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The Alexandria Link
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Product Description

Cotton Malone retired from the high-risk world of elite operatives for the U.S. Justice Department to lead the low-key life of a rare-book dealer. But his quiet existence is shattered when he receives an anonymous e-mail: ※You have something I want. You*re the only person on earth who knows where to find it. Go get it. You have 72 hours. If I don*t hear from you, you will be childless.§ His horrified ex-wife confirms that the threat is real: Their teenage son has been kidnapped. When Malone*s Copenhagen bookshop is burned to the ground, it becomes brutally clear that those responsible will stop at nothing to get what they want. And what they want is nothing less than the lost Library of Alexandria.

A cradle of ideas每historical, philosophical, literary, scientific, and religious每the Library of Alexandria was unparalleled in the world. But fifteen hundred years ago, it vanished into the mists of myth and legend每its vast bounty of wisdom coveted ever since by scholars, fortune hunters, and those who believe its untold secrets hold the key to ultimate power.

Now a cartel of wealthy international moguls, bent on altering the course of history, is desperate to breach the library*s hallowed halls每and only Malone possesses the information they need to succeed. At stake is an explosive ancient document with the potential not only to change the destiny of the Middle East but to shake the world*s three major religions to their very foundations.

Pursued by a lethal mercenary, Malone crosses the globe in search of answers. His quest will lead him to England and Portugal, even to the highest levels of American government每and the shattering outcome, deep in the Sinai desert, will have worldwide repercussions.

From the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews:

  • Pretty typical, really
    This one contains all the cliches we've come to know of the modern best-selling thriller: Shadowy European secret society, lies the Church told us, crack-shot special forces guys, clues leading to globe-trekking, double-crosses galore, cliff-hanging short chapters, idiot dialogue.
    But that is all to be expected.

    (I'm not sure about the anti-semitic criticism mentioned by other readers. This book is certainly no friend of Israel - and the characters refer to "the Jews" quite a bit more than necessary - but the Europeans and the American government don't come off particularly well, either.)

    But what was most disturbing about the book was the Writer's Note where Berry feels the need to explain what was and what wasn't fiction. Right down to the fact that he's never jumped out of a C-130, but has talked to someone who has. That's weird, and not at all necessary. It's symptomatic of this recent disturbing trend for fiction to attempt to get close to nonfiction, but in a very shoddy and irresponsible way.

    In the end this book was only slightly more lame than I thought it was going to be. ...more info
  • I have not finished BUT............
    is it me or does this book have anti-Semitic overtones? I am one third through but the Israelis are not being portrayed as "legitimate". If this book is more of this I would rather put it down now. I have no patience for the arguments being made or sides being played....more info
  • fun adventure
    I read this book in one day. it was better than his other books as there wasnt as much shoot 'em up action scene after action scene. the plot is fun and moves fast. I ttuly enjoy his books but this one is the best so far....more info
  • Have you ever read the Talmud?
    The first blunder of this book is that you can't understand the Old Testament without reading the Talmud. Here SB went far away explaining that Noah sent two different birds to check if the deluge was finished. He told us that there are problems with the story of Abraham and his sons. He hadn't have to go that far, in the first page of Genesis, the first day of creation God made the light. In the third day He made the sun so:

    What's the difference between the light and the sun?

    If you want to know you have to read the Talmud because reading the Old Testament without reading the Talmud is reading only the odd pages of a book... if you do that you won't be able to understand the book because you'll be reading only half a book....more info
  • A bit preachy but still good
    I thought Berry was guilty of a wee bit of narrative intrusion, subtle but he still seemed to have an agenda. Don't want to give away too much.
    The writing is solid and fast-paced, but I'd like more facts and history.

    A similar genre that just came out has the history but keeps you on the edge of your seat. Give this one a try.
    Solomon's Key: The CODIS Project
    ISBN 95458573-66...more info
    Berry's other novels are a creative read but this book is reality masking as a novel. Oh the things that could happen if all truth were revealed. His "revelations" of governments, lies and intrigue make you want to live on the moon and get away from this world. It's scary, it's fascinating, it's possible....and Berry is a genius!...more info
  • Ecch!
    This is my first forey with Steve Berry ... will most likely be my last.
    Writes in a chopped, declaritive style like this. Bit disconcerting. Tries to emulate how people speak.

    Comments in other reviews about anti-semitism are true. He wants to be the center of controversy? He needs to learn how to plot a novel first.

    Book reads like bad Ludlum ... no, much worse ... bad Dan Brown (I can't think of anything even worse than that).

    Stay far away from this one....more info
  • Tangled Web of Power and Deceit
    Since the foundation of the state of Israel in 1948, the Middle East has been a hotbed of conflict. Jews, Muslims, and Christians all lay claim to the city of Jerusalem, and each side is convinced that the other two are wrong. Jews and Arabs in particular have waged a war that doesn't seem to be ending anytime soon.

    But what if the conflict were based on lies? And what if the truth was even more damaging?

    Cotton Malone is an agent retired from the Magellan Billet, an elite department of justice group within the US government. Five years ago, he was asked to guard George Haddad, a Palestinian the Israelis wanted dead. Malone is now running a bookshop in Copenhagen, but when his son Gary is kidnapped, he is thrust into a game of centuries-old secrets and cover-ups. Joined by his ex-wife Pam, the two begin on a quest to uncover the secrets Haddad was willing to die for. The end game? The ancient Library of Alexandria. History says it was destroyed in the seventh century. But what if history is wrong? What if the library survived? And what if it contained the answers to questions that could question everything the world has held as truth?

    In a mystery involving several world powers and a mysterious group called the Order of the Golden Fleece, "The Alexandria Link" posits this scenario as Berry weaves a tangled web of double-crossing and under-the-table dealings that addresses some interesting questions about the future of geopolitics in the Middle East and the validity of the world's three major religions. And the deeper the book goes, the more incredible the secrets become....more info
  • Berry makes an interesting link in this book
    This book was definately one of Steve Berry's better novels. It was fast-paced and exciting (I read it in one night because I couldn't put it down). I strongly encourage readers to pick up this book, as I believe it to have an interesting storyline that many will find quite intriguing....more info
  • Mecca, part of Jerusalem?
    Knowledge is power and the Alexandria Library contains centuries worth of documents, among which are maps, manuscripts, translations, that purport to show that parts of Saudi Arabia are really sites of ancient Jerusalem. This sets off a race between agents of the United States, Saudi Arabia and Israel to find the Library's location and the Librarian in charge. Double crosses turn out to be triple crosses plus some. ...more info
  • Malone apparently couldn't speak Latin either
    The book is entertaining, the story moves fast and everyone owns a gun. But if you are looking for a novel with some historical accuracy and perhaps a bit of political truth this is not a book to spend time on. Moreover, the author either assumes lack of education in his readership or he himself suffers from it ... Malone correctly translates "Custus rerum prudentia" and although his "Greek was good enough to know that the first word could also be read as "wisdom".", his Latin was so terrible that he did not know it was Latin he was reading and that the first word means guardian. Where do I get my money back?...more info
  • the Alexandria link by Steve Berry
    My son loves Steve Berry & the books he writes,and when he finishes reading the book,he shares it with me. It's great,because I enjoy reading his books as well....more info
  • The Alezandria Link
    Short and to the point. Written for a younger audience. Very shallow plot like an old serial....more info
  • Too bad it wasn't better....
    I'm always intrigued by Steve Berry's book titles; too bad he isn't a better writer.......more info
  • A Great Read
    A great read combining historical theories that are out there into a fast paced thriller. Reads something akin to the DaVinci Code. Read the book in two days. Berry's knowledge of biblical locations are woven into the fabric of the story. Loved it....more info
  • Very Readable Book!
    Cotton Malone has retired to Copenhagen to run his book store. He was a
    former Magellan Billet agent. This is the intelligence arm of the Justice
    Department. His former wife Pam shows up in Copenhagen to inform him that
    their son Gary has been kidnapped. He recieves an e-mail informing him that he has 72 hours to locate the Alexandria Library or his son will be killed. Immediately after that his bookstore is burned to the ground. A
    group of businessmen known as the order of the Golden Fleece is behind the
    kidnapping. They want the Library to draw questios about the validity of
    Israel. They plan to destabilize the Middle East with this information.
    The Order has an enforcement arm known as the Talons of the Eagle. This role is served by a mercenary named Dominick Sabre. Malone does battle with him. The order is directed by the Blue Chair which is occupied by
    Alfred Hermann. The forces of good are backed up by Henrik Thorvaldsen.
    The pursit of the Alexandria Library leads Cotton Malone and his exwife
    all over the globe. They travel to England,Portugal,into the United States government and finally to the Sinai desert. There is also a plot
    to take over the United States government. This is a fast paced book that you will enjoy....more info
  • Unreadable
    There is a type of book which I like to call an "Indiana Jones Book", or an "Airplane Book". A page turner - a book where one does not expect so much in the way of literary graces, as a good read, a book where one can suspend disbelief, and snuggle in for a good read. This is what I hade hoped for with Steve Berry's The Alexandria Link.

    Alas, no such thing was possible, and the book joins that happily small pile of books that are classified as simply unreadable. Whether it is headed for the local second-hand book store, where I can recoup some of the almost ten dollars it cost, or to the fireplace, if conscience gets the better of me and I decide not to inflict it on another innocent buyer, is an open question.

    It's not the plot - there seems to be a very good, Indiana Jones sort of adventure going here. The problem, at last as far as I got (50-odd pages) lies in the characters and the writing.

    To call the characters two-dimensional would be to exaggerate their complexity. Wooden is a word which comes to mind, along with the possibility of a related word, fossilized - though whether the characters are fossilized into a sort of museum-case of sub-literary mummies, or whether the reader's brain is in danger of fossilizing, may be open to debate. But these puppets are utterly predictable, except for the suspicion that they just might do something genuinely human, a suspicion which seems to be continually dashed.

    The language is equally distressing. grammar errors aside (no one cares about grammar these days, so why should we?), there two of the rules of good writing being betrayed here: that words should be appropriate to what they are supposed to convey, and that the author's job, like the mail, is to keep things moving and not distract us.

    Mark Twain once said that the difference between the right word and almost the right word is the difference between the lightning and lightning bug. We might add that the difference between almost the right word and the wrong word is like the difference between the lightning bug and something on the windshield of your car: it gets in the way, and it's deeply annoying. Such a word is "scamper". Can anyone attach any negative or even serious meaning to the word? Surely it implies fun, lightness, perhaps the children in their pajamas, scampering up the stairs to bed. And yet Mr. Berry twice in the first 50 pages uses it to describe the hero first fleeing across a bullet-laced courtyard from his rare-book shop which the bad guys have just blown up with rockets, and an equally dire situation where an associate has just been shot in cold blood in the castle at Elsinore, after which, we learn, "They scampered through more rooms." No pajamas of course, possibly because there's no time to put them on - but perhaps the're looking for a convenient bed where they can hide under the covers. (For those who can't wait to find out, they hide in an old wardrobe. No, not that wardrobe!)

    Unhappily, this kind of jarring misuse of words breaks the second rule mentioned above, and that is that a write must not distract the reader. The moment the reader stops to think ("No, he can't be saying "scamper"!), he will also stop to think about what he is reading - and while in some cases this may be just what the author intends, here the reader simply thinks, and what he thinks is what a silly book this is - and the spell, if spell there was, is broken.

    Great writers have a way of letting us feel, hear and smell the scenes they are painting. It is not a question of using words like that sound like the scene in question, or even words that describe the action, but rather putting the reader so much into the scene, that he smells and hears it. Kipling was a master at this: in Kim, for example, though you may never have been in a Madras bazaar or traveled the Great North Road, you are, simply there - not scampering around avoiding rockets, bullets, terrorists and squeeky wardrobe doors - but simply there. This is what an author ought to be doing. But it's not what Mr. Berry does, and every page, almost, contains some jarring infelicity that leaps out and catches the reader off guard, distracting him from the action while he tries to reason out why such a wrong word might have been used in the first place. Or perhaps it's just a way of distracting us from the one-dimensionality of the characters, whose goings-on and dialog would make a moderately competent comic-book writer blush.

    There is also the issue of historical authenticity. Please: 1848 Victorian society was not the least interested in turning a run-down Jacobean house into a museum, far less would Queen Victoria have been on hand to open it. The Victorians (who by the way appreciated both good writing and good history) were eagerly tearing down such antiquated piles and putting in something modern. Another of those moments when the mail simply doesn't arrive.

    We don't expect a page-turner to be a Literary Masterpiece. But we have every right to expect it to deliver a good story without scampering about opening impossible museums.
    Mr. Berry has some wonderful plot ideas. If he would learn to write, I'd be very happy to spend my next long flight or relaxed weekend with one of his books. But the one under consideration would drive me to watching the in-flight movie, or perhaps getting around to cleaning the kitchen shelves.

    ...more info
  • The Alexamdria Link
    The action was fast paced and good story. It was a little difficult to keep track of all the characters....more info
  • Links and Codes
    The Alexandria Link has much in common with Dan Brown's DaVinci Code, and that is not meant as a negative criticism. In both there is a search for a mysterious treasure by a male and female protagonist, who cleverly unravel the clues in many places as to where the prize is hidden. In both the protagonists are pursued by ruthless villains intent on stopping them before they reach the goal. The pace is non-stop in each book, and there are sufficient twists and turns to keep the reader attentive to the story flow. A refreshing new twist in the Link is to portray the goal as something to alter world politics, not the pious sentiments of a portion of one religion as in the Code. I was entertained by Berry's book, but I have a few serious doubts about the accuracy of his summary of the terrible flaws in Biblical translation (having had a thorough training in the field myself). These subtleties will not faze the general reader, although I find misinformation annoying wherever it poses as absolute truth (and the Code was full of such errors).
    Treasure hunts will probably always pique the interest of many, and the bigger the treasure the more exciting the hunt. But the theme is getting old, and I hope The Alexandria Link will conclude the current trend to exploit the idea.
    ...more info
  • Not compelling, but certainly entertaining.
    The world is a poorer place for the sad and never satisfactorily explained disappearance of the Ptolemy's amazing library at Alexandria. With the possible exception of the current collections of the Library of Congress or the Vatican, the Alexandria Library was probably the greatest accumulation of the world's knowledge in history. And it's all gone. But Steve Berry has cleverly parlayed that germ of an idea, the missing library, into "The Alexandria Link", an entertaining if somewhat overwrought geo-political potboiler. The scion of the Alexandria Library, a sadly reduced but still priceless collection of scrolls, papyri and documents rescued from the original library, hidden in the Sinai desert and carefully guarded by a small group of guardians and librarians for over two thousand years is the subject of a winner-take-all, no-holds-barred search by the American, Israeli and Saudi governments as well as a shadowy right wing cabal of the world's wealthiest industrialists known as The Order of the Golden Fleece.

    Thrillers like this need their heroes and Steve Berry has chosen to give centre stage to two returning characters, Cotton Malone, recently retired from the US Department of Justice and his ex-wife, Pam Malone. Admittedly, the notion of the good guys chasing around the world getting ever closer to their goal by solving impossibly obtuse archeological puzzles is getting somewhat stale as the reading public has been inundated with an endless string of "Da Vinci Code" copy-cats! The jury was in and out of the room on any number of occasions as I read through book but ultimately the verdict is that Berry pulled it off ... but just barely!

    The basic premise of the entire story was, to give full credit to Berry, quite ingenious and thought-provoking. The proof of an inaccurate translation of certain passages of the Old Testament from Old Hebrew through Greek and Latin to modern English rests in the Alexandria Library under the stewardship of The Guardians. If the accurate translation surfaces, the tensions between the Islamic, Jewish and Christian faiths would erupt in such a fashion as to possibly set a spark to a tinder pile that could well ignite World War III.

    "The Alexandria Link", unfortunately, is a hit and miss affair that never rises to the level of a truly compelling page-turner but, when you get to the last page, I think most readers would agree that it qualifies as enjoyable reading. First prize for characterization goes to Danny Daniels, the president of the USA, who unabashedly styles himself as "the leader of the free world" and is eminently comfortable with the awesome power his position embodies. In spite of that he somehow remains a very human, compassionate and even humorous character.

    Paul Weiss
    ...more info
  • A formulaic Thriller
    The Alexandria Link: A Novel
    Steve Barry's second story of ex-government operative Cotton Malone has he and his ex-wife in pursuit of multiple agencies interested in proving the Bible - both old and new testament - are false, or at least, falsely translated. Hello? If 100+ years of Darwin, modern geology, astronomy and even, at this point, simple history, doesn't prove the world is more than 6,000 years old and that it wasn't created in 6 days, than why would a reinterpretation of biblical scrolls hidden away in the lost Library of Alexandria shake the faithful? Well, to be fair, all of those things involve science, which to the fundamentalists, is just some alternate religion with its own arcane practices, like the "scientific method." Actually, this atheist was hoping the lost scrolls would be revealed, as the the story's antagonist wished, just so the Jews, Muslims and Christians could finally put all this nonsense behind them and get on with living reasonably. Even if one accepts the premise that the territory claimed by Israel is not the area promissed by God (and, for that matter, that there IS a God, and that the Old Testament in any way is His word), what's Israel going to do; call two-men-and-a-truck and move their state? And why is it that Thriller has become synonomous with Religously-inspired Thriller? Blame Da-Vinci Code, perhaps.

    OK, the good points are the book does move briskly, though it does seem the plot is drawn out a bit much - the Library shouldn't be THAT hard to find. The characters are believable for the Thriller genre, which means they are fully formed in the novel, but unlike anyone you are likely to ever meet or hear about in Real Life. Let's be fair; you're not likely to meet Harry Potter either, and that didn't stop millions of adoring fans from reading 7 books about him. The gun battles come a little too reliably every thirty pages or so, almost as if there's a quota to fill, but at least some people do get killed, which keeps the reader in suspense. The son, who is the kipnap victim in the beginning, is a bit colorlous, but he is a pawn in a much larger Chess game anyway, and a bit player. There are several twisty subplots going on at once and towards the end, Barry leaves the reader hanging a bit too often - there are some plot developments that take place for a paragraph or two, before we're catapaulted back to other characters' predicaments, and back again, and again and again. Readers are supposed to have higher attention spans than television viewers, yet I felt like I was watching an episode of Lost or Jericho, with its rapid scene shifts for jumpy audiences.
    I didn't read Barry's previous Cottom Malone book - The Venetian Betrayal - but The Alexandria Link stands on its own. You do sense there is a rich past to the protagonists, however, and perhaps it would make more sense to start from the first book in the series. In sum, a fine fast-moving thriller, but somewhat predictable and formulaic.
    ...more info
  • Horrible waste of time
    This book isn't worth the effort. I can't believe I actually finished it. It is full of complete historical inaccuracies and misrepresentations. I am glad I am not the only reviewer who detected an antisemitic undertone. Please avoid this book!...more info
  • reminds me of Da Vinci Code
    There are plenty of twists and turns in this book to keep you guessing whodunnit till the end. Obviously it's not a good reference of "real" history but who'd read a novel to be educated, anyway? In itself, it is a fun, entertaining read. Factually, well, obviously it manipulates the truth to make the story flow. If you suffer from a constant need to read only perfectly-correct history, this is not for you. If you can set aside all previous prejudices and just let the book play out, you'll find a good ride....more info
  • A Great Change of Pace
    This is another enjoyable read by Mr. Berry, whose books are always fun. I am an avid reader of modern literature. I usually spend my time reading Roth and McCarthy. Now, obviously Mr. Berry is no Cormac McCarthy or Philip Roth, but after reading American Pastoral and just before jumping into Blood Meridian, a person could use a little fun and excitement. It's a fun story, and I don't see the point in comparing it to something it is not....more info
    With The Alexandria Link, author Steve Berry takes us on a search for the legendary lost Library of Alexandria which was assumed to have been destroyed but has in fact been preserved by a group known as the Guardians. We ride along with retired U.S. government operative Cotton Malone as his quest takes him from damp streets of London to a chateau in Vienna, from historical locations in Lisbon and the United States to a desert in the Sinai as he hunts for the document which could reveal a secret from the distant past which, if disclosed, could jeopardize the security of our modern world.

    Berry has taken stories about actual historical characters like David Ben-Gurion, actual locations such as the Monastery of Santa Maria de Belem in Lisbon, old manuscripts, the works and conclusions of various scholars, the existence of an actual medieval society called The Order of the Golden Fleece, the fabricated correspondence between a couple of Saints and utilized these as the framework around which he has constructed of his story. For those readers who will immediately attempt to point out the historical discrepancies contained in this book, one needs to remember that The Alexandria Link is ultimately a work of the authors talent and imagination and this is why it is sold under the classification of fiction.

    The one factual thing the book does point out (either wittingly or unwittingly) is that through the ages, religion has been used to incite wars, create economic chaos, disrupt the harmony that could potentially exist between peoples and nations, and ultimately has been the tool employed to satisfy the political aspirations and objectives of various individuals and countries.

    As an entertaining distraction with which to satisfy your thirst for vicarious adventure, this book more than fills the bill.
    ...more info
  • A Mixed Bag
    Berry's storyline is fascinating. Imagine, the Israelites in ancient times had actually lived in Saudi Arabia. Fantasy? I doubt it. If scholars would take their blinders off, and really research they would find that the Bible is not as it appears to be. If interested, read the books by Ralph Ellis and Immanuel Velikovsky. Berry's characters are a bit trite and his characterization of Stephanie is ludicrous. With her emotions and judgments, she wouldn't last an hour in an agency such as Berry describes. Alas, the women got cut down again. Isn't it time to elevate women to their rightful places? I gave the book four stars because of the truth mixed with fiction....more info
  • Another historical mystery
    Actually 3 1/2 stars for another Berry historical mystery. A good tale but not up to Mr. Berry's standards. An interesting look at one of histories greatest mysteries: What happened to the Alexandria Library? Many have speculated, and many have examined the mystery in depth, but still no definitive explanations are accepted. Mr. Berry simply takes that mystery and makes an interesting story. I do not believe he has an ulterior motive as is speculated by some reviewers. He just uses the mystery as a backdrop to an interesting tale. That said, the novel does not live up to past Berry endeavors.
    The plot is interesting but becomes too convoluted at times to keep the reader's focus. In fact, by the mid point of the book there are actually 3 stories going on. Sadly, Mr. Berry is stretched to the breaking point to keep the 3 tales strong enough to carry the book's main thesis. Eventually the story breaks down due to shallowness. He simply needs another 200-300 pages to develop the depth needed to expand the other story lines to fully flesh out their impact. They are important but lack the fullness to completely work. Sometime less is more; that is the case here. More time on the Library and less on the political intrigue would have been better.
    Character development could have been better. So many characters and so many plots meant superficial development at best. This is one of the traps when a central character appears in several novels. How do you keep the main protagonist fresh? Tough, but great writers seem to find a way.
    No gratuitous violence, sex, or language.
    Mr. Berry is at the "tipping point" in his writing career. His genre of mining historical mysteries is one of my favorites, BUT, he is getting stale and needs to more fully investigate his subject. That can be daunting but his first books had the magic that kept the reader longing for more and coming back. He is beginning to slip and needs to return to the subject at hand.
    Recommend: OK, but there are other more interesting books out there. Wait for the "take along" paperback you can drop in your beach bag. ...more info