The Emperor's Tomb by Steve Berry. Ballantine Books, 2010. (Published November 23)
The Emperor's Tomb is the sixth installment in Steve Berry's Cotton Malone series. Cotton Malone is a former U.S. Justice Department agent turned bookseller who frequently finds himself drawn back into his former life. This time the impetus is Cassiopeia Vitt, who has been kidnapped by unknown assailants. Malone quickly reacts to come to her aid and finds that the situation is far larger than Vitt's abduction. What starts out as a simple mission for Cassiopeia quickly finds them both in the middle of a conspiracy surrounding the balance of power in China.
Unlike most entries in the series, the prologue of The Emperor's Tomb does not take place in the distance past but three days after the beginning of this new adventure. This change has no bearing on the effectiveness of the story though. As Malone and Vitt work to understand what is happening and achieve several different goals, they are forced to put their trust in several untrustworthy characters. Will this be their undoing? You'll have to read to find out.
Berry is a master of weaving historical fact into his fiction, and The Emperor's Tomb is no exception. I highly recommend this book to any lover of mysteries and/or thrillers. You don't need to have read the earlier entries in the Cotton Malone series to follow this one, but they're so good, why wouldn't you?
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The Emperor's Tomb