Eastern ancestry.

"I’m Cotton Malone."

"How did you know I was the one who came to meet you?"

He motioned at the brown envelope lying at the base of the tele­scope. "Apparently this is not a high- pressure mission." He smiled. "Just running an errand?"

"Something like that. I was coming to ski. A week off, finally. Al­ways wanted to do it. Stephanie asked if I could bring"–she motioned at the envelope–"that along." She went back to her viewing. "You mind if I finish this? It cost a euro and I want to see what’s down there."

She revolved the telescope, studying the German valley that stretched for miles below.

"You have a name?" he asked.

"Jessica," she said, her eyes still to the eyepiece.

He reached for the envelope.

Her boot blocked the way. "Not yet. Stephanie said to make sure you understand that the two of you are even."

Last year he’d helped out his old boss in France. She’d told him then that she owed him a favor and that he should use it wisely.

And he had.

"Agreed. Debt paid."

She turned from the telescope. Wind reddened her cheeks. "I’ve heard about you at the Magellan Billet. A bit of a legend. One of the original twelve agents."

"I didn’t realize I was so popular."

"Stephanie said you were modest, too."

He wasn’t in the mood for compliments. The past awaited him. "Could I have the file?"

Her eyes sparked. "Sure."

He retrieved the envelope. The first thought that flashed through his mind was how something so thin might answer so many questions.

"That must be important," she said.

Another lesson. Ignore what you don’t want to answer. "You been with the Billet long?"

"Couple of years." She stepped from the telescope mount. "Don’t like it, though. I’m thinking about getting out. I hear you got out early, too."

As carelessly as she handled herself, quitting seemed like a good ca­reer move. During his twelve years he’d taken only three vacations, during which he’d stayed on constant guard. Paranoia was one of many occupational hazards that came with being an agent, and two years of voluntary retirement had yet to cure the malady.

"Enjoy the skiing," he said to her.

Tomorrow he’d fly back to Copenhagen. Today he was going to make a few stops at the rare- book shops in the area–an occupational hazard of his new profession. Bookseller.

She threw him a glare as she grabbed her skis and poles. "I plan to."

They left the terrace and walked back through the nearly deserted visitor center. Jessica headed for the lift that would take her down to the corrie. He headed for the cable car that would drop him ten thou­sand feet back to ground level.

He stepped into the empty car, holding the envelope. He liked the fact that no one was aboard. But just before the doors closed, a man and woman rushed on, hand in hand. The attendant slammed the doors shut from the outside and the car eased from the station.

He stared out the forward windows.

Enclosed spaces were one thing. Cramped, enclosed spaces were another. He wasn’t claustrophobic. More a sense of freedom denied. He’d tolerated it in the past–having found himself underground on more than one occasion–but his discomfort was one reason why, years ago, when he joined the navy, unlike his father, he hadn’t opted for submarines. "Mr. Malone." He turned. The woman stood, holding a gun. "I’ll take that envelope."

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“[Steve] Berry outdoes himself… [in his] best book to date.”—Library Journal, starred review

“Plenty of classic touch points are in this cliff-hanger: Nazis, secret missions, shootouts, [and] cryptic journals…In Malone, Berry has created a classic, complex hero.”—USA Today

“Action-packed . . . engrossing and suspenseful…another stunning thriller.”—Wichita Falls Times Record News

“A solid action thriller [with] colorful bad guys, likable good guys, and plenty of action scenes.”—Booklist

“[A] hair-raising adventure…Berry has another blockbuster.”—Romantic Times

“Those who relish suspense in the Da Vinci Code vein will snap this one up, the best yet in the series.”—Publishers Weekly,starred review

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Charlemagne Pursuit (Cotton Malone Series #4) 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 351 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In this fourth novel featuring the one-time top operative for the U.S. Justice Department, Cotton Malone, Cotton sets out to discover the full story behind his father¿s death thirty-eight years ago. Cashing in a favor with his ex-boss Stephanie Nelle, Cotton learns a shocking the shocking secret that the Navy covered up. His father died in a top-secret submarine mission beneath the ice shelves of Antarctica. Within minutes of receiving the highly classified file Cotton finds himself in danger. In order to save himself and learn the truth behind the cover-up he teams up with twin sisters Dorothea Lindauer and Christl Falk whose father also died on the submarine. Filled with unease about working with the twins Cotton cautiously embarks on a perilous journey by solving clues left in a diary found in Charlemagne¿s tomb. Filled with non-stop action, The Charlemagne Pursuit kept me on the edge of my seat the entire book. Berry threw curve balls left and right that kept me second guessing who was a good guy and who was just plain up to no good. I actually cried at the end and even though the book is 528 pages I wished it would have gone on for 500 more. Having read all three of the previous Cotton Malone books I can honestly say that this book is the best one yet but if you¿ve haven¿t read the previous three this one does stand alone. I HIGHLY recommend this book to all thriller and suspense lovers.
GtzLstNRding More than 1 year ago
Cotton Malone has yet another adventure. This is the 2nd Berry Book I've read and mistakenly have read out of order. I hope it does not matter. I am starting to get a feel for Berry's writting style and like how he takes factual information and events and add little bits to make it his own. This only makes the story more interesting. The one thing I really ejoyed about this book is how Berry brings closure to a desparate ache in Malone's heart. This book series reminds me of a cross between the Dan Brown - Robert Langdon stories and the Jack Ryan stories - by Tom Clancy (Patriot Games).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read all of Steve Berry's books and like Cotton Malone, but the story really dragged and I just couldn't get into this one. Didn't even finish it.
TheCrowdedLeaf More than 1 year ago
This is Steve Berry's seventh novel, and the fourth of the Cotton Malone series. I've always enjoyed Berry's novels, grand adventures, thrilling and suspenseful, intriguing and mysterious. If you like Dan Brown and James Rollins, you will like Steve Berry. If I haven't convinced you, just go buy him for yourself and see what I mean. The Charlemagne Pursuit finds former Justice Department agent Cotton Malone involved in another race for information. It seems he can never stay settled in his Copenhagen bookstore for long, someone always needs his help. This time though, he's brought things upon himself. Nearly his whole life Cotton believed his father died on a submarine mission in the North Atlantic, that's what his mother was told. But when Cotton wants more information, he discovers not only has he been believing a lie, but someone else wants to know what happened to his father's sub as well, and another someone wants to do anything and everything to keep that information under ice. Literally. Cotton teams up with an unlikely pair of twin sisters who hate each other, but are also searching for information about their father who happened to be on the same submarine as Cotton's. Back in the United States, Cotton's former boss Stephanie Nelle has teamed up with deputy national security advisor Edwin Davis to search for information on just who is pulling the strings and placing Cotton in danger at every turn. Filled with ancient artifacts, evidence of a race of humans far older than ourselves, murderous assassins, intriguing riddles, and thrilling non-stop action, Berry once again delivers a wonderfully suspenseful novel in the Cotton Malone series. But this one is more mature than his previous editions; this one is also skillfully researched, but it's more of a serious thriller than an adrenaline-filled sensationalistic work. This one is an entrée ready to be eaten, making his earlier works seem like appetizers. I love appetizers, they're fabulous, but the entrée is where the skill is found, the true talent of the chef is displayed in the entrée. And Steve Berry proves himself a master with The Charlemagne Pursuit. Certain characters return, and others are only mentioned in passing, never to make themselves visible in this novel. But we learn more about Cotton, about his feelings, and he becomes less of a Terminator and more of an emotional human. The ending makes me happy that I waited to read The Charlemagne Pursuit, since cliffhangers make me anxious for more, and the next Cotton book, The Paris Vendetta, is already in stores. If you like thrillers and adventures, pick up a Steve Berry novel. I loved his first two, The Amber Room and The Romanov Prophecy, but the Cotton series begins with The Templar Legacy.
castillodance More than 1 year ago
You can always count on Steve Berry to deliver exciting, informative, well written thrillers..and this one is no exception. I was late in returning from my lunch break two days in a row while reading this! I always enjoy Steve because his books are based on interesting, but not over-the-top premises that provoke further reading once the novel has come to a close. Hopefully holiday elves have brought me gift cards this year so I can purchase The Paris Vendetta!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
STOP+Harriet+Klausner+from+ruining+the+sales+of+your++books.++This+woman+must+think+she+is+an+author+waiting+to+be+discovered+as+she+reveals+the+plots+of+many+of+your+books.+I+get+so+disappointed+that+I+have+not+purchased+ONE+book+where+she+has+made+her+signature+long+and+revealing+%22reviews%22
theokester on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It seems like ages since I received this book as an ARC. I've watched it sit on my shelf for a long time before finally picking it up to read it. I wasn't exactly dreading the read, but I wasn't chomping at the bit to get at it either. I'd read a previous book in the series (The Alexandria Link) and I found it generally enjoyable but also alternating between slow paced and predictably contrived.I've always been intrigued by the character of Charlemagne but don't actually know a lot about him. I was enticed to this book by the promise of some underlying conspiracy and/or mystery regarding Charlemagne and his rein. While the conspiracy/mystery does center around writings left by Charlemagne and his contemporaries, the heart of the intrigue deals with a race of people distanced from Charlemagne but still overly intriguing.As with the previous Cotton Malone book I'd read, we find Malone pulled into a mystery of somewhat epic proportions. This time he is propelled into the search for truth through a desire to know exactly what happened to his father ~30+ years ago. While this motivation is compelling, the immense coincidences and interactions that occur throughout the pursuit were far too overwhelming to be fully believed.The research and historical information presented in the book is very impressive and once again shows the remarkable scholarly talent possessed by the author. The integration of this information into the story is generally good although at times it feels like I'm sitting through a rather dry lecture in a history class. Some information is presented again and again in slightly different ways, not only to keep it fresh but also presumably to highlight the importance it will play in the plot. Other information is generally interesting but is presented drily and in the end did very little to progress the plot, so much so that I found myself skipping over large chunks of narrative.The story arc following Cotton Malone was compelling and interesting. His interactions with the Oberhauser (sp?) family were generally believable, though I often felt that the suspicions, paranoia, anxiety and general mistrust were overdiscussed and underplayed.I was very disappointed and somewhat annoyed by the parallel story arc happening back in America. From the introduction and previous books, we know that Malone was an operative in a government agency (the Magellan Billet) and in the previous book I read, there were interactions with that agency and a separate story arc while previous co-workers helped Malone from the States. In this book, the same general formula is tried by presenting us a story arc to follow Malone's old boss and her co-worker as they try to find the motive and solve a string of mysterious deaths. While the intrigue and excitement happening in America was well constructed, I felt that it was too artificially attached to pursuit Malone was following. The basic gist is that Langford Ramsey is seeking his personal advancement in the political ranks, first to the Joint Chiefs and later (hopefully) into vice-presidency or beyond. Unfortunately he seems to have skeletons in his closet (imagine!) and wants to do away with one of them in particular¿.the one that happens to deal with the death of Malone's father (heaven forbid his general inaction on a highly classified 30 year old mission come out¿especially when his general orders were to do virtually nothing¿still, I guess it would bite him a little¿but no more than the other number of murders and nasty dealings he was involved with).The adventure and pursuit of the assassin across various states was exciting and played out well. I just didn't feel it was well juxtaposed against the pursuit Malone was undertaking.Overall, the story was generally engaging, the research was interesting (if a bit dry at times), and much of the story felt believable and realistic. The writing was solid. But in the end, I came away from the book feeling that it was lack
ruinedbyreading on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I thought it would be a fast and enjoyable read. The description sounded interesting, but I couldn't get into it. Didn't flow at all, and was kind of boring.
jocelynds on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was slow to start, but once you're committed, it picks up speed quickly around page 100. I can't read a mystery without reading the last chapter first, but the plot twists kept me interested, even though I knew how it would end. Recommended, though I wouldn't read it twice.
Mzkitty570 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the first novel I¿ve read by this author. I really enjoyed the book. It was fast paced and the characters weren¿t confusing. Each character was well written and the story had a nice flow. Cotton Malone is on a quest to find out how his father really died, this is the basic premise. He is helped by a former boss, Stephanie, and two twin sisters who¿s grandfather and father, who are dead, happens to have some information from an ancient civilization that just might help. Along the way we meet up with an Admiral Ramsey who has his own hidden agenda. Even though each chapter flips back and forth between characters, this book was easy to follow. It reminded me on the movie ¿National Treasure¿. You definitely want to hang around for the end of the story. I look forward to reading more of Steve Berry¿s other works as well.
cyderry on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Cotton Malone has finally found a way to get the information which could lead to the answers of what happened to his father nearly 40 years ago. Calling in favors he is handed the file of the final mission that his father went on. Just as he receives the file he is accosted by agents of an unknown adversary.As the story evolves, Malone is caught between antagonistic twin daughters of a German who was also on the mission with his father and want the same information. As in the past, Berry weaves a parallel story involving Stephanie Nell pitted against, this time, an Admiral that wants an appointment to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and who knows exactly what Malone is searching for.I love the Cotton Malone series because of the way that Steve Berry manages to take some ancient historical fact/artifice and weave it masterfully into thriller that will hold my interest even while generating questions of whether something like this could actually happen.Looking forward to the next adventure!
readingwithtea on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's a not terribly subtle thriller involving an ancient German dynasty, Nazis, retired USA Special Forces members turned booksellers... and Antarctica. Mostly everyone dies.Finished with no great relish... ok for the Tube, but that's not a terribly high standard.
Jaie22 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I didn't think I like this kind of spy/thriller thing - but I read the book in one afternoon and evening, so apparently, I do. Fun, fast, probably a little loose with historical detail, quite enjoyable.
harpua on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I guess I didn't enjoy this one as much as most other Steve Berry novels. Sure he managed to weave some obscure historical fact, make some entertaining fiction out of it and tell a good story. We also get some backstory on Cotton and his personal life which while intriguing and wraps itself into the overall story, I felt it to be contrived. Seemed like Berry had two stories to tell and couldn't quite pick which one he wanted to tell more. Thus both felt forced and reaching to fill some page count. I hate saying this about a Berry novel as I love most of them, this just was not one of my favorites. I will always come back to Berry again and again, but this just didn't reach his normal standards.
sammier on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book, but I have to be honest and say that I didn't enjoy it as much as I did the first three Cotton Malone stories. The mystery at the foundation of this book is fascinating and kept my interest the whole way through but I kept finding myself thinking "Huh?!" at some of the characters actions. The Americans - including Cotton, Stephanie Nelle, Edwin Davis and President Danny Daniels - all made sense, but like another reviewer mentioned the Oberhauser women just didn't gel with me. The fast moving action and the stunning visual descriptions by far outweighed any issues I had with the Oberhauser characters though and I would definitely recommend the book to other Steve Berry and Cotton Malone fans.
ddelmoni on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fun to read but far from his best.
KC9333 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Early ReviewersThis will be a bipolar review as there were things I really enjoyed about this book and others I found frustrating.The Good: Action packed and fast paced. Cotton Malone the main character is a very likeable book seller turned super spy that is fun to root for......Intriguing locations all over the world added to the enjoymentThe bad: there are many secondary characters introduced and the plot jumps rapidly between them. Began to skim through seconday storylines as I frankly lost interest. Also the Maniac VP Wanna-be that orders the killing of many characters to prevent his secret being told stretched the imagination beyond believability..Overall a fun beach read but Berry has written better.
bobcatnshn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Charlemagne Pursuit By Steve BerryHaving read all seven of Steve Berry's previous books, and being a big fan of historical fiction, I was thrilled to be selected to receive an advance copy of his latest novel, The Charlemagne Pursuit, through LibraryThing [thanks LT]. Admittedly, I was a bit disappointed with the previous release, The Venetian Betrayal and was truly anxious to see if Mr. B got back to his old form. Although The Charlemagne Pursuit was better, Mr. B seems to have abandoned his past style of historical fiction for spy/action adventure novels. In my humble opinion, this book had precious little to do with Charlemagne, although he was part of glue that held the other characters and story-lines together. In reality, the book was about the search for the truth surrounding the mission and disappearance of an experimental U.S. submarine, the NR-1A, during the cold war and the ensuing cover up and power struggle. The "Little Bug That Went Kerchoo" was the protagonist's (Cotton Malone's) access to secret records surrounding the disappearance and death of his father aboard this submarine. As a result of Cotton's access to this information and others knowledge of his access, the past is awakened and the numerous characters who have a reason to keep the past covered (or discover it) are brought to life and together. There are crooked admirals, Nazis and twin sisters brought into the fold, along with a narcissistic hit man and the twins' evil (we're not sure why) mother. While the novel is entertaining, many of the many characters are poorly developed. I know this is fiction, but many questions are answered and identities revealed too easily and without plausible (or any) explanation. For example, the hit man has secretly killed high profile victims for high profile clients for years, but is easily identified and located to wrap-up the story. Again, in my opinion, the history of Charlemagne is really a passing fancy in the book, unlike many of Mr. B's earlier novels. In all, it was a fun read and I would recommend it. However, it is not his best work, particularly when compared to his earlier entries. It is surely not the historical fiction (e.g. where history plays a real part in the plot of the story) that I have come to enjoy from him. Unless something drastic happens, I will read more of his books. At least we are moving in the right direction from the prior novel. By the way, I liked the typeset, particularly the italicized text dealing with the past. Thanks again LT and Steve Berry.3.5/5 stars Bob in Chicago
WillowOne on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is my first Steve Berry book and I loved it! I had read some postings about this book with reviewers stating that they felt you needed to have previous knowledge of the main character in the book to appreciate and like this book, I disagree. I had no prior knowledge of this character and I felt I didn't need any, I enjoyed the book anyway. I love how the author mixed intrigue, mystery, crime and mythical places with history. You get a history lesson all wrapped up in a fiction book. The author takes you along on a magnificent ride with many characters in different situations all working on different aspects of the same story. I will definitely pick up more Steve Berry in the future, especially if he continues blending history and fiction so well. I feel that so many others have written a detailed review on what the book is about, that I will just stick to how the book made me feel. I would have loved to read it front to back in one sitting, but we all know life doesn't give us that option and neither does the need for sleep.
Livana on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Charlemagne Pursuit is fast paced and the story behind the pursuit is quiet interesting. The theory is about a First Civilization. One group of people who had discovered electricity, navigation, astronomy and physics concept way before we did.The story stretches between Germany, France, Virginia, Washington DC and the South Pole, among other places.The very short paragraphs that go from one scene to the next are a bit unnerving at times. But overall, I though the writing and the story were good. The ending leaves room opened for a new Cotton Malone episode.
BiblioBabe on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Charlemagne Pursuit was a quick and entertaining read. It was sort of DaVinci Code ala Charlemagne. Two entertwined storylines kept the pace of the story moving. There were a few times when I thought the toggling between the two stories was a bit excessive with too many attempted cliffhangers diluting the dramatic effect. I did enjoy the basic premise of the book and I was very gratified by the end notes which clued readers in to what was historical and what was fiction. The book's ending left this reader wanting more and hopefully Steve Berry will deliver.While I definitely enjoyed this book, it has caused some problems with my to-be-read pile. I hadn't realized that it was part of a series. I read the Alexandria Link a year or two ago and was surprised and pleased to find Cotton Malone resurface in this fourth book of the series. Now I have to go back and add book one (The Templar Legacy) and book three (The Venetian Betrayal) to my pile.
kbondelli on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Steve Berry delivers another solid work of historical fiction with The Charlemagne Pursuit. In order to discover the truth about his father's fate, Cotton Malone enters unlikely partnerships with a number of characters which leads him towards solving another mystery altogether: the Charlemagne Pursuit.Filled with historical puzzles and mysteries from the era of Charlemagne, the novel appeals to readers that enjoy fiction based on historical mysteries. While the twisting and turning of the plot's character relationships may be a little frustrating to some, it prevents the narrative from being too formulaic and keeps a lot of surprises hidden.If you are a fan of Steve Berry's earlier work then this is a definite read for you. Fans of mysteries rich in history will also find The Charlemagne Pursuit a worthwhile pursuit of their own.
sadiekaycarver on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book started off a bit slow for me. There was no deep insight into the characters, so I wasn't emotionally invested in them. Now I know this book is one of many in a series by Steve Berry, focusing on the hero Cotton Malone, but for those of us who haven't read any of the previous books, a little background build-up would have been nice. Now, I am not saying that this book was bad, just not the best I've ever read. It did get better as it went on, but I did have a hard time getting into it right away. There is a twist of sorts, near the end of the book that I suppose was supposed to be climatic, but that and the way the "mystery" was resolved left me wanting something more. The end scene did leave me wonderng what was going to happen next and had me thinking I might even wiling to invest some more time reading the next book in the Cotton Malone series. I think that author intended for the book to be fast paced as he jumped back and forth between two different locations, but it just left me feeling disconnected and sometimes confused. Again, not a bad book, just a little disapointing, considering I had heard such good things abut Steve Berry.
sundance41 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Charlemagne Pursuit was an action packed thriller. It was a great holiday read. I really enjoyed the book as with the previous books of the Cotton Malone series. This book had less relevance to the historical fiction genre in contrast to Steve Berry's previous books. The connection to Charlemagne was loose at best. However, the underlying theme was fascinating. I enjoyed the reference to Scot Harvath, a super agent from a series of books by Brad Thor.
cranjetta on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If only we could replace the Indiana Jones from the last film with Cotton Malone I think we would have had a much better movie. While I have not before read a Steve Berry book I must say that this one has gotten me interested. A mix of mystery, action and history in the same spirit as the National Treasure movies but with better characters for whom you care for and a plot with far less holes. This was a great weekend read and I didn't even need to know anything about this character from prior books (although I'm sure I would have understood certain relationships and references better). Since the Di Vinci Code stories like this have popped up all over but I think what made this novel so different was Cotton's personal involvement in the case and the stakes for him which were purely emotional. The sketches of some of the items described by the author were great even though the story was told in enough detail for me to be able to picture those items in my head. This was fast paced with plenty of mystery being wrapped up with new mysteries introduced throughout the novel. I was guessing the outcome most of the way through the book even though you could guess the fate of Cotton's father early on. My only real complaint was the cliffhanger ending. This story was wrapped up but it's like the author needed to have the cliffhanger so we would all know there would be another book in the series which I don't think was really needed.