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"Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success." Herman Cain

  • Jul 22, 2011
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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 life after he informed a group of pirates, or privateers, that their services were no longer desired by the United States. He removes the group's letter of marque and establishes a code which would enable the group to remove the President's condemnation of their acts.

Jonathan Wyatt, a rogue agent, has a grudge against Cotton Malone and tries to implicate him in the actions against the President.

The society of privateers, known as The Commonwealth, are led by Quinten Hale. They steal from enemies of the United States and sell their goods on the black market.

There is plenty of action and political maneuvering with characters that are so real that they could be drawn from the front pages of the daily newspaper.

The plot is somewhat like "The Da Vinci Code," in that there is a race to see who would solve the mystery of where the code is hidden and the ability to solve it.

Steve Berry is at the height of his powers as a writer of political fiction and this novel demonstrates a new vision of history that is fascinating.

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More The Jefferson Key: A Novel (Co... reviews
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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Mike Draper ()
Ranked #54
Michael A.Draper retired from working as a financial planner with Mass Mutual.   Married to Diana for 48 years, one son and daughter-in-law and two lovely granddaughters.      … more
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About this book


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...

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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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