The Jefferson Key-Steve Berry

The Jefferson Key

Steve Berry

Ballantine, May 17 2011, $26.00

ISBN: 9780345505514

Stephanie Nelle leaves a mysterious message for former Justice Department field operative Cotton Malone to meet her in New York immediately.  Not one to ignore a summons from his former boss, Malone and his beloved Cassiopeia Vitt shut down their Copenhagen book store to fly to the States.

In Manhattan, Malone observes an assassination attempt on President Danny Daniels, but intercedes this saving the life of POTUS.  However, the Secret Service assumes he is the assassin and attacks him.  He soon finds himself in further danger from the Commonwealth Society who has enforced Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution several times with four of them successful in 1865, 1881, 1901 and 1963.  Malone learns of a Jeffersonian cipher deployed by Jackson after a failed assault but unused since.  Meanwhile he and Vitt struggle to survive as Commonwealth Quartermaster Clifford Knox stalks them.  The fugitive pair finds historical evidence of the intent of the Founding Fathers in ratifying that particular clause as the runaways are considered the traitors and the Commonwealth has the highest law in the land behind them.

This is a brilliant exhilarating thriller that uses the Constitution and American history to frame a great tale that will have readers hooked throughout.  After spending time overseas (see The Paris Vendetta and The Emperor’s Tomb), Malone comes home only to be caught in the crosshairs of a secret powerful group applying Article 1 Section 8: “The Congress shall have the Power to … grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules on concerning Captures on Land and Water”.  Filled with stunning spins to American history, fast-paced from the opening 1835 Jackson assassination attempt to the final denouement, The Jefferson Key will be on the short list for best thriller of the year.

Harriet Klausner

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