Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Charlemagne Pursuit

Whiplash. Steve Berry changes scenes so rapidly in his latest novel, The Charlemagne Pursuit, that I began to feel whiplashed. Berry reprises Cotton Malone for this tale, and follows a plot structure that he’s used before: bad guys go after Malone, he eludes them, and uses his powers of recollection and analysis to solve complicated historical puzzles. The brief chapters leave lots of cliffhangers. That also means that you can put this book down frequently and do something else, since no matter how thrilling the situation may be, you know it will change again quickly, and you can easily pick up where you left off. Berry excels at the depths to which he can exploit the behavior of schemers and the dysfunction of families. Whether the history bears any resemblance to facts matters little to most readers, so Berry grabs pieces of fact and lets his imagination soar, but always in short spurts. If you like rapid-fire scenes and history as it might have been, give The Charlemagne Pursuit a try.

Rating: Two-star (Mildly Recommended)

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