The Malta Exchange

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 08 Mar 2019

Member Reviews

3.5 stars

  The Cotton Malone books are like reading Indiana Jones. You want some popcorn and then kick back to enjoy a fast paced action adventure. Malone is a retired special agent from the U.S. who is now running an antique book store in Copenhagen. He still does does freelance cases and is hired by the British for this one.
  The adventure involves the Knights of Malta, Charlamagne, Napoleon, a Vatican Conclave and Mussolini. It leaves you breathless just reading the cast of characters. Berry's novels are so interesting because not only are they a thrill a minute but there is so much much history packed into them. He does an amazing amount of research.
  This one centers around a disgraced Cardinal who wants to be the Pope. The lengths he'll go to are without limits and and dead bodies pile up everywhere. Luckily, Malone is on the case and things get resolved. This is a fun book with great history thrown in.

  Thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for a fair review.
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I received an eARC from NetGalley for my honest review.  Steve Berry writes wonderful full action mysteries based on some fiction mixed with his well researched historical fact. Let me start by saying how wonderful it is that he has moved on from american history to once again come to the emense, rest of the world. As with all of his Cotton Malone books, this edition takes you on a fact finding, fast paced read, to a thrilling conclusion. Great for anyone who reads James Rollins or Clive Cussler.
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The Malta Exchange by Steve Berry

Cotton Malone is back… and Luke Daniels is with him.  

Cotton Malone is asked by M16 to investigate and find a set of documents written by Mussolini to Churchill. This begins the rollercoaster ride with finding the documents and then losing the documents and then finding other documents and following clues.  Luke Daniels is looking into something in Malta for his boss.  Only to find that Cotton is in the middle of something and it all seems to link.  Cotton wants to figure out where and why people are dying over old documents.

I love the thrill and clues.  I love how hard Cotton and Luke work to figure out what is happening. I love the twists and turns.  What I didn’t like was the long explanations about the history of the church and the long recitation of documents.  I admit I did skip parts of this.  However, I really enjoyed the mystery and clues laid out.  I liked hearing about the the politics of the election of Popes.   Overall,The Malta Exchange by Steve Berry was a good read.
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Mussolini, Churchill, lost letters, The Roman Catholic Church, The Hospitaller Brother of St. John’s of Jerusalem, the Vatican, Constantine’s Gift, Napoleon, Malta, a Palindrome that keeps reasserting its presence, an ultimate grab for power. 

The fourteenth in the Cotton Malone series is more high adventure with someone trying to kill Cotton and his “frat boy” colleague Luke Daniels. Both have been tasked with finding things that need to remain lost. Cotton has been hired to find the lost letters between Mussolini and Churchill that threaten the British Empire. Murder and mayhem abound. Luke Daniels is spying on a Prince of the Church while he is parasailing 250 feet over the Mediterranean Sea. He has no idea why Cardinal Gallo has fled Rome for Malta when a conclave to elect a new pope has been called but he is happy to watch and observe until someone starts shooting at him. Definitely an occupational hazard when you are a part of Stephanie Nell’s Magellan Billet.

This story was puzzle pieces that only provided the corners for support. This story kept me wondering how and when it was all going to fill in. As in most of Berry’s books the ultimate proposition is a concept that is simple but mind boggling. The Roman Catholic church is about to take a literary hit in more ways than one.  Better to wade through the mire and enjoy the “jaw drop”.

Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for an ARC.
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Cotton Malone is a fascinating favorite character, but The Malta Exchange is a little disappointing.  Perhaps using the Catholic Church and the inevitable searches for their secrets through time is a bit overdone.  A challenge to read but still looking forward to Cotton’s next adventure.
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Just when you thought that Cotton Malone was going to relax and enjoy retirement, he joins the hunt for some papers that Mussolini had.  Luke Daniels was sent to watch a situation unfold in Malta and everything goes sideways.  Malone goes to retrieve some papers and nothing goes right there either.  A conspiracy that could determine who is the next pop.  Only time will tell.
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I have loved this series from its beginning but I was let down by book 12, The Lost Order. I felt that book was very slow and hard to get through so I skipped Book 13 since it was a prequel to the series. I am happy to report that this book is back to what I love about this series. It is action packed but laden with great historical places and information. I found myself pausing to look up the places referenced and have a visual for these real world locations which is something I always love about this series. 

Cotton as we know is retired but finds himself freelancing for cash and gets himself caught up in his usual intrigue that will bing him back to the Magellan Billet for an operation. This time there is about to be a conclave to elect a new Pope and plots are hatching. At first Cotton is concerned with the significance of letters between Mussolini and Churchill but eventually matters will come around to the Catholic Church itself. 

This may be a hard book for Catholics. Berry is unflinching in his portrayal of the Church’s motives and scandals. They are portrayed as a greedy lot more concerned with lining their pockets than with saving souls. No reference is made however to any of their sexual scandals. Perhaps even more damning is the way the conclave itself is portrayed. Men concerned with power and never by any thought to a movement by the Holy Spirit as to who should be Pope. Berry does mention that the scandals are purportedly true but does not say the same about his portrayal of the conclave itself. 

While this book does very much concern the Church it is very action packed. It is a fast paced novel that takes place mostly in Malta. Berry did an excellent job of using real world locations as the backdrop of his action. I have always been a huge fan of Luke Daniels and was glad to see he was back. The novel made great use of the juxtaposition of the seasoned Cotton and the more rookie Luke. They are not together for much of the novel but working separate angles to the same end. Stephanie appears briefly but Cassiopeia, while mentioned a few times, never appears. My digital gallery did often make it difficult to know who we were following as when I turned the page it would suddenly be a different POV with no page or chapter break as a warning. Hopefully that won’t be true of the Kindle final version. At one point both Cotton and Luke are being told the same historical story to bring them up to speed but it’s broken up in quick alternating POVs that was confusing and unusual for Berry. 

I love Berry’s blend of action and history and it’s back to its best in this novel. I loved learning about Malta and it’s significance that I was unaware of and the same was true of the obelisk that still stands to Mussolini. I love the way Berry uses real places as part of the story. If you are a fan of this series you will love this novel and enjoy Cotton back in action. If you are new to the series go back to the beginning and enjoy.
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*I was gifted an advanced copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. *

Every once in a while you need a fun espionage/conspiracy theory/ancient-order-of-knights thriller to take you around the world during a dull winter. One of my favorite characters to travel with is Cotton Malone, from Steve Berry.

I first found Cotton by accident, a blizzard was on the way and I realized I only had enough books for one day snowed in, not several, so I ran to the drug store and picked up a few mass market paperbacks. One of them was "The Charlemagne Pursuit", the fourth book in the series. The book was perfect, since a big hunk of its mystery revolves around decades old drama in Antarctica, and that was how my house felt after four days with no power. (Also, another part of the book takes place inside the Biltmore Estate which I was living near at the time. Sign me up for any book that involves running amok in THAT library!)

Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised by my find, and Berry has turned the Cotton Malone series into a prolific one, creating books that flow from one to another, but can also be read as standalones. 

I know that last part because I'm about ten books behind on the damn series. But when I was offered an ARC, how could I say no?

I'm glad I didn't. Over time, apparently, Berry has brought in younger blood to help carry the Magellan Billet's heavy load, as Malone begins to "age out" of the espionage game. "The Malta Exchange" is initially split into two sets of action : Cotton, working as a free lancer on assignment for M16 near Lake Como, Italy; the other is Luke Daniels tailing a cardinal of the Catholic Church on the island of Malta, off the coast of Sicily in the Mediterranean.

In typical espionage style, as the book progresses we find that the two plots have more in common than we initially thought, and our two protagonists are brought together for a final show down to save civilization, or at least to stop some idiots from being idiots. (Six of one, half dozen of another...) 

Like any books in this genre, you could always say there is a predictability to the work, in that you don't know all of the crucial information and there will inevitably be a big reveal at some point. I have to say, though, that I didn't see the biggest twist coming until only a chapter or two ahead of it. Even once I saw where we were headed, I was still just as invested in seeing how it played out.

I'm so glad I didn't let my lapse in the previous novels hold me back from this one because it really was enjoyable, and I always love Berry's mix of history- both modern and ancient- giving me a deeper view of the events being researched. (Possibly fake fun fact: Mussolini had satchels made out of elephant skin from one he had shot himself. I hope this isn't true, because being fascist is one thing, but killing elephants is a whole other level. [guys, I'm kidding! OBVIOUSLY fascism is just as deplorable as killing an elephant. I guess.])

If you're looking for a fun jaunt around the Italian peninsula and beyond, I highly recommend you grab this sucker when it hits shelves March 5th!

The Book
No Nobel prize nomination will be coming from this work, but the book is enjoyable and well organized. Just enough twisty turny to be fun, without going over board and making me give up on it. 

The Writing
Like I said--Berry really knows how to weave fact and fiction together. And when it comes to Maltese history, there is plenty to be woven with! 

Couldn't stop reading it! Fast paced, with the fun, snarky humor typical of Cotton Malone and his buddies. I needed to know how all of the pieces were going to come together. 
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I have been with Steve Berry from the start (The Amber Room) and his books are a big customer favorite.  I am happy to recommend this book to my customers who love Dan Brown, James Rollins, and Clive Cussler.  A great mystery with lots of historical facts thrown in for history buffs.
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First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Steve Berry, and St. Martin’s Press for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

Steve Berry returns with another Cotton Malone thriller, sure to impress series fans that those readers who love peeling back some of the mysteries history has left unsolved. Cotton Malone arrives on Malta with a mission to intercept a collection of letters that could ruin Britain if they see the light of day. These letters were written between Winston Churchill and Italian dictator Benito Mussolini during the Second World War, pertaining specifically to the possession of Malta. While this mission does not seem too difficult, there is more to the story than meets the eye, particularly as it relates to Malta. Long guarded by a security force, the Knights of Malta, the country has been the gem sought by many autocratic leaders, including both Mussolini and Napoleon Bonaparte. However, it is not simply the land they seek, but a secret that could change the face of world domination. This secret, Nostra Trifectà, holds information that many within the Vatican have long hoped would never be found, as its contents could change the Church forever. Vatican City is abuzz, with the death of the recent pope and a conclave about to begin. Over one hundred cardinals are making their way to cast ballots to elect a new leader for the world’s Catholics, but there is a twist. One contender seeks to use a great amount of information he has amassed to turn the tides in his favour, while using the secret enforcement arm of the Vatican to keep all hurdles out of his way. While Malone discovers what is going on, he is joined by others from his former employer, the Magellan Billet, to stop this and finally uncover the Nostra Trifectà. It will take more than brains and a little brawn to discover the secrets hidden in Malta and bring them to Vatican City before the doors of the Sistine Chapel are closed for the commencement of the Papal Conclave. Will this be one adventure through history’s lesser-known mysteries that even Cotton Malone will not solve? A highly captivating story that will hold the reader’s attention until the final pages, as they seek to decipher fact from fiction. Recommended for those who enjoy Steve Berry’s work, as well as the reader who finds solace in historical mysteries where much of the accepted truths are put to the test.

There’s nothing like a Steve Berry novel to get the brain working. He is able to pull on the lesser-known parts of major historical events, pulling the reader into the middle of an adventure, where there is much to learn. Berry’s protagonist, Cotton Malone, has been a wonderful staple throughout the series, moving from an active role as a Magellan Billet agent to a quiet bookseller with a passion for rare documents. While Berry does not offer a great deal of back story or development, Malone is effective in this book by showing his attention to detail when it comes to ciphers and hidden codes. Malone is able to lead his group through mysteries while always flexing his muscles when needed. Berry’s use of a number of secondary characters, both returning from the series and unique to this book, to help move things along, particular as it relates to those who serve as antagonists throughout. The story is interesting on multiple levels, as it tackles some of the events surrounding Mussolini’s fall from grace, the history of the island of Malta, as well as papal conclaves and the role the Catholic Church has long played in the world. Juggling these plots, Berry is able to advance many interesting historical possibilities, as well as injecting some history that may not be readily known to the reader. As with all of his novels, Berry embeds both fact and fiction within the narrative, leaving the reader to decide what to believe, at least until Berry sets the record straight at the end of the story. Tackling the power of the Catholic Church and how a collection of documents, Nostra Trifectà, could derail much of what is known or expected, as well as the power that the pope and his entourage. Set against the mysterious island of Malta, I was able to enjoy the second book in as many months on this island that lays between Italy and the African continent. I am eager to see what else Berry has in store for Malone and the other members of the Magellan Billet in the coming months. It’s always nice to see something that bears Steve Berry’s name, as the reader is guaranteed a jam-packed read.

Kudos, Mr. Berry, for another winner. I learn so much with you at the helm and your ability to tell stories is second to none.
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The pope has died unexpectedly, and preparations are underway for the conclave that will select his replacement. While most of the Cardinals are heading to Rome, one has left in a hurry, on his way to Malta to search for a historic document that he hopes will help him win the job. Meanwhile, Cotton Malone is searching for another set of historic documents that could re-write history, but someone else seems to be searching for the same thing. With Cotton, fellow Magellan Billet agent Luke Daniels, the Knights of Malta and an ancient sect called the Secreti all battling the clock, will the 'good guys' accomplish their goal before it's too late? 

Here we go again! This is probably my all-time favorite series, and I have always looked forward to reading about Cotton's latest adventure. I love the history we readers learn along the way, and I have always found it difficult to put these books down once the adventure kicks in. The problem is, it took longer than usual to get to the adventure part of this book, and even when it did, the history lesson rears its head again and we have to wait a few more pages to get back to the adventure. Maybe it's because I didn't know much about either the Catholic Church or the history of Malta before starting this book and had to pay closer attention to what I was reading so I knew what was going on, but the sheer volume of the historic background in this book seemed to weigh things down a bit. 

That said, I still really liked this book and the story it told. I missed a couple of the recurring characters from previous books in the series, but I'm sure they'll be back in the next book, and I can wait for that. I like that we're getting to know Luke better, and I enjoy his relationship with "Pappy," and how well they work together as a team. The motive behind everything was made clear early in the story, but the many plot twists kept me guessing as to who we could trust and who was really one of the good guys. I still haven't decided if I'm satisfied with the ending of the book, but I'm definitely looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
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Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an advanced copy, provided in exchange for my honest review.

I'm a huge fan of Steve Berry and his Cotton Malone series. It's in my top favorites. Sadly, to me, this entry fell short of Berry's usually high standards.

It wasn't the plot that fell short, as the plot was a really entertaining one. Papal conclave, secrets that could devastate the church, twisty betrayals and double agents... all check. Sadly, the big twist was predictable, and I saw it coming from the moment they introduced the second character involved.

Also, Berry usually excels at weaving the history lesson into the story in a way that doesn't feel like an infodump or a lecture, but in this one, it felt very "plot point/action moment, long history lesson, plot point, long history lesson, plot point, long history lesson"... just alternating between the two, rather than weaving them together.  

Cotton and Luke didn't feel as deeply developed as they usually do, Stephanie was barely in it, and Cassiopeia  wasn't in it at all.

It had its strong points as well, though. The history was fascinating. The locale and details of the church's history on the island of Malta was very interesting, and was definitely a cool concept for a book.

I just feel like, overall, it wasn't as cohesive or developed or well-woven as his books usually are, so I give it 3.5 stars, rounded up.
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Another great adventure from Steve Berry.  It does not disappoint.  A must read if you enjoy a thrilling ride and to lose yourself in an adventuresome journey.
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After taking a look back at Cotton Malone’s early career in The Bishop’s Pawn, Steve Berry returns to the present, where Cotton is retired from the Magellan Billet.  Retirement allows him to not only choose assignments with his former employer but also accept temporary assignments from other sources.  Hired by the British government, he travels to Lake Como to obtain letters from Churchill to Mussolini that could prove embarrassing if released..  After retrieving the letters he is attacked and they are stolen.  In an effort to track find them he is put in touch with Pollux Gallo, acting head of the Hospitallers, a division of the Knights of Malta, who gives Cotton access to their extensive collection of information on Mussolini.  His research leads him to Malta, where his path crosses with agent Luke Daniels.

Luke has been having problems of his own.  After the death of the pope, the cardinals are traveling to Rome to prepare for a conclave.  However, Cardinal Kastor Gallo, Pollux’s brother, has travelled to Malta.  Luke has been sent to follow Kastor and discover who he is meeting.  When Luke’s cover is blown he is forced to work with an agent from Malta intelligence who he does not entirely trust.  Kastor’s ambition is to be elected the next pope and he has obtained damaging information on several of the cardinals.  He is also searching for a document written by Constantine that could cause changes to the Catholic Church.  During Napoleon’s invasion of Malta, the document was hidden by the Knights but clues were left behind that Malone, Pollux and Kastor must work together to decipher in order to find the document before the conclave.

Berry’s love of history shines through his books and The Malta Exchange is no exception.  Constantine’s ideas of religion. Napoleon’s conquests and Mussolini’s fate all work together to set up a thriller that draws you in and holds you to the final confrontations.  From the ancient churches of Malta to the Vatican, it is a story of murder, betrayal and action that rivals the best of Dan Brown.  I have been a fan of Steve Berry since his first book, The Amber Room.  The Malta Exchange is a great addition to his list of bestsellers.

I would like to thank NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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There’s just something so easy about reading a book with characters you are very familiar with and you know exactly what you are getting into. I’ve been reading Berry’s Cotton Malone series for more than 7 years now and these spy thrillers/action adventure novels have become my comfort reads. So, when I got approved for this advance copy (which I wasn’t exactly expecting), I was so so happy I can’t describe the feeling. And the book definitely lived up to all my expectations.

Cotton and even Stephanie are well established characters and there’s hardly anything that they can do now that will surprise me. Cotton is resourceful and brave and despite being a retired spy and current rare bookseller, nothing ever keeps him away from a mission. I love how much he trusts his instincts and never takes anyone at their word unless he can prove it himself. The other thing I really liked in this book was that Luke is given an equally important part to play. His storyline happens parallel to that of Cotton and it gave me a good chance to get to know him better. He maybe young and slightly brash, always struggling to live up to the legend that is Cotton Malone, but he also respects the older man and is always remembering his mentor’s words while trying to get out of tricky situations. He also seems to get into such situations too easily but it was amusing to watch him figure his way out. I have a feeling that we might be seeing more of Luke in the upcoming books.

Though I really like the characters of the series, that’s not why I read a Steve Berry book – it’s for the extensive history lesson I know I am going to get. In this installment, we get to know more about the history of the Catholic Church – the role that Constantine played in cementing the church as a power player in the world, the Nicaen Creed, the evolution of the Hospitallers, Napoleon’s siege of Malta, the role of the popes during the rise of Fascism and Mussolini in Italy and so much more. Knights of Malta play an important role in this story and it was very interesting to know more about their history and also that they exist to this day, as one of the smallest sovereign nations in the world. The island of Malta is also described beautifully in detail and I couldn’t resist looking up google for the pictures. As always, Steve Berry succeeds in adding one more place to the list of unending places I would love to visit in my lifetime. 

The story takes place just a day before the Conclave is about to begin in the Vatican and that time constraint makes sure that the plot is very fast paced. We are also introduced to two new characters – twin brothers one of whom wants to be the next pope and is ready to resort to all sorts of cunning machinations to achieve his goal. I was very invested in the mystery right from the get go and did not see any of the twists coming, which was a pleasant surprise. The ending is not as explosive as I would have liked, but I also kinda saw it coming because it was happening at the Vatican. 

If you love Steve Berry and Cotton Malone, you already know that you are going to read this one and I assure you that it’s thrilling and interesting and a lot of fun. If you are new to the series, it might work as a standalone because the mystery and history elements are very fascinating and the author gives us just enough backstory to be able to understand where the characters come from, but I also feel you might miss the experience of actually getting to know them from the beginning.
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A really good book like a fascinating history lesson, this is the first Cotton Malone book I have ready but I can't wait to read more
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The pope has died and a disgraced cardinal exiled to Malta has a plan to get himself elected to the church's highest office. Luke Daniels has been dispatched to find out what the cardinal is up to. Meanwhile, the British are trying to procure long-lost correspondence between Churchill and Mussolini that controversially discusses the fate of Malta during WWII. Cotton Malone has been hired to get the letters.

Things quickly start to go wrong on both ends -- hidden documents resurface, secret organizations are vying for them, bodies are dropping, the papacy is hanging in the balance, and... well, it's Steve Berry and Cotton Malone doing what they do best, which is sure to be a nice treat for long time fans and a worthy adventure for new readers.

When Alfred Hitchcock coined the term McGuffin, what he had in mind was simply that thing the bad guys want so badly that they'll do bad things to get their hands on it. Hitchcock didn't believe the substance of the McGuffin was important as long as the audience believed it was important enough to the bad guys to commit further misdeeds.

What Hitchcock did not envision was that his classic double chase would become so conventional that audiences could spot it a mile away, knowing exactly how it would unfold -- the good guys had something the bad guys wanted, the authorities mistakenly pursued the good guys rather than the bad guys, so the good guys had to unmask the bad guys to exonerate themselves.

That familiarity caused a sea change in how these thrillers were crafted. The McGuffin became the main attraction rather than a mere distraction. Stories had to be crafted to create a fictional universe in which to expound on a specific subject. You didn't read The Da Vinci Code to see if Robert Langdon would evade Fache long enough to finger Silas and the Teacher (especially because you knew in advance that he would) -- no, you read it to see Langdon solve the puzzle that revealed the secrets of the Holy Grail.

Likewise in The Malta Exchange -- with several overlapping chases, never mind how Cotton and Luke untangle themselves from the Knights, the Secreti, the Entity, and various intelligence agencies, we want to know how they solve the puzzle they find in the obelisk and what secrets are so damning that the likes of the Pope, Napoleon, Mussolini, would go to such extreme lengths to possess them.

For Steve Berry, now 14 entries into his Cotton Malone series, in addition to a number of shorter stories, the McGuffin is the draw. He most often draws from enduring historical myths or mysteries, whether it be about Charlemagne, Alexander the Great, Queen Elizabeth, Lincoln, Jefferson, the Knights Templar, or in this case the Knights of Malta, with ramifications relevant to current affairs, whether it be the Middle East, energy resources, constitutional amendments, etc.

In the Malta Exchange, several historical myths and mysteries intersect. One rises to the fore, but all prove to be interesting -- I cannot say more for fear of spoilers. As usual, Berry explains afterwards what is based on fact, what is based on scholarly speculation, and what is pure invention on his part.

Plot and character are not abandoned -- the recurring characters are already well known, with the Luke Daniels character advancing more than anyone else, possibly being groomed to take over from the semi-retired Cotton Malone. The characters unique to this book are well drawn as well -- with such a familiar set of protagonists in an established formula, those story-specific characters alone can make or break it, and in this one they help make it.

The plot takes a satisfying twist about 75% the way through. Up to that point, it's paint by numbers for Berry, the action designed to set the stage for exposition of his historical McGuffins. This has been a problem for Berry in some of his more recent efforts because it has become so formulaic. The big reveal saves him this time around, being at once something one might have predicted but not obvious enough to be too predictable.

But as much as I liked it, I have to limit my enthusiasm to four stars. The primary McGuffin, the historical myth that ultimately proves to be Berry's central theme, is solved on the basis of pure invention rather than tangible historical evidence (even though its substance is historically accurate) and this territory has already been covered in another widely-read book that shall remain nameless for fear of spoiler. And it does take that big reveal to redeem the mechanics of the plot.

Still, I'm still hooked on Berry's work, having read all of his novels to date, and looking forward to more. Thanks to NetGalley for providing an advanced reading copy of The Malta Exchange.
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Another great chapter in the Malone series by Steve Berry. While all the previous novels have taken place in areas i knew something about,  Malta was a mystery to me. And by the end of the book, I had spent almost as much time reading as I had researching Malta and it's history. It really is a fascinating city and adds a ton of intrigue and excitement to the story. While I know it is controversial, I thought the "challenge" to the Catholic church made a very interesting story. I know most of Berry's books with Malone are based on conspiracy type theories, but I think by exploring those theories, adds a fun "what if" aspect that would otherwise be missed.

Thank you to Minotaur Books and Steve Berry for providing me with an advanced reading copy.
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Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing me with an ARC of Steve Berry’s newest thriller The Malta Exchange. In exchange for the ARC I offer my unbiased review.

Cotton Malone has long been a favorite character of mine and Steven Berry always knows how to grab a reader’s attention from page one. This story, set  in Malta is no different. Starting with a murder dating back to the end of WWII and then crisscrossing several decades and hundreds of years, the Malta Exchange kept me on the edge of my seat. Filled with fascinating world history and a crash course on religion & politics this book was a smart thrill ride with an epic secret. 

Any Berry fan will be overjoyed by this new release but even those unfamiliar with Cotton Malone will appreciate all the twists and turns this story contains.
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In the latest Cotton Malone book by Steve Berry, we learn that the pope is dead, and a conclave to select his replacement is about to start. Cardinals are arriving at the Vatican, but one is headed to Malta in search of a document dating back to the 4th century and Constantine the Great. Former Justice Department operative, Cotton Malone, is on the trail of letters between Winston Churchill and Benito Mussolini that disappeared in 1945. But someone else is after the same letters and, when Malone finds the letters but loses them, he becomes the focus of the Knights of Malta. 

The knights are a global humanitarian organization.  With the help of Magellan Billet agent Luke Daniels, Malone races a rogue cardinal, the knights, and the clock to find the lost letters with a key to a shocking piece of history. The final confrontation comes behind the walls of the Vatican where the election of the next pope hangs in the balance. This is a typically great Steve Berry novel and one that is a must read.
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