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Publisher's Summary

Four United States presidents have been assassinated - in 1865, 1881, 1901, and 1963 - each murder seemingly unrelated and separated by time.

But what if those presidents were all killed for the same reason: a clause in the United States Constitution - contained within Article 1, Section 8 - that would shock Americans?

This question is what faces former Justice Department operative Cotton Malone in his latest adventure. When a bold assassination attempt is made against President Danny Daniels in the heart of Manhattan, Malone risks his life to foil the killing—only to find himself at dangerous odds with the Commonwealth, a secret society of pirates first assembled during the American Revolution. In their most perilous exploit yet, Malone and Cassiopeia Vitt race across the nation and take to the high seas. Along the way they break a secret cipher originally possessed by Thomas Jefferson, unravel a mystery concocted by Andrew Jackson, and unearth a centuries-old document forged by the Founding Fathers themselves, one powerful enough - thanks to that clause in the Constitution - to make the Commonwealth unstoppable.

©2011 Steve Berry (P)2011 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“One of the most spellbinding and ingenious openings in all of thrillerdom. The cast of characters is huge but every one of them is memorable. The action is intense and masterfully choreographed. As always with Steve Berry, you’re educated about significant things while your knuckles are turning white and the pages are flying. Easily Cotton Malone’s most epic, swashbuckling adventure.” (David Baldacci)
"The Constitution. . . secret codes . . . loads of history. . . AND pirates! What else does anyone need? The Jefferson Key won't just haunt your nights - it'll haunt your life. Cotton Malone is coming back to the scariest place of all: Home." (Brad Meltzer)
" The Jefferson Key starts with a bang and holds the reader in its grip until the last page. Fascinating American history, up-to-the-minute politics, pulse-pounding action. This is a story Mitch Rapp would love." (Vince Flynn)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    634
  • 4 Stars
    587
  • 3 Stars
    301
  • 2 Stars
    105
  • 1 Stars
    63

Performance

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    606
  • 4 Stars
    398
  • 3 Stars
    139
  • 2 Stars
    28
  • 1 Stars
    14

Story

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    507
  • 4 Stars
    411
  • 3 Stars
    178
  • 2 Stars
    63
  • 1 Stars
    23
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • brian
  • Austin, Tx
  • 08-02-11

Snoozer

Couldn't even get to the 2nd file. In addition to being just not very interesting this thing jumped around so much I couldn't tell who the characters were.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

BORING!!! DID NOT HOLD MY ATTENTION.

When you are listening to a great book, you know how you want everyone to be quiet and you attempt to remove any and all distractions around you so you will not miss one single detail???...This book is NOT that good! I found myself constantly day dreaming and realizing I forgot to pause the book when something would distract me. Maybe its because this is my first encounter with Cotton Malone, but his character in this book was not interesting at all...or any of the other characters for that matter. Some of the historical info about privateers and ties to our country's early political endeavors was interesting, but not enough to get you through the convoluted story line...use your credits to get The Schumann Frequency and The First Boxer by Chris Ride...thats how to tell a historically based story! It might be better for someone from a political family or a broader understanding of politics than I.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

THE JEFFERSON KEY: A NOVEL

THIS IS A FINE MYSTERY AS ALL OF STEVE BERRY'S STORIES ARE. MR. BERRY DOES NEED TO GET SOME ADVICE ON FIREARMS THOUGH. A GOOD CONSULTANT MIGHT BE IN ORDER FOR WRITING ABOUT THE USE OF FIREARMS. BEING A "GUN GUY", I NOTICED A FEW ERRORS IN THE NARRATIVE. REVOLVERS ARE SELDOM USED FOR CLANDESTINE OPERATIONS AS A SOUND SUPRESSED HANDGUN BECAUSE OF THE BARRELL/CYLINDER GAP. THEY ALSO ARE USUALLY LIMITED TO FEWER CARTRIDGES THAN MOST SEMI-AUTOMATICS. MANY TIMES IN THE ACTION SCENES THE NARRATOR REFERS TO THE SOUND MADE BY A FIREARM AS A "RETORT". IT SHOULD BE "REPORT". A RETORT IS A SNAPPY COME BACK, OR A PIECE OF LABRATORY HARDWARE. THE ONE THAT MADE ME LAUGH OUT LOUD THOUGH, WAS IN THE SCENE AT MRS. KAISER'S HOME. PARAPHRAISING - "JESSICA HAD BOTH HANDS ON THE TRIGGER" WHAT HE REALLY MEANT WAS THAT SHE WAS HOLDING THE WEAPON IN A TWO HANDED GRIP, WITH HER FINGER STILL ON THE TRIGGER. IF NOVELISTS ARE GOING TO WRITE ABOUT GUNFIGHTS, THEY SHOULD LEARN SOMETHING ABOUT WHAT THAT REALLY ENTAILS. I WAS IMPRESSED THOUGH, THAT MR. BERRY DID NOT REFER TO MAGAZINES AS "CLIPS" I SALUTE YOU FOR THAT. I REALLY ENJOYED THE NOVEL, GREAT IMAGINATION EVIDENT THERE!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Saved by Scott Brick ( Sort of!)

I could listen to Scott Brick read the local phone directory. Unfortunately, that is about how interesting I found this book. In spite of dashing back and forth between locations and characters, the author failed to arouse any suspense or excitement in me. I generally knew what was going to happen next and simply waited for the inevitable. The characters were one dimensional and I really didn't care what happened to them.The plot was tiresome and I am sorry I wasted a credit.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

don't waste your money

This is a poorly crafted, confusing story with such poor character development that at the end I really didn't care about any of them. To top it off, the narrator is not my favorite. Sorry but this will be my last purchase from this author and I will think twice about this narrator.

8 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Michael
  • Woodstock, IL, United States
  • 05-27-11

Not a spellbinder

It was very predictable if you have read a Cotton Malone. Passed my time but didnt hold my interest

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Don
  • LELAND, NC, United States
  • 05-06-12

My entry point to a Great series

I had never heard for Steve Berry until I found this book, so I took a chance. It was a good decision as it just what I had hoped. This is a "National Treasure" type of read with just enough fact to make it believable mated with enough fiction to make it entertaining. After this book I when back and found all the others in the Cotton Malone series, enjoying every one. The characters grow in each book, which I like. My only issue is now I've read them all and have to wait on the next book to be released, but I'm sure it will be worth the wait.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Perry
  • pascagoula, FL, United States
  • 07-13-11

Worse book audible has ever recorded

This book is so fragmented that is impossible to follow.Steve Berry continues to jump his characters
around to the point being agitating to the reader.As in all his books ,you never know whats going on till the end but this is the worst.I could not finish it.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Felix
  • West Palm Beach, FL, United States
  • 06-29-11

Boooooring!

I try not to pay any attention to reviews unless there are just too many bad ones. When I downloaded this book there were no reviews, and I've enjoyed the other Cotton Malone books. This was absolutely the most boring book I've listened to. I didn't even finish it. I just couldn't bare it any longer. I spent days trying to convince myself that it would get better, re-listening to the same parts of the book because I found mysefl wondering away from it time and time again. Scott Brick is my favorite narrator of all time...and I've been listening to audio books on my long drive to work for almost 10 years. Don't waste your credit, your money or anything else on this one. It was an interesting idea for a story, but Steve Berry just bored me with this thing. Don't even know how it ends, and don't even care

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Not his best story

I am a Cotton Malone fan and was looking forward to this book. It had all the makings of an excellent read - a story that ties in all the assassinations of US Presidents in history; pirates, and political rivalries between government intelligence agencies. However, somewhere in the execution the story became bogged down in affairs between secondary characters, frantic jumping from one story line to another. It was also one of those stories like the old James Bond stories where the villain would rig up some elaborate trap or machine to kill Bond rather than just shoot him...in this book, only secondary characters get shot or killed directly - all the main characters escape again and again.

Also we are led to believe that there are shootings from North Carolina to DC to Nova Scotia that doesn't seem to attract anyone's attention...the characters occasionally mention news coverage, but it never comes into play. Private sailing vessels are also blown out of the water by military helicopters without any apparent reperussions.

The book even starts a bit oddly..Cotton gets drawn into the story because of a forged email from a government agent, Stephanie Nell that requests his help. I thought it odd that you can get a super agent to fly across the ocean on a moments notice if you just happen to have his email address...no verification?

Berry spends some time at the end of the book separating fact from fiction. His depiction of pirates is apparently accurate, but he certainly chose the most cruel aspects of their history to present.

I know this review sounds negative, but these are the reasons I didn't give it the 4 or 5 stars I have given to all of the other Berry books I have read. It is worth a read, but you might have to suspend your expectations a bit...

2 of 3 people found this review helpful