bookrev: The Alexandria Link by Steve Berry
I am anxiously awaiting the novel Unburning Alexandria, the sequel to The Plot to Save Socrates by my friend Paul Levinson. In addition to reacquainting myself with some ancient Middle Eastern history, I’m also reading some fiction, the latest in the form of The Alexandria Link by Steve Berry.
This novel featured two historical premises: what if ancient scholars saved and hid manuscripts from the Library at Alexandria? and what if some of those ancient manuscripts proved that the Jewish claim to the Holy Land, based on the Old Testament, had been re-written through time? While I enjoy the pacing of the novel (I’m a sucker for lots of short chapters) and I enjoy the premise of the novel, The Alexandria Link will go on my paperbackswap list as a non-keeper: too many elements that could be predicted, too many characters that appeared to be the same, and too many plot points that looked to be from other novels.
The protagonist, Cotton Malone, is a somewhat Americanized James Bond character, whose wife and son are quickly pulled into a plot to make him reveal “the Alexandria Link”, the one known man who knows where the hidden artifacts from the Library of Alexandria rest. The governments of American, Israel and Saudi Arabia are involved, as is a group of powerful rich folk known as The Order of the Golden Fleece. Conspiracies within conspiracies abound, until the only pure person is Cotton Malone (and his son) who will both obviously save the day.
The “quest” thrown before Cotton Malone to find the Library is very Dan Brown-esque, but simply too easy and too straightforward. He lets an obvious dangerous competitor accompany him on his quest for far too long before trying to put him down (the competitor, Sabre, had part of the quest, but was obviously out for himself).
The history pieces Mr. Berry, includes, both imagined and real, were enjoyable and were included within the flow of the plot.
I would recommend this as a lightweight summer read, but overall I wish my friend Paul would write, revise and publish quickly!