Reviews for The Atlas Maneuver

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From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Former Justice Department operative Cotton Malone returns to defuse another (figurative) bomb. This time, a small favor for a friend plunges Cotton into a global conspiracy involving cryptocurrency, an American intelligence agency, and the Black Eagle Trust, a secret gold stash used by the American government to fund clandestine operations around the world. As usual, Cotton is an absolute delight: cantankerous and world-weary, with a razor-sharp wit and a sense of justice that makes him push on when others might throw up their hands in dismay. As in the earlier Cotton Malone novels (this is the eighteenth in the series), this story has its roots in history (or popular myth): the Black Eagle Trust allegedly consists of Japanese gold recovered by the Americans after World War II from hidden caches in the Philippines. Whether or not the Trust is real, it’s a clever hook, and readers will happily follow Cotton into danger to find out who in the present day is trying to use the Trust for his or her own nefarious purposes. A fast-paced, well-written, entertaining adventure.

Publishers Weekly
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Bestseller Berry never takes his foot off the gas in the hyperactive 18th thriller featuring Cotton Malone (after The Last Kingdom). After ostensibly retiring from his chaotic life as a top-secret U.S. intelligence operative to run a sleepy bookshop in Copenhagen, Malone’s pulled back into action by a request from the CIA’s European station chief, Derrick Koger. After WWII, Koger reveals, the nascent CIA discovered hundreds of millions of dollars in gold that the Japanese hid stashed in Luxembourg’s Bank of St. George. Koger asks Malone to keep an eye on bank employee Kelly Austin, whose safety may be under threat, in connection with her proximity to the gold. After Malone thwarts an attempt on Kelly’s life, he discovers that she’s actually Suzy Baldwin, one of his former lovers, in disguise. To keep Suzy safe, Malone sets out to uncover the motives of her pursuers and turns up evidence of a vast, cryptocurrency-focused financial conspiracy. Though there’s enough sound and fury to satisfy diehard series fans, uneven prose and an overbusy plot keep this from reaching the heights of previous entries. Here’s hoping Berry tightens the focus for Malone’s next adventure. Agent: Simon Lipskar, Writers House. (Feb.)

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Cotton Malone, who just can’t stay retired from international intrigue, joins the mad dance of competitors for a fortune in bitcoin. So many people have forgotten about the horde of gold the retreating Japanese hid on Luzon Island in the Philippines that it’s not at all clear who has legal title to it. That’s perfect for Robert Citrone, the retired CIA overseer of the Black Eagle Trust, which has used the gold to fund covert operations around the world. Just as Derrick Koger, the European station chief for the CIA, is pulling Malone away from his Copenhagen bookstore to help him investigate possible misdeeds swirling around Luxembourg’s Bank of St. George and its ruthless chief operating officer, Catherine Gledhill, other interested parties turn up in often surprising connections. Freelance assassin Kyra Lhota executes Armenian oligarch Samvel Yerevan and moves on to her next target. Malone’s sometime lover Cassiopeia Vitt is snatched by high-ranking Japanese security chief Aiko Ejima. His former lover Suzy Baldwin resurfaces as Kelly Austin, BSG’s director of special technology, who’s concealing secrets from Malone and the rest of the world. They’re all on the trail of a fabulous cache of bitcoin that in the absence of any legal records of ownership will belong, like the Luzon gold, to anyone who can track it down and grab it. The grandly scaled complications that follow feature countless broken alliances and the deaths of a fearsome number of nonfranchise characters. An extended author’s note explains what’s historically accurate (quite a bit, as it turns out) and what’s fabricated (quite a bit more). Speculators who haven’t been put off by bitcoin’s recent crash will enjoy this walk—well, run—on the wild side. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.