THE PARIS VENDETTA by Steve Berry [Review]

The Paris Vendetta

The Paris Vendetta is Steve Berry’s fifth book featuring bookshop owner and ex-Justice Department field agent, Cotton Malone. Fresh off his recent case involving his father, Malone gets roped into helping his good friend Henrik Thorvaldsen seek revenge on the man who killed his son. As you may remember, Malone killed the gunmen who shot diplomat Cai Thorvaldsen in Mexico City, but Henrik is after the man who hired them, Lord Ashby. Besides being responsible for Cai’s death, Ashby is a busy guy: he’s part of a group trying to manipulate the world economy for profit, he has ties to a terrorist planning to bomb Paris, and he’s on a quest to find Napoleon’s alleged hidden treasure. Whew! There’s so much going on in The Paris Vendetta that I’m going to break it down into the good and the bad:

The good – I loved the Paris setting and how the action takes place in familiar landmarks like the Eiffel Tower. The historical aspect of the story, Napoleon and his hidden treasure, was interesting and very detailed (this is where Berry really excels). The economic information was actually pretty interesting too and it seemed timely. We also met a new character, Sam Collins, and I have a feeling that he will be appearing in future books.

The bad – With so much going on, I felt like Thorvaldsen’s storyline got shortchanged, which is a shame because he’s a major part of the series and a personal favorite of mine. It almost felt as if the Napoleon story and Thorvaldsen’s revenge each deserved their own separate book. Overall, it just didn’t measure up to the previous book, The Charlemagne Pursuit, which I think is the best in the series.

The verdict: Despite its shortcomings, The Paris Vendetta is a must read for Steve Berry fans due to the introduction of new characters and major happenings with old characters. For newcomers, I’d recommend starting with The Templar Legacy.

Quotes from The Paris Vendetta:

Napoleon refused to go into debt. He despised financiers, and blamed them for many of the French Republic’s shortfalls. Now he didn’t mind confiscating money, or extorting it, or even depositing money in banks, but he refused to borrow. In that, he was totally different from all who came before him, or after.

The Federal Reserve makes money from thin air. Then it loans it back to America and gets repaid by the taxpayers with interest. America owes the Federal Reserve trillions upon trillions. Just the annual interest on that debt, which by the way is mostly controlled by private investors, is approximately eights times bigger than the wealth of the richest man on the planet. It’ll never be paid off. A lot of people are getting filthy rich off that debt. And it’s all a cheat. If you or I printed money, then loaned it out, we’d go to jail.

“Napoleon realized,” she said, “that war was good for society. Like nothing else, it mobilized his best thinkers to think better. He discovered that scientists were more creative when a threat was real. Manufacturing became more innovative and productive. The people more obedient. He discovered that the citizenry, if threatened, would allow just about any violation from government, so long as they were protected. But too much war is destructive. People will only tolerate so much, and his enemies made sure there was far more than he ever intended, and he ultimately lost all ability to govern.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars | Publisher: Ballantine Books | Pages: 432 | Source: Library | Buy on Amazon

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