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A Letter from Author Steve Berry
Cotton Malone is known for his overseas exploits. A former-Justice Department operative, who can't stay out of trouble, he's found adventures in all parts of Europe (The Templar Legacy,The Paris Vendetta), Central Asia (The Venetian Betrayal), Antarctica (The Charlemagne Pursuit), the Middle East (The Alexandria Link), and China (The Emperor's Tomb). But he's never had an American adventure.
Until now.

The Jefferson Key was great fun to research. My wife Elizabeth and I traveled to New York City; Washington, D.C.; Bath, North Carolina; Monticello; and Richmond, Virginia. Monticello was particularly interesting since the terrific novelist, Katherine Neville--author of The Eight and The Fire--played host. Katherine serves on the estate's board of directors and she led us on a behind-the-scenes tour that helped formulate a number of scenes that would later appear in the book. We spent a wonderful day there, wandering the halls and staircases, snapping pictures, checking out every nook and cranny. In Richmond, we stayed at The Jefferson, a grand hotel that also makes an appearance in the story.

Bath, North Carolina was similarly intriguing. Three hundred years ago, Bath was a hotbed for Atlantic pirates, a bustling port and a ship building center. Its location, on a quiet inlet of the Pamlico River, not far from open ocean, made it ideal for both. And though it's now a sleepy village of about 300 residents, delving into its colonial and pre-colonial past was exciting. After all, pirates are fascinating--but they don't match the Hollywood stereotype. The real thing is even better, and The Jefferson Key deals with the real thing.

The research for this novel spanned 18 months, which is normal for my books. Along the way, we uncovered a secret cipher originally possessed by Thomas Jefferson; concocted a mystery for Andrew Jackson; and created a centuries-old document envisioned by the Founding Fathers themselves. It was fun exploring American history, especially the Constitution, which forms a huge part of this plot. With every book there's a challenge to describe the story in as few words as possible. For this one, we came up with this: Four United States presidents have been assassinated--in 1865, 1881, 1901, and 1963--each murder seemingly unrelated. But what if those presidents were all killed for the same reason--a clause in the United States Constitution, contained within Article 1, Section 8--that would shock Americans.

Got you interested?
I hope so.
Enjoy The Jefferson Key.

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Details

ISBN-10:  0345505514
ISBN-13:  978-0345505514
Author:  Steve Berry
Genre:  Literature & Fiction
Publisher:  Ballantine Books
Date Published:  May 17, 2011
Format:  hard cover
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review by . July 22, 2011
Steve Berry's novel, "The Jefferson Key,' mixes history with fiction to produce a story that is both interesting and intriguing.      Cotton Malone, a former Justice Dept. operative, is summoned to New York only to be caught up in an attempt on the President's life. He manages to stop the assassination and realizes that if it had succeeded, he had been set up to take the blame.      The story begins with an attempt on Andrew Jackson's …
review by . May 09, 2011
Readers of Steve Berry's books always expect that Cotton Malone will be traipsing around the world to spots both popular and obscure in his quest to solve the latest mystery. It's a shock, then, when the reader realizes that, in this book, all of the action takes place either in the U.S. or Canada. Quite a departure from routine!      The plot begins with an assassination attempt on the President which is thwarted by Malone, and then we learn of a group of families that …
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The Jefferson Key: A Novel (Cotton Malone)
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