`The King`s Deception` - thrilling, captivating novel (review)

Book: The King`s Deception; Publisher: Hachette India; Author: Steve Berry; Pages: 395; Price: Rs.350

The novel, set in modern times, juxtaposes the present with a sequence of events in the 16th century monarchical Britain, with author Steve Berry heightening readers` curiosity by weaving suspense around Queen Elizabeth I`s real identity.

“The King`s Deception”, part of the author`s Cotton Malone series, starts with Malone agreeing to do a favour to his former boss at the Justice Department by escorting a teenaged fugitive, 15-year-old Ian Dunne, back to London. Little does Malone know that he has been tricked into the situation by another secret agent who not only wants to get back to his wife for rebuking him as well as to get hold of the boy who is carrying a secret that can make or break his secret mission.

When Malone lands in London along with his teenaged son Gary and Ian, they are kidnapped and with both the boys missing, he finds himself caught in a web of geopolitical drama and unnerving historical secrets.

The suspense in the novel revolves around the identity of Queen Elizabeth I - the last Tudor monarch - the daughter of Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn. She reigned for 45 years, a period mentioned as one of the most glorious periods in the history of England, but the whole plot hinges on the legends associated with the queen`s identity.

Everyone in the novel is after Tudor secrets for various reasons.

Full of drama, excitement and surprises, the story promises satisfaction for those with an appetite for thrillers, but towards the end it gets predictable. However, that doesn`t spoil the flow.

It`s a quick and interesting read as the author`s writing style is captivating and introduction of characters is such that it leaves little chance for readers to get lost in the maze of events.