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Book Author: Steve Berry

THE 14TH COLONY by Steve Berry: Book Review

It seems as if the Cold War will never end.  In The 14th Colony, Steve Berry takes readers on a journey from colonial times through World War II up to the present, with secret agreements and hidden agendas all around.

Cotton Malone is retired from the Justice Department, but now he’s been called on for a special mission.  He is asked to do a reconnaissance in the Lake Baikal region of Siberia, not the friendliest landscape on earth.  He’s flying an old World War II Russian plane in order to examine a group of buildings on the border of the lake when suddenly the plane is fired upon and he’s downed.  He manages to get out of the plane only to find himself facing two men in ski masks, carrying automatic rifles.  They fire at Cotton, he fires back, but before the men have a chance to respond, an explosion from a surface-to-air missile kills them both.

Back in the United States, it’s the next to last day of the second term of President Danny Daniels.  Stephanie Nelle is in the midst of an argument with the soon-to-be attorney general, Bruce Litchfield, about getting help to rescue Cotton, but Bruce is adamant.  He says she didn’t run this mission by him, and he sees no need to assist her or Cotton.

There’s no love lost between Bruce and Stephanie, especially since Bruce implemented Stephanie’s ouster as the head of the Justice Department’s Magellan Billet unit, which will take place immediately upon the inauguration of the new president.  In addition, the entire unit will be abolished.  Litchfield exits the office, leaving Stephanie to work out how to rescue Cotton.

At the same time, Department of Justice agent Luke Daniels is following a Russian named Anya Petrova.  Luke’s uncle, the president, has told him to trail the woman and find out what she’s doing.  She’s definitely a “person of interest,” as she’s the lover of Aleksandr Zorin, a former KGB officer.  Coincidentally, or perhaps not, it’s Zorin who lives in one of the builings ndear Lake Baikal and who sent the two men to shoot down Cotton’s plane.

The 14th Colony refers to Canada, and that wording goes back to the 1700s.  During the American Revolution, the colonists invaded Canada (then consisting only of Quebec and Ontario), certain that the Canadians would want to join the thirteen colonies and gain their freedom from England.  The colonists were defeated, but in 1781 (seven years before the colonies would become an independent nation), the Canadian Articles of Confederation stated that British-held Canada could join the U.S. automatically at any time they chose to do so, without even the agreement of the United States.

There’s an incredible amount of history in this novel, starting with the American Revolution and continuing up to today.  The story line  contains not only the plot to annex Canada but nuclear weapons, the 20th amendment to the Constitution, and a secret agreement between the president of the United States and the head of the Roman Catholic Church.

There’s a huge cast of characters in this novel; in addition to those listed above, Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II make an appearance.  The narration moves between Cotton, Stephanie, Aleksandr, and Luke, but thanks to Steve Berry’s excellent writing there’s never any confusion as to whose voice the reader is hearing.  The plot and the writing will hold you in a tight grip until the very end.

You can read more about Steve Berry at this web site.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her web site.