The Malta Exchange

The Malta Exchange

Paperback - 2019 | First edition
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"The next in New York Times top 5 bestseller Steve Berry's Cotton Malone series involves the Knights of Malta, papal conclave, and lost documents that could change history. A deadly race for the Vatican's oldest secret fuels New York Times bestseller Steve Berry's latest international Cotton Malone thriller. The pope is dead. A conclave to select his replacement is about to begin. Cardinals are beginning to arrive at the Vatican, but one has fled Rome for Malta in search of a document that dates back to the 4th century and Constantine the Great. Former Justice Department operative, Cotton Malone, is at Lake Como, Italy, on the trail of legendary letters between Winston Churchill and Benito Mussolini that disappeared in 1945 and could re-write history. But someone else seems to be after the same letters and, when Malone obtains then loses them, he's plunged into a hunt that draws the attention of the legendary Knights of Malta. The knights have existed for over nine hundred years, the only warrior-monks to survive into modern times. Now they are a global humanitarian organization, but within their ranks lurks trouble -- the Secreti -- an ancient sect intent on affecting the coming papal conclave. With the help of Magellan Billet agent Luke Daniels, Malone races the rogue cardinal, the knights, the Secreti, and the clock to find what has been lost for centuries. The final confrontation culminates behind the walls of the Vatican where the election of the next pope hangs in the balance" -- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Minotaur Books, 2019
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781250140265
Branch Call Number: FIC Berry
Characteristics: x, 401 pages ; 25 cm


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Apr 02, 2020

I cannot believe that it has been five years since I read a STEVE BERRY novel. “So many books, so little time” is the quote of the day. THE MALTA EXCHANGE is the book I just finished reading. As in most of Mr. Berry’s stories, there is an element of real history. In this case, he tackles the origins of the Catholic Church. Do not panic. It is not a religious story but contains intrigue, fights, chases and international locations.

Sir James Grant of the British intelligence agency, MI6, hires Cotton Malone to retrieve 11 letters written between Winston Churchill and Benito Mussolini pre WWII that could prove embarrassing for Britain. Malone goes to the Lake Como (where Mussolini was captured and executed in 1945) area of Italy (northern Italy) to fetch the letters. A seemingly simple errand leads Malone into a shootout with persons unknown. Malone is well paid (50,000 Euros) because of his background as a retired agent for Magellan Billet (a group designed to clean-up government spy mishaps, attached to the United States Department of Justice) and current antiquarian bookseller in Copenhagen, Denmark. He finds and then almost immediately loses the letters. Sir James doubles the fee for Cotton to continue to find the 11 letters.

This pursuit leads Cotton and his friend Luke Daniel, an agent of Magellan Billet, into a search for the lost Nostra Trinitas, three documents that gave the Knights of Malta extraordinary power. The Knights are still in existence and can trace their history back to the time of the Crusades (12th/13th centuries). One part of the Trinitas is a document prepared by Emperor Contantine in the year 325 that could destroy the Catholic Church.

Other important characters in the story are:
Laura Price a senior agent for intelligence service of Malta.
Kastor Cardinal Gallo, a Vatican Cardinal who is the Vatican liaison to the operation of the Knights of Malta and who wants to be elected Pope (did I mention that the current Pope had just died?).
Pollux Gallo is the identical twin brother of Kastor and current temporary head of the Knights of Malta. He does not get along with his twin.
Archbishop Danjel Spagna is in charge of The Entity, the Vatican’s very efficient and professional intelligence agency who has information that could change the Papal Election.

As usual, STEVE BERRY tells a great story. The historical aspects are intriguing. What fun way to learn history! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.


Dec 11, 2019

Fun and interesting book... However, I had to laugh because the plot reminded me of the old Goldie Hawn/Chevy Chase Film “Foul Play.” Both have twin brothers who are cardinals, one good & one evil. Evil brother kills good brother and assumes his identity in hope of becoming the next pope.

May 23, 2019

I always learn something from Steve Berry's books. His depiction of early Christian manipulation of the facts gave me something to think about. I really appreciated his explanation and clarification at the end of this book.

I rate Steve Berry with Dan Brown for historical facts.

May 17, 2019

I have read all of Steve Berry’s books and this is one of the best! (I didn’t not miss Cassiopeia). Great twist toward the end! I learned a lot about the Knights of Malta (didn’t even know they were still around!). I always love reading the author’s note at the end where he separates fact from fiction - gives me an even greater appreciation of this writer’s skill!

Mar 26, 2019

THE MALTA EXCHANGE by Steve Berry and starring Cotton Malone is another great read. I love historical fiction, and always learn things when reading Berry, which makes for an even better read. The plot is really convoluted with a lot of characters coming and going (usually by death) as the story unfolds. Starts with Mussolini, hearkens back to the Emperor Constantine, and through many Catholic Popes and other church figures over time. Throw in the Knights of Malta and lots of other 'offices' of the church hierarchy and you need a scorecard to keep up with who's on first as the story develops. One thing I like about Berry, and is essential in the case of this story, is he always has an author's note at the end which separates historical fact from portions of the story that come from his imagination. All that said, I have a cautionary note: if you are a Bible believer, and especially if you are Catholic, this story WILL challenge you. It implies many things about organized religion, some based in fact and some opinion. I am a believer and I still enjoyed the story as a work of fiction. That said, if you are a believer, you MUST read Berry's end notes separating fact from fiction.

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