Rating: 2.5 Water Towers
Steve Berry is a gifted author. His previous efforts were all four or five WaterTowers. Unfortunately, my expectations for The Alexandria Link were higher than what was delivered. This is the second installment with Cotton Malone as the hero (“The Templar Legacy” being the first). This book seems forced and formulaic with little suspense or surprise.
It was all I could do to keep the bookmark moving (as you know I sometimes stop reading a book and the bookmark sits at the page I stopped). The ending was only satisfying in that “The Alexandria Link” was finally over.
The book starts with the nonsensical kidnapping of Cotton’s young son, Gary, and the arrival Cotton’s ex-wife, Pam, (who he has not talked to in years) at the doorstep of his Copenhagen Bookstore. While meeting with her, and learning of the kidnapping, the store is destroyed after being fired upon by the same unknown assailants who kidnapped Gary. Cotton and Pam escape with their lives, as they were supposed to do.
The crux of the plot is that there is information in the long lost Alexandria Library that proves that the Bible is wrong and that the Jewish homeland is not where it is now. For this reason (I probably do not understand enough about religion or politics to understand the problem) Israel and Saudi Arabia do not want the Library found and will do anything to stop the Library’s continued existence from coming to lite. There is a secret organization seeking the information and playing that against both Israel and Saudi Arabia and, as it turns out, the U.S.
As the book progresses, we find out that only Cotton has information that can lead to the Library. The kidnapping, and destruction of his house and store, was supposed to give him incentive to lead the evil doers to the Library or at least the information…..how farfetched.
Cotton, who is retired from the State Department’s Magellan Billet but happens to still be in great fighting shape, quickly gets Gary back unharmed. Then he and Pam set out in earnest to uncover the information the organization needs. Unknown to them they are being manipulated by Dominick Sabre (aka Jimmy McCollum), who becomes their traveling partner. Sabre is the person who kidnapped Gary and who destroys Cotton residence and Bookstore.
As the chase continues, there are clues that seem hard but are super simple for Cotton to figure out. To make a long story short, these clues finally lead to the Library where the climactic battle takes place and the all too predictable happy ending is achieved.
To reiterate, I love Steve Berry and I will definitely read his next book. This one was ok (the bookmark did make it all the through), but, it is certainly not up to Steve Berry’s previous books.