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.
New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry returns with his latest thriller, a Cotton Malone adventure involving a flaw in the United States Constitution, a mystery about Abraham Lincoln, and a political issue that’s as explosive as it is timely—not only in Malone’s world, but in ours.
September 1861: All is not as it seems. With these cryptic words, a shocking secret passed down from president to president comes to rest in the hands of Abraham Lincoln. And as the first bloody clashes of the Civil War unfold, Lincoln alone must decide how best to use this volatile knowledge: save thousands of American lives, or keep the young nation from being torn apart forever?
The present: In Utah, the fabled remains of Mormon pioneers whose nineteenth-century expedition across the desert met with a murderous end have been uncovered. In Washington, D.C., the official investigation of an international entrepreneur, an elder in the Mormon church, has sparked a political battle between the White House and a powerful United States senator. In Denmark, a Justice Department agent, missing in action, has fallen into the hands of a dangerous zealot—a man driven by divine visions to make a prophet’s words reality. And in a matter of a few short hours, Cotton Malone has gone from quietly selling books at his shop in Denmark to dodging bullets in a high-speed boat chase.
All it takes is a phone call from his former boss in Washington, and suddenly the ex-agent is racing to rescue an informant carrying critical intelligence. It’s just the kind of perilous business that Malone has been trying to leave behind, ever since he retired from the Justice Department. But once he draws enemy blood, Malone is plunged into a deadly conflict—a constitutional war secretly set in motion more than two hundred years ago by America’s Founding Fathers.
From the streets of Copenhagen to the catacombs of Salzburg to the rugged mountains of Utah, the grim specter of the Civil War looms as a dangerous conspiracy gathers power. Malone risks life, liberty, and his greatest love in a race for the truth about Abraham Lincoln—while the fate of the United States of America hangs in the balance.
“I have not left anyone in doubt. My task is to save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored, the nearer the Union will be the Union as it was. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it. If I could save it by freeing all slaves, I would do it. If I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union. What I forbear, I forbear because I don’t believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause.”
“Then you are not my president, sir. Nor would you be the president of those who voted for you.”
“But I am president. So take this message back to the general. He was sent west to move the army to Memphis and keep advancing eastward. Those are still his orders. He shall either obey them or be removed from his post.”
“I must warn you, sir, that it could be hard if you continue to oppose the general. He could set up for himself.”
The federal treasury was empty. The War Department a mess. No Union army anywhere was prepared to advance. And now this woman, and her insolent husband, were threatening revolt? He should have them both arrested. Unfortunately, however, Fremont’s unilateral emancipation had become popular with abolitionists and liberal Republicans who wanted slavery ended now. A bold strike at their champion could be political suicide.
He said, “This meeting is over.”
She threw him a glare, one that said she was unaccustomed to being dismissed. But he ignored her sneer and stepped across the room, opening the door for her to leave. Hay, his personal secretary, was on duty outside, as was one of the stewards. Mrs. Fremont passed Hay without saying a word, and the steward led her away. He waited until he heard the front door open, then close, before signal-ing for Hay to join him in the parlor.
“That is an impertinent soul,” he said. “We never even sat. She gave me no chance to offer her a seat. She taxed me so violently with so many things that I had to exercise all the awkward tact I have to avoid quarreling with her.”
“Her husband is no better. His command is a failure.”
He nodded. “Fremont’s mistake is that he isolates himself. He does not know what is going on in the matter he is dealing with.”
“And he refuses to listen.”
“She actually threatened that he might set up his own government.”