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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » The Alexandria Link: A Novel » User review

Not compelling, but certainly entertaining.

  • Aug 30, 2010
Rating:
+3
The world is a poorer place for the sad and never satisfactorily explained disappearance of the Ptolemy's amazing library at Alexandria. With the possible exception of the current collections of the Library of Congress or the Vatican, the Alexandria Library was probably the greatest accumulation of the world's knowledge in history. And it's all gone. But Steve Berry has cleverly parlayed that germ of an idea, the missing library, into "The Alexandria Link", an entertaining if somewhat overwrought geo-political potboiler. The scion of the Alexandria Library, a sadly reduced but still priceless collection of scrolls, papyri and documents rescued from the original library, hidden in the Sinai desert and carefully guarded by a small group of guardians and librarians for over two thousand years is the subject of a winner-take-all, no-holds-barred search by the American, Israeli and Saudi governments as well as a shadowy right wing cabal of the world's wealthiest industrialists known as The Order of the Golden Fleece.

Thrillers like this need their heroes and Steve Berry has chosen to give centre stage to two returning characters, Cotton Malone, recently retired from the US Department of Justice and his ex-wife, Pam Malone. Admittedly, the notion of the good guys chasing around the world getting ever closer to their goal by solving impossibly obtuse archeological puzzles is getting somewhat stale as the reading public has been inundated with an endless string of "Da Vinci Code" copy-cats! The jury was in and out of the room on any number of occasions as I read through book but ultimately the verdict is that Berry pulled it off ... but just barely!

The basic premise of the entire story was, to give full credit to Berry, quite ingenious and thought-provoking. The proof of an inaccurate translation of certain passages of the Old Testament from Old Hebrew through Greek and Latin to modern English rests in the Alexandria Library under the stewardship of The Guardians. If the accurate translation surfaces, the tensions between the Islamic, Jewish and Christian faiths would erupt in such a fashion as to possibly set a spark to a tinder pile that could well ignite World War III.

"The Alexandria Link", unfortunately, is a hit and miss affair that never rises to the level of a truly compelling page-turner but, when you get to the last page, I think most readers would agree that it qualifies as enjoyable reading. First prize for characterization goes to Danny Daniels, the president of the USA, who unabashedly styles himself as "the leader of the free world" and is eminently comfortable with the awesome power his position embodies. In spite of that he somehow remains a very human, compassionate and even humorous character.

Paul Weiss

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More The Alexandria Link: A Novel reviews
Quick Tip by . September 24, 2010
An interesting geo-political potboiler, based on the long lost Alexandria Library, in the style of Dan Brown's "Da Vinci Code". If certain documents are found and revealed, the tensions between Islam, Judaism and Christianity are likely to erupt into WW III. An enjoyable, if less than absolutely enthralling, thriller.
review by . February 28, 2007
This story is a pageturner which kept my attention from the opening page until the end. The single break with reality was the premise about Bible translation and the text used in this process. I don't want to say too much and spoil the plot. In this area Berry created something which is pure fantasy and it broke the reality of how I felt about the realistic nature of this story. When I reached these sections, I shrugged it and kept on reading. I recommend you do the same. It's a solid work.
review by . February 27, 2007
Steve Berry is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors in the thriller genre. His books are always fast-paced, and the plot just seems to rush along from the first page to the last. The characters are fairly well-defined, and even though some of them are from his last book, reading that one isn't necessary to enjoy this one. As usual the hero is intrepid, the villains are quite nasty, there are some gruesome deaths, and a rich travelogue of places in both Europe and the Middle East. There are …
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Paul Weiss ()
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   A modern day dilettante with widely varied eclectic interests. A dabbler in muchbut grandmaster of none - wilderness camping in all four seasons, hiking, canoeing, world travel,philately, … more
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At the start of bestseller Berry's second thriller to feature Cotton Malone (after The Templar Legacy), Malone, a former employee of the covert branch of the U.S. Justice Department, is trying to lead a secluded life as a bookseller in Copenhagen. Unsurprisingly, that hope is short-lived when his son is kidnapped and his ex-wife, Pam, asks for his help in rescuing the boy. The abductors intend to force Malone to reveal what he knows about the survival of the legendary lost library of Alexandria, which may hold ancient texts that could undermine Israel's claim to biblical legitimacy. Malone and his allies get mixed up in Washington intrigue and double-dealing as they try to identify the high-level traitor seeking to use the secret sources to change the dynamics of the Middle East. Characters implausibly leave enemies unsecured, placing themselves in unnecessary jeopardy, while the notion that the texts could have the desired effect may strike some readers as too far-fetched. Predictable plots twists (like the growing rapprochement between Malone and Pam) and superficial treatment of the issues between the Israelis and the Palestinians are further minuses.
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Details

ISBN-10: 0345485750
ISBN-13: 978-0345485755
Author: Steve Berry
Publisher: Ballantine Books

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