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The Venetian Betrayal

Cover of The Venetian Betrayal

The Venetian Betrayal

Cotton Malone Series, Book 3
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Having conquered Persia and made plans to do the same to Europe, Alexander the Great died of a fever at the age of 32 in 323 BCE. Beyond that, nothing of how he passed away is clear. Some blame natural causes, others say he was poisoned, others that he died of malaria, typhoid fever, acute pancreatitis, or West Nile virus. Theories about his death are as numerous as the years that have since passed.

But Cotton Malone is about to discover the truth.

Having conquered Persia and made plans to do the same to Europe, Alexander the Great died of a fever at the age of 32 in 323 BCE. Beyond that, nothing of how he passed away is clear. Some blame natural causes, others say he was poisoned, others that he died of malaria, typhoid fever, acute pancreatitis, or West Nile virus. Theories about his death are as numerous as the years that have since passed.

But Cotton Malone is about to discover the truth.

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Excerpts-
  • From the book

    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Saturday, April 18 , The Present
    11:55 p.m.

    The smell roused Cotton Malone to consciousness. Sharp, acrid, with a hint of sulfur. And something else. Sweet and sickening.

    Like death.

    He opened his eyes.

    He lay prone on the floor, arms extended, palms to the hardwood, which he immediately noticed was sticky.

    What happened?

    He'd attended the April gathering of the Danish Antiquarian Booksellers Society a few blocks west of his bookshop, near the gaiety of Tivoli. He liked the monthly meetings and this one had been no exception. A few drinks, some friends, and lots of book chatter. Tomorrow morning he'd agreed to meet Cassiopeia Vitt. Her call yesterday to arrange the meeting had surprised him. He'd not heard from her since Christmas, when she'd spent a few days in Copenhagen. He'd been cruising back home on his bicycle, enjoying the comfortable spring night, when he'd decided to check out the unusual meeting location she'd chosen, the Museum of Greco-Roman Culture--a preparatory habit from his former profession. Cassiopeia rarely did anything on impulse, so a little advance preparation wasn't a bad idea.

    He'd found the address, which faced the Frederiksholms canal, and noticed a half-open door to the pitch-dark building--a door that should normally be closed and alarmed. He'd parked his bike. The least he could do was close the door and phone the police when he returned home.

    But the last thing he remembered was grasping the doorknob.

    He was now inside the museum.

    In the ambient light that filtered in through two plate-glass windows, he saw a space decorated in typical Danish style--a sleek mixture of steel, wood, glass, and aluminum. The right side of his head throbbed and he caressed a tender knot.

    He shook the fog from his brain and stood.

    He'd visited this museum once and had been unimpressed with its collection of Greek and Roman artifacts. Just one of a hundred or more private collections throughout Copenhagen, their subject matter as varied as the city's population.

    He steadied himself against a glass display case. His fingertips again came away sticky and smelly, with the same nauseating odor.

    He noticed that his shirt and trousers were damp, as was his hair, face, and arms. Whatever covered the museum's interior coated him, too.

    He stumbled toward the front entrance and tried the door. Locked. Double dead bolt. A key would be needed to open it from the inside.

    He stared back into the interior. The ceiling soared thirty feet. A wood-and-chrome staircase led up to a second floor that dissolved into more darkness, the ground floor extending out beneath.

    He found a light switch. Nothing. He lumbered over to a desk phone. No dial tone.

    A noise disturbed the silence. Clicks and whines, like gears working. Coming from the second floor.
    His training as a Justice Department agent cautioned him to keep quiet, but also urged him to investigate.

    So he silently climbed the stairs.

    The chrome banister was damp, as were each of the laminated risers. Fifteen steps up, more glass-and-chrome display cases dotted the hardwood floor. Marble reliefs and partial bronzes on pedestals loomed like ghosts. Movement caught his eye twenty feet away. An object rolling across the floor. Maybe two feet wide with rounded sides, pale in color, tight to the ground, like one of those robotic lawn mowers he'd once seen advertised. When a display case or statue was encountered, the thing stopped, retreated, then darted in a different direction. A nozzle extended from its top and every few seconds a burst of aerosol...
About the Author-
  • Steve Berry is the New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author of The Lincoln Myth, The King's Deception, The Columbus Affair, The Jefferson Key, The Emperor's Tomb, The Paris Vendetta, 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 40 languages with more than 17,000,000 copies in 51 countries.

    History lies at the heart of every Steve Berry novel. It's this passion, one he shares with his wife, Elizabeth, that led them to create History Matters, a foundation dedicated to historic preservation. Since 2009 Steve and Elizabeth have traveled across the country to save endangered historic treasures, raising money via lectures, receptions, galas, luncheons, dinners, and their popular writers' workshops. To date, nearly 2,500 students have attended those workshops. In 2012 their work was recognized by the American Library Association, which named Steve the first spokesman for National Preservation Week. He was also appointed by the Smithsonian Board of Regents to serve on the Smithsonian Libraries Advisory Board to help promote and support the libraries in their mission to provide information in all forms to scientists, curators, scholars, students, and the public at large. He has received the Royden B. Davis Distinguished Author Award and the 2013 Writers for Writers Award from Poets & Writers. His novel The Columbus Affair earned him the Anne Frank Human Writes Award, and his historic preservation work merited the 2013 Silver Bullet from International Thriller Writers.

    Steve Berry was born and raised in Georgia, graduating from the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University. He was a trial lawyer for 30 years and held elective office for 14 of those years. He is a founding member of International Thriller Writers--a group of more than 2,600 thriller writers from around the world--and served three years as its co-president.

    For more information, visit www.steveberry.org.


Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine Steve Berry is a master of suspense whose books are consistently entertaining. With THE VENETIAN BETRAYAL, Berry weaves an intriguing tale about the search for Alexander the Great's final resting place and the mysterious healing serum buried with him. The story is farfetched and the characters a bit formulaic; in addition, it helps to have a scorecard to keep track of the villains and heroes. Despite these shortcomings, the novel still succeeds on audio because of reader Scott Brick, who yet again transforms a mediocre book into a great listen. Brick's wry reading style is an excellent complement for the convoluted story, and his ability to bring life to central characters Cotton Malone and Cassiopeia Vitt proves just how valuable the choice of performer remains. D.J.S. (c) AudioFile 2008, Portland, Maine
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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Cotton Malone Series, Book 3
Steve Berry
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