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Venetian Betrayal [Format Kindle]

Steve Berry

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Descriptions du produit


Copenhagen, Denmark
Saturday, April 18 , The Present
11:55 p.m.

The smell roused Cotton Malone to consciousness. Sharp, acrid, with a hint of sulfur. And something else. Sweet and sickening.

Like death.

He opened his eyes.

He lay prone on the floor, arms extended, palms to the hardwood, which he immediately noticed was sticky.

What happened?

He’d attended the April gathering of the Danish Antiquarian Booksellers Society a few blocks west of his bookshop, near the gaiety of Tivoli. He liked the monthly meetings and this one had been no exception. A few drinks, some friends, and lots of book chatter. Tomorrow morning he’d agreed to meet Cassiopeia Vitt. Her call yesterday to arrange the meeting had surprised him. He’d not heard from her since Christmas, when she’d spent a few days in Copenhagen. He’d been cruising back home on his bicycle, enjoying the comfortable spring night, when he’d decided to check out the unusual meeting location she’d chosen, the Museum of Greco-Roman Culture–a preparatory habit from his former profession. Cassiopeia rarely did anything on impulse, so a little advance preparation wasn’t a bad idea.

He’d found the address, which faced the Frederiksholms canal, and noticed a half-open door to the pitch-dark building–a door that should normally be closed and alarmed. He’d parked his bike. The least he could do was close the door and phone the police when he returned home.

But the last thing he remembered was grasping the doorknob.

He was now inside the museum.

In the ambient light that filtered in through two plate-glass windows, he saw a space decorated in typical Danish style–a sleek mixture of steel, wood, glass, and aluminum. The right side of his head throbbed and he caressed a tender knot.

He shook the fog from his brain and stood.

He’d visited this museum once and had been unimpressed with its collection of Greek and Roman artifacts. Just one of a hundred or more private collections throughout Copenhagen, their subject matter as varied as the city’s population.

He steadied himself against a glass display case. His fingertips again came away sticky and smelly, with the same nauseating odor.

He noticed that his shirt and trousers were damp, as was his hair, face, and arms. Whatever covered the museum’s interior coated him, too.

He stumbled toward the front entrance and tried the door. Locked. Double dead bolt. A key would be needed to open it from the inside.

He stared back into the interior. The ceiling soared thirty feet. A wood-and-chrome staircase led up to a second floor that dissolved into more darkness, the ground floor extending out beneath.

He found a light switch. Nothing. He lumbered over to a desk phone. No dial tone.

A noise disturbed the silence. Clicks and whines, like gears working. Coming from the second floor.
His training as a Justice Department agent cautioned him to keep quiet, but also urged him to investigate.

So he silently climbed the stairs.

The chrome banister was damp, as were each of the laminated risers. Fifteen steps up, more glass-and-chrome display cases dotted the hardwood floor. Marble reliefs and partial bronzes on pedestals loomed like ghosts. Movement caught his eye twenty feet away. An object rolling across the floor. Maybe two feet wide with rounded sides, pale in color, tight to the ground, like one of those robotic lawn mowers he’d once seen advertised. When a display case or statue was encountered, the thing stopped, retreated, then darted in a different direction. A nozzle extended from its top and every few seconds a burst of aerosol spewed out.

He stepped close.

All movement stopped. As if it sensed his presence. The nozzle swung to face him. A cloud of mist soaked his pants.

What was this?

The machine seemed to lose interest and scooted deeper into the darkness, more odorous mist expelling along the way. He stared down over the railing to the ground floor and spotted another of the contraptions parked beside a display case.

Nothing about this seemed good.

He needed to leave. The stench was beginning to turn his stomach.

The machine ceased its roaming and he heard a new sound.

Two years ago, before his divorce, his retirement from the government, and his abrupt move to Copenhagen, when he’d lived in Atlanta, he’d spent a few hundred dollars on a stainless-steel grill. The unit came with a red button that, when pumped, sparked a gas flame. He recalled the sound the igniter made with each pump of the button.

The same clicking he heard right now.

Sparks flashed.

The floor burst to life, first sun yellow, then burnt orange, finally settling on pale blue as flames radiated outward, consuming the hardwood. Flames simultaneously roared up the walls. The temperature rose swiftly and he raised an arm to shield his face. The ceiling joined the conflagration, and in less than fifteen seconds the second floor was totally ablaze.

Overhead sprinklers sprang to life.

He partially retreated down the staircase and waited for the fire to be doused.

But he noticed something.

The water simply aggravated the flames.

The machine that started the disaster suddenly disintegrated in a muted flash, flames rolling out in all directions, like waves searching for shore.

A fireball drifted to the ceiling and seemed to be welcomed by the spraying water. Steam thickened the air, not with smoke but with a chemical that made his head spin.

He leaped down the stairs two at a time. Another swoosh racked the second floor. Followed by two more. Glass shattered. Something crashed.

He darted to the front of the building.

The other gizmo that had sat dormant sprang to life and started skirting the ground-floor display cases.
More aerosol spewed into the scorching air.

He needed to get out. But the locked front door opened to the inside. Metal frame, thick wood. No way to kick it open. He watched as fire eased down the staircase, consuming each riser, like the devil descending to greet him. Even the chrome was being devoured with a vengeance.

His breaths became labored, thanks to the chemical fog and the rapidly vanishing oxygen. Surely someone would call the fire department, but they’d be no help to him. If a spark touched his soaked clothes . . .

The blaze found the bottom of the staircase.

Ten feet away.

From the Hardcover edition.

Revue de presse

'Pure intrigue. Pure fun.' (Clive Cussler on Steve Berry)

'A major twist... the puzzles are so much fun... radical thinking of the Gospels that's sure to spark some lively debate . . . pretty grabby stuff' (Wall Street Journal on THE TEMPLAR LEGACY)

'Complex and fast-moving thriller writing, delivered with a great deal of dash, and shades of The Da Vinci Code' (Good Book Guide on THE TEMPLAR LEGACY)

Sexy, illuminating . . . my kind of thriller. (Dan Brown on THE AMBER ROOM)

'Writes with the self-assured style of a veteran' (Dan Brown)

'Not to be missed. Anagrams and complicated symbology... a complex, well-written, and extremely readable story.' (Library Journal on THE TEMPLAR LEGACY)

Steve Berry is a writer on the rise. (David Morrell, author of NIGHTSCAPE and CREEPERS)

Conspiracies and plots abound . . . Berry handles his thriller tradecraft skilfully, [and] his descriptions are stellar. (Booklist on THE THIRD SECRET)

International intrigue, swashbuckling action, indestructible hero from the American South. . . . Not to be missed. (Kirkus Reviews, on THE ROMANOV PROPHECY)

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 620 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 497 pages
  • Editeur : Hodder (13 août 2009)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B002VHI8GI
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Non activé
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°128.905 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 3.9 étoiles sur 5  164 commentaires
18 internautes sur 19 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Another exciting adventure - Cotton Malone and Co! 20 décembre 2007
Par ellen - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
If you aren't familiar with a historical timeframe, by the end of a Steve Berry adventure you will feel you are an expert in the field...
Berry's current outing deals with Alexander the Great - who died in 323 BC literally the king of the world. We know he was mummified and eventually was entombed in Alexandria Egypt - but the tomb was destroyed and his remains disappeared -
Cotton Malone is in the middle of a raging fire - that's how we found him in the Alexandria Link - which was about the Library of Alexandria - in Alexandria which was named that in honor of Alexander, so we have some synchronicity there -
The fire isn't just any fire - it is Greek fire - which was lost when the great civilizations were lost - but someone's got the formula and is using it - trying to find medallions circa 323 BC - they show Alexander fighting in India -
Enter Irina Zovastina, a politician who has united a lot of the 'Stans' and has a plan to take over other countries with germ warfare - She also thinks of herself as a modern day Alexander the Great and is in a quest to find Alexander's tomb and the long lost remedy Alexander's physician had used to instantly cure him -
Clues remain to find the tomb - history tells us that -
Where Alexander went, what he admired - all clues - what you will find is Zovanista is no Alexander -
But you will find a book that solidifies in the last half to be a great adventure - As always, Berry gives you a what-if scenario -
But much thought went into this adventure -
Cotton Malone is an excellent character with excellent supporting characters - Total package is thoughtful research by Berry coordinating history with cloak and dagger - Every Berry offering gives you more than just a spy book - you get in and play with history -
Good read -
20 internautes sur 23 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Meh. Wait for the paperback. 1 janvier 2008
Par Stephen Fleming - Publié sur
I've read every book Steve Berry has published... so I know the guy can write. But not this time. I don't know if he was under pressure to make a deadline, or if he's just hoping to get Cotton Malone and Cassiopeia Witt optioned by Hollywood. The book suffers from just too much of a muchness... if one evil overlord's lair isn't enough, how about two? If one ancient secret hidden away for centuries isn't enough, how about three? If a double-cross or triple-crossing agent isn't enough, how about a quadruple-cross?

Throw in some boats and an orange dive watch, and this book could have been churned out by Clive Cussler. And that's not a compliment. "The Venetian Betrayal" would probably make a fun movie, but it's not a very satisfying book.

I hope that Berry chooses to give his Malone series a rest for a while and goes back to stand-alone books like "The Amber Room" and "The Romanov Prophecy."
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Good, but utterly confusing... 4 septembre 2010
Par Juli - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
If you're familiar with Steve Berry, you know that there's no way possible to read his novel and be bored. His books start moving, twisting and turning and just don't stop. In fact, in this book, one of the bad guys changes sides so many times; you're never really sure exactly where it all ends up... even when the book is finished and the problems & plotline solved.

The premise of this book is that Alexander the Great's tomb is within reach and the good guys are out to stop the bad guys from getting to the tomb and getting the goods to rule the world. Well, not exactly, just kill the world, but hey it's close enough in fictionland. The major evil-doer is obsessed with Alexander the Great, his mummy and the draught said to cure anything that ails the person who might drink it.

Cotton Malone is paired up with Cassiopeia Vitt to solve a world class problem. This time Cassiopeia has the complex problem and Malone is more or less pressed into service by his friend and mentor Thorvaldsen. The adventure starts in Copenhagen, but quickly runs to Venice and then to the Fictional Central Asian Federation (think Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kazakhstan) and a far western portion of China.

The twists and turns in this book are truly amazing. Seriously, following the plot line from one place to another is truly exhausting. Berry has out done himself; I think he's taken the running all over the planet to a whole new extreme. The great thing about this is that so much is going on; the reader can't possibly solve the riddle. The bad thing about this is that there's so much going on that the reader risks losing interest in the whole thing. I found, in several places, that I simply began not to care what was going on at all and just reading to get finished with the whole thing.

If you like novels with a bit of adventure, you'll like this book. Keep in mind, though, that it's long and it's action packed and you may find yourself wondering just what the heck is going on at more than one point in the escapade. I gave this book 3 stars, not because it's not good, but because there's just too much going on all the time.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 The Search for the Tomb of Alexander the Great 22 mars 2008
Par Timothy Haugh - Publié sur
After reaching a peak with The Templar Legacy, I thought Mr. Berry slipped a little with his last outing, The Alexandria Link. Fortunately, he seems back on the right track with The Venetian Betrayal. If this one doesn't quite live up to The Templar Legacy, it certainly was much more fun for me than the last one.

Back for his third outing is one of my favorite characters in thriller fiction, Cotton Malone, that spy-turned-bookseller-turned-reluctant-hero. This novel also sees the return of many of Mr. Berry's regular cast of characters, including some of my other favorites like Cassiopeia Vitt and Henrik Thorvaldsen. In fact, at this point, Mr. Berry is well into creating his own little alternate universe, peopling the White House and Vatican with his own characters and changing the geopolitical landscape to suit his needs.

For those of us that have followed Mr. Berry's progress, it works fairly well. Not that you have to read previous novels to enjoy this one but it doesn't hurt. What's new this time out is the Central Asian Federation, a new mega-state of former Soviet Republics like Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan ruled by an interesting new character, ruthless and intelligent, Irina Zovastina. It is her obsession with finding the tomb of Alexander the Great that drives the plot forward, taking us from Denmark to the borders of China.

Zovastina seeks the tomb for the political power associated with a claim on this world conqueror; however, there is another reason to seek the tomb. Apparently, there is a miraculous cure associated with the tomb which brings in the interest of an international pharmaceutical company (which also produces biological weapons). But I don't want to unravel too much of the plot. There are many layers here and Mr. Berry does a good job of keeping things moving with action, surprises, and double-crosses.

If there is a weakness in this book for me, it is that the topic just isn't as inherently interesting as the previous two. The missing tomb of Alexander just doesn't do as much for me as the missing treasure of the Templars or the missing library at Alexandria. But that is, in the end, a matter of personal taste. Mr. Berry handles this idea very well and develops a solid thriller from it. I'm already looking forward to the next one.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 What a mess... 1 octobre 2009
Par Ann Scott - Publié sur
Ah I really wanted to like this book but it was terrible. So bad in fact that I only made it half way through, it's a mess. The characters don't even begin to make sense...what is up with Zavastina...a really annoying character. I fear it's his idea of the strong female, she's just ridiculous. There's plagues (never clear if it's AIDS or AIDS & another plague), intricately carved discs, lesbian lover, chases all over the place, etc. Absolutely no cohesion whatsoever. By the middle of the book I started feeling angry that I spent money on it, the characters, the mash of huge themes. I cannot ever remember leaving one in the middle and being so utterly annoyed with it. I read Mr. Berry's Amber Room which was ok but that's it for me and Mr. Berry, I won't bother with any more of his books.
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