Thursday, 21 August 2008

Steve Berry – “The Venetian Betrayal”

Publ: 2007 978 0 340 93343 5
Rating: ****

A very good spy / adventure novel with a lot of information about Alexander the Great and Central Asia (a lot fictional but the appendix clarifies which is which). I also learned a fair bit about HIV and Aids. I do like novels with an educational content. Apart from feeling less guilty about reading for pleasure there is a randomness to education this way that makes it great fun.

In 323 B.C.E, having conquered Persia, Alexander the Great set his sights on Arabia, then suddenly succumbed to a strange fever. Locating his final resting place - unknown to this day - remains a tantalizing goal for both archaeologists and treasure hunters. Now the quest for this coveted prize is about to heat up. And Cotton Malone - former U.S. Justice Department agent turned rare-book dealer - will be drawn into an intense geopolitical chess game.

After narrowly escaping incineration in a devastating fire that consumes a Danish museum, Cotton learns from his friend, the beguiling adventurer Cassiopeia Vitt, that the blaze was neither an accident nor an isolated incident. As part of campaign of arson intended to mask a far more diabolical design, buildings across Europe are being devoured by infernos of unnatural strength.

And from the ashes of the U.S.S.R., a new nation has arisen: Former Soviet republics have consolidated into the Central Asian Federation. At its helm is Supreme Minister Irina Zovastina, a cunning despot with a talent for politics, a taste for blood sport, and the single-minded desire to surpass Alexander the Great as history's ultimate conqueror.

STEVE BERRY (born 1955) lives on the Georgia coast in Camden County. He's a lawyer who, for twenty-five years, has helped people both in and out of the courtroom. He's also active in local politics, having served on the Camden County Board of Education and, currently, he is one of five members of the Camden County Board of Commissioners.

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