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The Charlemagne Pursuit

Cover of The Charlemagne Pursuit

The Charlemagne Pursuit

Cotton Malone Series, Book 4
As a child, former Justice Department agent Cotton Malone was told his father died in a submarine disaster in the North Atlantic, but now he wants the full story and asks his ex-boss, Stephanie Nelle, to secure the military files. What he learns stuns him: His father's sub was a secret nuclear vessel lost on a highly classified mission beneath the ice shelves of Antarctica.
But Malone isn't the only one after the truth. Twin sisters Dorothea Lindauer and Christl Falk are fighting for the fortune their mother has promised to whichever of them discovers what really became of their father——who died on the same submarine that Malone's father captained.
The sisters know something Malone doesn't: Inspired by strange clues discovered in Charlemagne's tomb, the Nazis explored Antarctica before the Americans, as long ago as 1938.
Now Malone discovers that cryptic journals penned in "the language of heaven," inscrutable conundrums posed by an ancient historian, and the ill-fated voyage of his father are all tied to a revelation of immense consequence for humankind.
In an effort to ensure that this explosive information never rises to the surface, Langford Ramsey, an ambitious navy admiral, has begun a brutal game of treachery, blackmail, and assassination.
As Malone embarks on a dangerous quest with the sisters——one that leads them from an ancient German cathedral to a snowy French citadel to the unforgiving ice of Antarctica——he will finally confront the shocking truth of his father's death and the distinct possibility of his own.
From the Compact Disc edition.
As a child, former Justice Department agent Cotton Malone was told his father died in a submarine disaster in the North Atlantic, but now he wants the full story and asks his ex-boss, Stephanie Nelle, to secure the military files. What he learns stuns him: His father's sub was a secret nuclear vessel lost on a highly classified mission beneath the ice shelves of Antarctica.
But Malone isn't the only one after the truth. Twin sisters Dorothea Lindauer and Christl Falk are fighting for the fortune their mother has promised to whichever of them discovers what really became of their father——who died on the same submarine that Malone's father captained.
The sisters know something Malone doesn't: Inspired by strange clues discovered in Charlemagne's tomb, the Nazis explored Antarctica before the Americans, as long ago as 1938.
Now Malone discovers that cryptic journals penned in "the language of heaven," inscrutable conundrums posed by an ancient historian, and the ill-fated voyage of his father are all tied to a revelation of immense consequence for humankind.
In an effort to ensure that this explosive information never rises to the surface, Langford Ramsey, an ambitious navy admiral, has begun a brutal game of treachery, blackmail, and assassination.
As Malone embarks on a dangerous quest with the sisters——one that leads them from an ancient German cathedral to a snowy French citadel to the unforgiving ice of Antarctica——he will finally confront the shocking truth of his father's death and the distinct possibility of his own.
From the Compact Disc edition.
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  • From the book

    ONE
    Garmisch, Germany
    Tuesday, December 11, The Present
    1:40 pm

    Cotton Malone hated enclosed spaces.

    His current unease was amplified by a packed cable car. Most of the passengers were on vacation, dressed in colorful garb, shouldering poles and skis. He sensed a variety of nationalities. Some Italians, a few Swiss, a handful of French, but mainly Germans. He'd been one of the first to climb aboard and, to relieve his discomfort, he'd made his way close to one of the frosty windows. Ten thousand feet above and closing, the Zugspitze stood silhouetted against a steel- blue sky, the imposing gray summit draped in a late- autumn snow.

    Not smart, agreeing to this location.

    The car continued its giddy ascent, passing one of several steel tres­tles that rose from the rocky crags.

    He was unnerved, and not simply from the crowded surroundings. Ghosts awaited him atop Germany's highest peak. He'd avoided this rendezvous for nearly four decades. People like him, who buried their past so determinedly, should not help it from the grave so easily.

    Yet here he was, doing exactly that.

    Vibrations slowed as the car entered, then stopped at the summit station.

    Skiers flooded off toward another lift that would take them down to a high- altitude corrie, where a chalet and slopes waited. He didn't ski, never had, never wanted to.

    He made his way through the visitor center, identified by a yellow placard as MŸncher Haus. A restaurant dominated one half of the building, the rest housed a theater, a snack bar, an observatory, souvenir shops, and a weather station.

    He pushed through thick glass doors and stepped out onto a railed terrace. Bracing Alpine air stung his lips. According to Stephanie Nelle his contact should be waiting on the observation deck. One thing was obvious. Ten thousand feet in the high Alps certainly added a height­ened measure of privacy to their meeting.

    The Zugspitze lay on the border. A succession of snowy crags rose south toward Austria. To the north spanned a soup- bowl valley ringed by rock- ribbed peaks. A gauze of frosty mist shielded the German vil­lage of Garmisch and its companion, Partenkirchen. Both were sports meccas, and the region catered not only to skiing but also bobsledding, skating, and curling.

    More sports he'd avoided.

    The observation deck was deserted save for an elderly couple and a few skiers who'd apparently paused to enjoy the view. He'd come to solve a mystery, one that had preyed on his mind ever since that day when the men in uniforms came to tell his mother that her husband was dead.

    "Contact was lost with the submarine forty- eight hours ago. We dispatched search and rescue ships to the North Atlantic, which have combed the last known position. Wreckage was found six hours ago. We waited to tell the families until we were sure there was no chance of survivors."

    His mother had never cried. Not her way. But that didn't mean she wasn't devastated. Years passed before questions formed in his teenage mind. The government offered little explanation beyond official re­leases. When he'd first joined the navy he'd tried to access the court of inquiry's investigative report on the sub's sinking, but learned it was classified. He'd tried again after becoming a Justice Department agent, possessed of a high security clearance. No luck. When Gary, his fifteen-year- old, visited over the summer, he'd faced new questions. Gary had never known his grandfather, but the boy had wanted to know more about him and, especially, how he died. The press had covered the sink­ing of the USS Blazek...

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 18,000,000 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-
  • - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

    "In bestseller Berry's fourth thriller to feature ex--Justice Department agent Cotton Malone (after The Venetian Betrayal), Malone embarks on a search for answers about his father, Capt. Forrest Malone, after learning that instead of dying in 1971 in a nuclear sub accident in the North Atlantic, his father actually died while on a secret submarine mission to the Antarctic. Meanwhile, bad guy Adm. Langford Ramsey schemes to become the next ranking officer of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The two story lines merge as a group led by Malone races to Antarctica, where they find a strange underground city belonging to the Aryans, an advanced race who inhabited the earth at the dawn of our own civilization. A meticulous researcher, Berry carefully integrates such elements as Charlemagne, Nazis, ancient manuscripts, historical puzzles and scientific surprises into the plot. Those who relish suspense in the Da Vinci Code vein will snap this one up, the best yet in the series."

  • - Library Journal "Berry outdoes himself in his latest Cotton Malone adventure (after The Venetian Betrayal ). Using his connections in the federal government, Cotton asks to see a classified file that details the mission that resulted in his father's death. He knew his father died on a submarine but none of the shocking details about where or why he died. But Cotton is not the only person who wants this file, and they kill to get it. Nazi missions to the Antarctic, ancient societies, and a valuable artifact from Charlemagne's tomb all play key roles as Malone uncovers the truth. So much is going on that there is enough material for two good books, let alone one great one. Mixed in with the complicated action, Berry finds the time to explore the characters as well, making this his most personal and best book to date. For all fiction collections."
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The Charlemagne Pursuit
The Charlemagne Pursuit
Cotton Malone Series, Book 4
Steve Berry
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