The Alexandria Link (Cotton Malone Series #2)

The Alexandria Link (Cotton Malone Series #2)

by Steve Berry

Paperback(Tall Rack Paperback - Reprint)

$9.59 $9.99 Save 4% Current price is $9.59, Original price is $9.99. You Save 4%. View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Wednesday, January 29
191 New & Used Starting at $1.99


Cotton Malone retired from the high-risk world of elite operatives for the U.S. Justice Department to lead the low-key life of a rare-book dealer. But his quiet existence is shattered when he receives an anonymous e-mail: “You have something I want. You’re the only person on earth who knows where to find it. Go get it. You have 72 hours. If I don’t hear from you, you will be childless.” His horrified ex-wife confirms that the threat is real: Their teenage son has been kidnapped. When Malone’s Copenhagen bookshop is burned to the ground, it becomes brutally clear that those responsible will stop at nothing to get what they want. And what they want is nothing less than the lost Library of Alexandria.

A cradle of ideas–historical, philosophical, literary, scientific, and religious–the Library of Alexandria was unparalleled in the world. But fifteen hundred years ago, it vanished into the mists of myth and legend–its vast bounty of wisdom coveted ever since by scholars, fortune hunters, and those who believe its untold secrets hold the key to ultimate power.

Now a cartel of wealthy international moguls, bent on altering the course of history, is desperate to breach the library’s hallowed halls–and only Malone possesses the information they need to succeed. At stake is an explosive ancient document with the potential not only to change the destiny of the Middle East but to shake the world’s three major religions to their very foundations.

Pursued by a lethal mercenary, Malone crosses the globe in search of answers. His quest will lead him to England and Portugal, even to the highest levels of American government–and the shattering outcome, deep in the Sinai desert, will have worldwide repercussions.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345485762
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/27/2007
Series: Cotton Malone Series , #2
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 512
Sales rank: 59,024
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.20(d)

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

Read an Excerpt


Copenhagen, Denmark

Tuesday, October 4
The present

1:45 am

Cotton Malone stared straight into the face of trou- ble. Outside his bookshop’s open front door stood his ex-wife, the last person on earth he’d expected to see. He quickly registered panic in her tired eyes, remembered the pounding that had awoken him a few minutes before, and instantly thought of his son.

“Where’s Gary?” he asked.

“You son of a bitch. They took him. Because of you. They took him.” She lunged forward, her closed fists crashing down onto his shoulders. “You sorry son of a bitch.” He grabbed her wrists and stopped the attack as she started crying. “I left you because of this. I thought this kind of thing was over.”

“Who took Gary?” More sobs were his answer. He kept hold of her arms. “Pam. Listen to me. Who took Gary?”

She stared at him. “How the hell am I supposed to know?”

“What are you doing here? Why didn’t you go to the police?”

“Because they said not to. They said if I went anywhere near the police, Gary was dead. They said they would know, and I believed them.”

“Who’s they?”

She wrenched her arms free, her face flooded with anger. “I don’t know. All they said was for me to wait two days, then come here and give you this.” She rummaged through her shoulder bag and produced a phone. Tears continued to rain down her cheeks. “They said for you to go online and open your e-mail.”

Had he heard right? Go online and open your e-mail?

He flipped open the phone and checked the frequency. Enough megahertz to make it world-capable. Which made him wonder. Suddenly he felt vulnerable. Højbro Plads was quiet. At this late hour no one roamed the city square.

His senses came alive.

“Get inside.” And he yanked her into the shop and closed the door. He hadn’t switched on any lights.

“What is it?” she asked, her voice shredded by fear.

He faced her. “I don’t know, Pam. You tell me. Our son has apparently been taken by God-knows-who, and you wait two days before telling a soul about it? That didn’t strike you as insane?”

“I wasn’t going to jeopardize his life.”

“And I would? How have I ever done that?”

“By being you,” she said in a frigid tone, and he instantly recalled why he no longer lived with her.

A thought occurred to him. She’d never been to Denmark. “How did you find me?”

“They told me.”

“Who the hell is they?”

“I don’t know, Cotton. Two men. Only one did the talking. Tall, dark-haired, flat face.”


“How would I know?”

“How did he speak?”

She seemed to catch hold of herself. “No. Not American. They had accents. European.”

He motioned with the phone. “What am I supposed to do with this?”

“He said to open your e-mail and it would be explained.”

She glanced nervously around at the shelves cast in shadows. “Upstairs, right?”

Gary would have told her he lived over the store. He certainly hadn’t. They’d spoken only once since he’d retired from the Justice Department and left Georgia last year, and that had been two months back, in August, when he’d brought Gary home after their summer visit. She’d coldly told him that Gary was not his natural son. Instead the boy was the product of an affair from sixteen years ago, her response to his own infidelity. He’d wrestled with that demon ever since and had not, as yet, come to terms with its implications. One thing he’d decided at the time—he had no intention of ever speaking to Pam Malone again. Whatever needed to be said would be said between him and Gary.

But things seemed to have changed.

“Yeah,” he said. “Upstairs.”

They entered his apartment, and he sat at the desk. He switched on his laptop and waited for the programs to boot. Pam had finally grabbed hold of her emotions. She was like that. Her moods ran in waves. Soaring highs and cavernous lows. She was a lawyer, like him, but where he’d worked for the government, she handled high-stakes trials for Fortune 500 companies that could afford to pay her firm’s impressive fees. When she’d first gone to law school he’d thought the decision a reflection of him, a way for them to share a life together. Later he’d learned it was a way for her to gain independence.

That was Pam.

The laptop was ready. He accessed his mailbox.


“Nothing here.”

Pam rushed toward him. “What do you mean? He said to open your e-mail.”

“That was two days ago. And by the way, how did you get here?”

“They had a ticket, already bought.”

He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “Are you nuts? What you did was give them a two-day head start.”

“Don’t you think I know that?” she yelled. “You think I’m a complete idiot? They told me my phones were tapped and I was being watched. If I varied from their instructions, even a little, Gary was dead. They showed me a picture.” She caught herself and tears flowed anew. “His eyes . . . oh, his eyes.” She broke down again. “He was scared.”

His chest throbbed and his temples burned. He’d intentionally left behind a life of daily danger to find something new. Had that life now hunted him down? He grabbed the edge of the desk. It would do no good for both of them to fall apart. If whoever they were wanted Gary dead, then he was already. No. Gary was a bargaining chip—a way to apparently gain his undivided attention.

The laptop dinged.

His gaze shot to the screen’s lower-right corner: receiving mail. Then he saw greetings appear on the from line and your son’s life noted as the subject. He maneuvered the cursor and opened the e-mail.


Pam was standing behind him. “What’s the Alexandria Link?”

He said nothing. He couldn’t. He was indeed the only person on earth who knew, and he’d given his word.

“Whoever sent that message knows all about it. What is it?”

He stared at the screen and knew there’d be no way to trace the message. The sender, like himself, surely knew how to use black holes—computer servers that randomly routed e-mails through an electronic maze. Not impossible to follow, but difficult.

He stood from the chair and ran a hand through his hair. He’d meant to get a haircut yesterday. He worked the sleep from his shoulders and sucked a few deep breaths. He’d earlier slipped on a pair of jeans and a long-sleeved shirt that hung open, exposing a gray undershirt, and he was suddenly chilled by fear.

“Dammit, Cotton—”

“Pam, shut up. I have to think. You’re not helping.”

“I’m not helping? What the—”

The cell phone rang. Pam lunged for it, but he cut her off and said, “Leave it.”

“What do you mean? It could be Gary.”

“Get real.”

He scooped up the phone after the third ring and pushed talk.

“Took long enough,” the male voice said in his ear. He caught a Dutch accent. “And please, no if-you-hurt-that-boy-I’m-going-to-kill-you bra- vado. Neither one of us has the time. Your seventy-two hours have already started.”

Malone stayed silent, but he recalled something he learned long ago. Never let the other side set the bargain. “Stick it up your ass. I’m not going anywhere.”

“You take a lot of risks with your son’s life.”

“I see Gary. I talk to him. Then, I go.”

“Take a look outside.”

He rushed to the window. Four stories down Højbro Plads was still quiet, except for two figures standing on the far side of the cobbled expanse.

Both silhouettes shouldered weapons.

Grenade launchers.

“Don’t think so,” the voice said in his ear.

Two projectiles shot through the night and obliterated the windows below him.

Both exploded.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The Alexandria Link (Cotton Malone Series #2) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 274 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In general, The Alexandria Link was good read. Berry's writing holds the readers attention as any good thriller should. However, I was somewhat disappointed in the factual accuracy of the book. Similar to the Da Vinci Code, the author takes significant license with the facts. Repeatedly he states that no Old Testament documents now exist earlier than 1000 A.D. 'The Masoretic Hebrew Text'. Further, he states that the Septuagint 'OT in Greek' was the primary source for the OT translation. Both of these assertions are wrong. First, the oldest Old Testaments documents are the Dead Sea Scrolls 'in Ancient Hebrew' found at Quran and date from 200 years before Christ. Second, while the Septuagint has been used as a corroborative source there are numerous other OT documents from the period were also used. In short, A for a good story, F on the facts.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While it follows some of the hallmarks of the type of international conspiracy thriller made famous by Robert Ludlum, it departs from the mold by nature of the main character. By making Cotton Malone a retired agent (they are almost always retired) who is now a rare-book dealer, Berry gives it a twist from those series that have come before it. It makes the plot revolve more around intellectual issues than standard political and economic issues (even though they are involved). As a scholar of Judaism (I am rabbi), I found the Biblical part to be credibly written while remaining incorrect. I do not view it as Anti-Semitic in any way (as a previous reviewer did) but it does portray Israel in a negative light. One shouldn't read this type of book to learn history but to have fun!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thought provoking premise with a political twist. Very good reading.
AlisaLorrine More than 1 year ago
The unabridged audible book took about 18 hours to finish. My husband and I listened to it during 2 trips back and forth between Southern Ca and Northern Ca. This was the first fictional book my husband has "read" and he was hooked after finishing it - wanting to start the next book. At times, the details were a bit droning, but overall, it was exciting - probably could have done well with the abridged version. I absolutely loved how Steve Berry brings intricate religious conspiracy theories to life. His books are believable and well written with solid characters. Entertaining, and this book stands well alone without reading the Templar Legacy first. (I read it, my husband did not but we both enjoyed the book). This book, though fictional, doesn't seem that unlikely! Makes for a puzzling feeling afterwards.
GtzLstNRding More than 1 year ago
Suspensful, lots of twists and turns, love the religous aspects of the story and the way Cotton Malone gets pulled into so many things even though he's "retired." This particular story is made personal to him with lots of high stakes.
cyderry on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a very complex book in that not only was it a complex thriller, it was also full of history and political drama. Granted, the historical references in some instances were pure fiction, but it definitely held my attention and drove me to the conclusion.The Alexandria Link is the second in the Cotton Malone mysteries by Steve Berry (a friend, I hear, of Dan Brown and his books are very much in the same vein). Cotton is a retired federal agent who is drawn back into a situation that he thought was buried. His son is kidnapped and the ransom request is not money. He must reveal the whereabouts of a person who he secreted away years before and only he knows where the person is. The evolving story is intricately woven between the search by Cotton and events that are handled by Cotton's former boss and his friend. The Alexandria Link is the search for the lost library of Alexandria and the historical nuances are very compelling. Compounding this search with the political unrest of the Middle East, kept me intrigued.
PghDragonMan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the weakest of the three Cotton Malone stories I¿ve encountered so far. It does add to the depth of the character Steve Berry has created because we now meet his son and divorced wife. It is not Berry¿s character development that I found lacking, but rather the story itself was very thin and had too many lapses to be considered realistic, even for a work of fiction.An example of what I¿m talking about involves a car chase. The good guys are in a secret service car being pursued by the bad guys. Bullets are bouncing off the car because it is designed to withstand bullet impact. Nothing too amiss so far; these vehicles do exist. But wait: the bad guys shoot out the tires. I had trouble with the fact that the car would be bullet proof but not equipped with run-flat tires. These are available as an option on many civilian cars now. So much for story line credibility.I also had trouble with some of the politics Berry used to drive the plot. I guess I now know how some people may have felt about the plot of the previous book, The Templar Legacy. I was able to divorce myself from the politics and yet, as cited above, I found the story had too many holes for an otherwise interesting premise.I still like the character Steve Berry has created and I am looking forward to the next story in the series. This is one instance where reading the most current offering in a series from an author first has an advantage over just discovering a series and reading them in order: I know Steve Berry eventually gets better. Sadly, this offering, The Alexandria Link, comes in at just average.
Talbin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Alexandria Link, by Steve Berry, begins with the kidnapping of Cotton Malone's son and the bombing of Malone's bookshop. The kidnappers give Malone an ultimatum - he will get his son back in return for information about the lost Library of Alexandria. Malone, a retired Navy intelligence officer, joins with his ex-wife, Pam, to search for his son and ultimately the Library of Alexandria itself. As the search continues, Malone and his cohorts discover that a cadre of wealthy industrialists and even some of the highest ranking politicos in American government are involved in the search for the lost Library.This is the fifth book by Steve Berry that I've read, and I think it's his best so far. I thought the plotting and pacing of the book was excellent - he kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the book. Characterizations weren't so great, but that's to be expected in this genre. The story itself is rather unbelievable, but personally I don't read these types of books for their believability - I read them as escape literature.
cameling on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Good thriller. Cotton Malone is paid a visit by his hysterical ex-wife who tells him that their son has been kidnapped and that he has something the kidnappers want. What follows is a fast-paced thriller that involves the search for the Library of Alexandria, a hero's quest, plenty of people running around shooting other people or getting shot at themselves, the US government, the Israeli and Saudi governments, a plot to assassinate the US President (but who are the traitors?), a group of international power tycoons who are members of the Order of the Fleece, and an interesting angle on some theories about the Bible and where Abraham's descendants are supposed to have been. Add to the above, lots of political intrigue so that you don't know who to trust from one chapter to another, and you have a boiling page turner.
harpua on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was torn on this one. While it was a decent story, it seemed to drag at times. There were a few times I even considered putting the book down. But I kept plugging through and the last 50 pages or so made it well worth the time. The ending came together and there were enough surprises that I realized I had it all wrong from early on. There are some problems, as noted by other reviewers that Berry seemed to be very one-sided in the whole Palestanian vs Israel debate and as someone who believes in Israel's right to exist and in fact longer history there, this seemed a bit preachy to me. However, that aside, fiction is fiction and I try to view it in that light.If you¿re a Steve Berry fan, you¿ll probably enjoy this one. If you¿re new to Berry, this may not be the best introduction.
Enamoredsoul on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Alexandria Link brings to us the story of the Alexandria Library, a legendary library lost to the mayhem and destruction caused by historical and political unrest, which has been preserved by a group of people known as the Guardians. We come across Cotton Malone, a government agent, who journeys from England, Spain, United States and then to the Sinai Desert in search for a document, a "link", which if revealed could put the entirety of the modern world in jeopardy.Rich in details, but lacking in depth at times, Steve Berry has written a wonderfully descriptive and adventurous novel that is a quick-paced, tense thriller. Although historically some of the facts seem distorted, ultimately, as a work of fiction it is a book worth a read if you are a fan of historical fiction and thrillers.
bookczuk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
We listened to this on the drive to the mountains. Interesting hypotheses, okay but not great writing. We both agreed that since the book took place in some really nice locales, it would have been enhanced had there been actual descriptions of Copenhagen, Lisbon, London, DC and the mid east. To me, that makes a book much more vibrant and interesting.
whiteknight50 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I had never read Steve Berry before this novel. I checked it out from the library because I wanted a book to listen to while traveling to work. I am so glad I did. I am interested in reading other books by Steve Berry now. While the characters do seem a bit stereotypical to me, the historical elements, even though sometimes fictionalized, gave interest to the novel, and buoyed up the narrative. Overall, the book was an excellent book.
EmScape on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Steve Berry should be more famous than Dan Brown. Berry tells a more engaging, suspenseful tale; has more genuine and relatable characters, and uses the English language to much better effect. I would venture to say that his concept (in this book) is also more controversial, and that may be why he isn't as widely read. The Alexandria Link would make an excellent movie, as well. One I'd be much more excited to see than The DaVinci Code.
GTTexas on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Cotton Malone is great as usual. Great read.
dekan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
i really loved this book. it was quite interesting. a bit like the davinci code meets a spy novel. it delt with the 12 lost tribes and the theories about the land promised to abraham and issac and where it really should be compared to where it is. also showing that if we had the alexandria library we could prove that. it was based around a fictional story of murder and intrigue. if you're interested in any of that it is a fun read.
brian_irons on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In my opinion this is Steves last really great book. All of his books are well written and fun to read but his first 5 are my favorite. I'm still waiting for his next blockbuster.
cuicocha on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The continuing adventures of Cottom Malone finds our protagonist traveling from Europe to the Sinai in search of the Library of Alexandria. The convoluted plot is not as tight and fluid as it was in The Templar Legacy, but much is added to the story through Malone's interaction with his ex-wife and son, Henrik Thorvaldsen, Cassiopeia Vitt, and Stephanie Nelle are once again intricately involved in Berry's plot which picks up steam in the final quarter of the book and leads to a satisfying conclusion.
Venqat65 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After reading the Romanov Prophecy, I was quite excited to read another Berry novel. What a disappointment this one was. Unlike with the Romanov Prophecy, I was not drawn into this book and indeed I had to force myself to turn each page. Part of what turned me off was the anti-Semetic sentiment which appeared very early in the book and continued till it's end. Berry seemed to demonize Israel and Jews far more generally. As another reviewer mentioned, his story reads like a pro-Palestinian propoganda piece, even going so far as to refer to the 1948 war solely by its Arabic nickname.
January_F on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A fun, fast paced read. Great action and a really intriguing storyline about the Library of Alexandria. I was glad to see the return of so many characters from the first novel, and expect to see more of them in the rest of the series. This story sucked me in, and kept me reading up to the end.
erniepratt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a fun book in the same vein as the DaVinci Code. If you have ever been interested in the history of the Great Library of Alexanria this book offers some fun and exciting allbeit fantastic theories.
Livana on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not my favorite Cotton Malone book. I especially don't like the fact that Pam Malone turns out to be a "good guy" at then end. She's supposed to be the nasty ex-wife!On the plus side, I really liked learning about the Library of Alexandria and the roots of religions.
sjmccreary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Second in the Cotton Malone series, this book is based on the premise that modern translations of the Old Testament are not consistent with the original versions. A rich and powerful Austrian businessman has discovered a way to benefit from the resulting outrage that would result in Israel if only this could be proven. But those original texts are long lost to history so there is no way of knowing the truth. Unless - what if the ancient library of Alexandria wasn't completely destroyed after all? So, he kidnaps Cotton Malone's son to ensure Cotton's cooperation in revealing his knowledge of the "Alexandria Link".Consistent with the other Berry novels I've read - lots of action, lots of fantasy. Predictable but fun.
LeHack on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Cotton Malone is retired from his government job as an intelligence agent when his son is abducted and his rare bookshop is blown up. Someone is trying to find the Alexandria link and only he knows where the link is now, having hidden him several years ago. His ex-wife Pam shows up, frantic to find her son. His boss, Stephanie, is trying to find out who leaked the information about the Alexandria Link - the lost library of Alexandria. Several people want to find the library and the scrolls that prove the Bible as we know it today is wrong. Berry refers to the research that was done at the end of the book. The quest can be compared to the Da Vinci Code, which was merely average (although the book was FAR better than the movie). There is intrigue and fast action that results in a page turner. The story takes us from Denmark to England to Sinai. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Berry is an author whose books I can always recommend.
marquessa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
the premise interested me, however all the political intrigue throughout the book bored me silly. I got to about 1/4 finished and just stopped reading. I wish it had more adventure and less about politics.