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Venetian Betrayal
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This is Berry's third work featuring rare book dealer Cotton Malone, a former Justice Department superagent, and sidekick Cassiopeia Vitt. The pair attempt to defeat the leader of a refurbished Soviet Union who is about to set loose a toxic viral agent whose only antidote lies buried with Alexander the Great. Although narrator Scott Brick provides subtle accents and interprets the action convincingly, his performance is unable to make this audiobook into an enjoyable listening experience. The plot is contrived, the characters are familiar, and the story is disappointing. Still, Berry has many fans, and his book (released in hardcover in December 2007) is a New York Times best seller, so librarians have a tough call on this one. Recommended with reservations. [Other best sellers in the series include The Alexandria Link and The Templar Legacy; The Venetian Betrayal is also available as downloadable audio from Audible.com.--Ed.]--Ray Vignovich, West Des Moines P.L. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Scott Brick continues to bolster his status as one of the best narrators of international thrillers with his excellent reading of Berry's latest. Once again, Cotton Malone, a retired intelligence officer turned rare book dealer, is thrown into the middle of a diabolical plot for world domination. Irina Zovastina, the Supreme Minister of a powerful collective of old Soviet republics, has an insidious plan to use biological weapons, at the cost of millions of lives, in a maniacal attempt to conquer the world. For her stratagem to succeed, she must unearth a secret hidden within the final resting place of Alexander the Great, a burial site whose location has been shrouded in mystery for millennia years. Brick easily negotiates his way through this complex plot, his confident delivery keeps the suspense high while bringing a solid reality to a story that often walks a fine line between the believable and the improbable. Simultaneous release with the Ballantine hardcover (Reviews, Oct. 8). (Dec.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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