The first case of New York Times bestseller Steve Berry’s iconic hero, Cotton Malone.
History notes that the ugly feud between J. Edgar Hoover and Martin Luther King, Jr., marked by years of illegal surveillance and the accumulation of secret files, ended on April 4, 1968 when King was assassinated by James Earl Ray. But that may not have been the case.
Now, fifty years later, former Justice Department agent, Cotton Malone, must reckon with the truth of what really happened that fateful day in Memphis.
It all turns on an incident from eighteen years ago, when Malone, as a young Navy lawyer, is trying hard not to live up to his burgeoning reputation as a maverick. When Stephanie Nelle, a high-level Justice Department lawyer, enlists him to help with an investigation, he jumps at the opportunity. But he soon discovers that two opposing forces—the Justice Department and the FBI—are at war over a rare coin and a cadre of secret files containing explosive revelations about the King assassination, information that could ruin innocent lives and threaten the legacy of the civil rights movement’s greatest martyr.
Malone’s decision to see it through to the end —— from the raucous bars of Mexico, to the clear waters of the Dry Tortugas, and ultimately into the halls of power within Washington D.C. itself —— not only changes his own life, but the course of history.
Steve Berry always mines the lost riches of history —— in The Bishop's Pawn he imagines a gripping, provocative thriller about an American icon.
Bestseller Berry's 13th thriller featuring U.S. government operative Cotton Malone (after 2017's The Lost Order) is an effective conspiracy yarn centered on Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. In the present, Malone has a secret meeting in Atlanta with an unnamed man who sent him a note stating, "Fifty years have passed. Bring them." Flash back to 18 years earlier. Malone, a member of the JAG Corps, is recruited by the Justice Department's Stephanie Nelle to handle a special assignment to retrieve a waterproof case containing a stolen Double Eagle coin, worth millions, from a sunken boat off the south Florida coast. Malone makes the dive, only to find that he hadn't been told the truth; the case is also the target of some armed men and turns out to contain confidential documents relating to an FBI program connected with King's murder in Memphis in 1968. Berry makes Malone accessible to newcomers by presenting his numerous rookie mistakes as a field operative, but the anticlimactic reveal may disappoint some readers. 400,000-copy announced first printing.
Thrilling and Beguiling
I greatly enjoyed this book and its look back at Cotton Malone and at Dr. King’s struggle and legacy. Creative, respectful and with some excellent twists and turns.
The Bishop’s Pawn
Best in the Cotton Malone series. Great read.
Story drags on. Only interesting portion was last few chapters. Didn’t care for any of the characters much.