9780345505477

The Paris Vendetta

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780345505477

  • ISBN10:

    0345505476

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 12/1/2009
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books

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Summary

When Napoleon Bonaparte died in exile in 1821, he took to the grave a powerful secret. As general and emperor, he had stolen immeasurable riches from palaces, national treasuries, and even the Knights of Malta and the Vatican. In his final days, his British captors hoped to learn where the loot lay hidden. But he told them nothing, and in his will he made no mention of the treasure. Or did he? Former Justice Department operative Cotton Malone isn't looking for trouble when it comes knocking at his Copenhagen bookshop. Actually, it breaks and enters in the form of an American Secret Service agent with a pair of assassins on his heels. Malone has his doubts about the anxious young man, but narrowly surviving a ferocious firefight convinces him to follow his unexpected new ally. Their first stop is the secluded estate of Malone's good friend, Henrik Thorvaldsen. The wily Danish tycoon has uncovered the insidious plans of the Paris Club, a cabal of multimillionaires bent on manipulating the global economy. Only by matching wits with a terrorist-for-hire, foiling a catastrophic attack, and plunging into a desperate hunt for Napoleon's legendary lost treasure can Malone hope to avert international financial anarchy. But Thorvaldsen's real objective is much more personal: to avenge the murder of his son by the larcenous aristocrat at the heart of the conspiracy. Thorvaldsen's vendetta places Malone in an impossible quandary-one that forces him to choose between friend and country, past and present. Starting in Denmark, moving to England, and ending up in the storied streets and cathedrals of Paris, Malone plays a breathless game of duplicity and death, all to claim a prize of untold value. But at what cost? From the Hardcover edition.

Author Biography

Steve Berry is the New York Times bestselling author of The Charlemagne Pursuit, The Venetian Betrayal, The Alexandria Link, The Templar Legacy, The Third Secret, The Romanov Prophecy, and The Amber Room. His books have been translated into 37 languages and sold in 50 countries. He lives on the Georgia coast and is currently at work on his next novel. He and his wife, Elizabeth, have founded History Matters, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving our heritage.

Excerpts

Chapter One
 
 
copenhagen
 
sunday, december 23, the present
12:40 am
 
The bullet tore into Cotton Malone’s left shoulder.
 
He fought to ignore the pain and focused on the plaza. People rushed in all directions. Horns blared. Tires squealed. Marines guarding the nearby American embassy reacted to the chaos, but were too far away to help. Bodies were strewn about. How many? Eight? Ten? No. More. A young man and woman lay at contorted angles on a nearby patch of oily asphalt, the man’s eyes frozen open, alight with shock—the woman, facedown, gushing blood. Malone had spotted two gunmen and immediately shot them both, but never saw the third, who’d clipped him with a single round and was now trying to flee, using panicked bystanders for cover.
 
Dammit, the wound hurt. Fear struck his face like a wave of fire. His legs went limp as he fought to raise his right arm. The Beretta seemed to weigh tons, not ounces.
 .

Pain jarred his senses. He sucked deep breaths of sulfur-laced air and finally forced his finger to work the trigger, which only squeaked, and did not fire.
 
Strange.
 
More squeaks could be heard as he tried to fire again.
 
Then the world dissolved to black.
 
Malone awoke, cleared the dream from his mind—one that had recurred many times over the past two years—and studied the bedside clock.
 
12:43 am.
 
He was lying atop the bed in his apartment, the nightstand’s lamp still on from when he’d plopped down two hours ago.
 
Something had roused him. A sound. Part of the dream from Mexico City, yet not.
 
He heard it again.
 
Three squeaks in quick succession.
 
His building was 17th century, completely remodeled a few months ago. From the second to the third floor the new wooden risers now announced themselves in a precise order, like keys on a piano.
Which meant someone was there.
 
He reached beneath the bed and found the rucksack he always kept at the ready from his Magellan Billet days. Inside, his right hand gripped the Beretta, the same one from Mexico City, a round already chambered.
 
Another habit he was glad he hadn’t shucked.
 
He crept from the bedroom.
 
His fourth-floor apartment was less than a thousand square feet. Besides the bedroom, there was a den, kitchen, bath, and several closets. Lights burned in the den, where a doorway opened to the stairway. His bookshop consumed the ground floor, and the second and third floors were used exclusively for storage and work space.
 
He found the doorway and hugged the inner jamb.
 
No sound had revealed his advance, as he’d kept his steps light and his shoes to the carpet runners. He still wore his clothes from yesterday. He’d worked late last night after a busy Saturday before Christmas. It was good to be a bookseller again. That was supposedly his profession now. So why was he holding a gun in the middle of the night, every one of his senses telling him danger was nearby?
 
He risked a glance through the doorway. Stairs led to a landing, then angled downward. He’d switched off the lights earlier before climbing up for the night, and there were no three-way switches. He cursed himself for not including some during the remodeling. One thing that had been added was a metal banister lining the stair’s outer edge.
 
He fled the apartment and slid down the slick brass rail to the next landing. No sense announcing his presence with more creaks from other wooden risers.
 
Carefully, he glanced down into the void.
 
Dark and quiet.
 
He slid to the next landing and worked his way around to where he could spy the third floor. Amber lights from Høj

Excerpted from The Paris Vendetta by Steve Berry
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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