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Publisher's Summary

As a child, former Justice Department agent Cotton Malone was told that his father died in a submarine disaster in the North Atlantic. But now he wants the full story. He asks his ex-boss, Stephanie Nelle, to secure the military files. What he learns stuns him: His father's sub was a secret nuclear vessel lost on a highly classified mission beneath the ice shelves of Antarctica. But Malone isn't the only one after the truth.

Twin sisters Dorothea Lindauer and Christl Falk are fighting for the fortune their mother has promised to whichever of them discovers what really became of their father, who died on the same submarine that Malone's father captained. The sisters know something Malone doesn't: Inspired by strange clues discovered in Charlemagne's tomb, the Nazis explored Antarctica before the Americans, as long ago as 1938.

Now Malone discovers that cryptic journals penned in the language of heaven; inscrutable conundrums posed by an ancient historian, and the ill-fated voyage of his father are all tied to a revelation of immense consequence for humankind.

In an effort to ensure that this explosive information never rises to the surface, Langford Ramsey, an ambitious navy admiral, has begun a brutal game of treachery, blackmail, and assassination.

As Malone embarks on a dangerous quest with the sisters, one that leads them from an ancient German cathedral to a snowy French citadel to the unforgiving ice of Antarctica, he will finally confront the shocking truth of his father's death and the distinct possibility of his own.

©2008 Steve Berry (P)2008 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Those who relish suspense in the Da Vinci Code vein will snap this one up, the best yet in the series." ( Publishers Weekly)"Berry outdoes himself in his latest Cotton Malone adventure....Mixed in with the complicated action, Berry finds the time to explore the characters as well, making this his most personal and best book to date." ( Library Journal)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • Matthew
  • SEATTLE, WA, United States
  • 12-23-09

Another classic Steve Berry complexity

Berry's novels are generally complex and follow a predictable, yet enjoyable, roadmap. This is no exception, with well researched characters and plot line.

Highly recommended and, of course, the narration is outstanding.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Another great history/mystery/action Berry Novel

Steve Berry's ability to weave genujine mysteries of history into a tale of intrigue, suspense and action is well displayed in this latest novel. Cotton Malone, ex government operative turned book seller, is back and uses his physical training, eidetic memory and skills to solve the riddle of his father's death. His pursuit of this information involves Naval Intelligence, ancient civilizations, Nazi Germany's interest in antartica, and a domineering German matriarch who manipulates the people around her in way that leads to many deaths. There is also a large number or murders in this story...the murders are in Europe, the US and antartica - no one seems safe from the killers in this story. Also, the President of the United States involves his top national security advisors in completely illegal activities to undercover political plots that happen to interset with Cotton's quest..

The book starts a bit weakly as it was clear to me why and how mysteriies around the reign of Charlemagne would have anything to do with the death of Cottons' father...they seem to be just trying to solve the mystery without any idea of what the answer to the riddle would supply. However, the different threads of the story eventually tie together - although it requires a good healthy suspension of belief.

At the end of the book the author tells what's true and what isn't true about the story. As always, much of the interesting historical facts that are used are real...this makes the reading particularly enjoyable as Berry concocts his own story around these mysteries....makes you want to travel to the places in the book to see for yourself.

I thought, overall, this was the best Berry novel yet.

The only negative comment I have is that the reader's rendition of the German accent for the matriarch reminded me of Cloris Leachman's rule in Young Frankenstein...

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

fun series good mix of history and thriller

fun series good mix of history and thriller. Interesting theories of historical events and their relation to today

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Not as good as Templar

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Too long by at least 20%. Could have used a good editor to tighten the dialog and kill a few characters. The premise was fascinating but by the fourth section, it had become redundant, difficult to keep track of the numerous (too many) characters. Unlike the other "Berry" novels that preceded this one, the mystery wasn't, the killings formulaic, and the women, dreadful..

If you’ve listened to books by Steve Berry before, how does this one compare?

Not as good as others.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

The reader was strangled by an unwieldy, text. Maybe Berry could have saved the nasty Admiral or the boring hired gun for another book.

Could you see The Charlemagne Pursuit being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

Maybe half of it, but not the entire book -- too many strings and not enough brass.

I don't go to movies so I haven't a clue. I do understand theater, how ever, and this book, for the most part, missed the boat.

Any additional comments?

Other books by the author attest to his skill. This work did not benefit from his obvious talent.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Michael
  • silkstone, Australia
  • 09-30-10


Fast-paced, super intrigue, action and suspense, with great twists. Very addictive. Berry is a superb author and every Scott Brick narrated novel reigtns supreme.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Leroy
  • Las Vegas, NV, USA
  • 08-03-09

love the book, hate the reader

I have read and love all of Steve Berry's books. This is the first on I have listened to on CD and while I like the book I find the voice and enunciation of the reader so unpleasant that I could not listen to the second part of the book.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Bob
  • North Lauderdale, FL, United States
  • 12-28-08

His best Yet

If you like suspense in the form of "The DiVinci Code", you'll love this one. Cotton Malone has his hands full but is very cool through the whole book. It is a real page turner and full of twists and turns. I HIGHLY recommend it!

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Stevon
  • Tempe, AZ, United States
  • 03-16-09

another good Berry

I enjoyed this book although it didn't grip me the way The Romanov Prophecy or The Templar Legacy did. But, still the auther weaves a good take, throws in some historical perspective, and make it an interesting story. If you've enjoyed his other books you'll enjoy this one as well.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Phil
  • Lake Jackson, TX, USA
  • 02-15-09

A very good tale

Simultaneous story lines, nobody does it better than Scott Brick. Steve Berry has written another winner, entertaining all the way though.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Intriguing historical elements

Another fun Cotton Malone ride through the ages. Not my favorite narrator, and the story lacks a bit in world threat, but I enjoyed the history lesson and possibilities.

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  • Overall
  • Bushcraft For Kids
  • 12-23-12

great book

This is a great book. I couldn't put it down. Well really stop listening. Well worth purchasing.

  • Overall
  • Alexandra
  • 07-30-10

Cotton just get better and better

Steve Berry dos it again, his writing is compelling, exciting and it's hard to stop listning, I just wanne hear more and more.

Mr. Berry have the listner in the palm of his hand from the beginning to the end and Scott Brick delivers a superb narrating - THANK YOU :-D