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The Lost Order: Cotton Malone    by Steve Berry order for
Lost Order
by Steve Berry
Order:  USA  Can
Griffin, 2018 (2018)
Hardcover, Softcover, Paperback, CD
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Here's another thriller involving a plot to undo democracy in the United States (a recurring theme lately) - Steve Berry's The Lost Order. This twelfth Cotton Malone mystery, one of the best in an engrossing series, builds on Smithsonian history.

The story centers on the secretive Knights of the Golden Circle, who buried caches of stolen gold and silver across the United States, protected through the decades by guardians of the order. Treasure hunters have long searched for them, with little success. Action moves back and forth in time, to reveal the key involvement of Cotton's ancestor, Angus 'Cotton' Adams, a skilled Confederate spy.

Fans will recall that Cotton was once a Justice Department agent and still has strong ties to that organization and to his former boss, Stephanie Nelle. Now he is romantically involved with Cassiopeia Vitt, and calls on her for backup when the Smithsonian chancellor (also US chief justice) hires him to search for buried treasure in western Arkansas. Knowing the series, fans are in full expectation of the roller coaster action ride that follows.

While Cotton and Cassie fight to survive, readers watch ex-president Danny Daniels attending the funeral of his old friend, Senator Alex Sherwood. After a woman, who knew Alex well, warns Danny that the Senator was murdered, he starts digging. He eventually uncovers a plot, involving Alex's widow, the power hungry Speaker of the House, and two factions of the Knights of the Golden Circle, each seeking treasure but with different notions of what to use it for.

The focus alternates between Cotton and Cassie; Stephanie Nelle (who gets pulled in as well); and Danny Daniels - with explosive action, continuing close calls, and plenty of surprises for all concerned. It becomes a race against time, to prevent a seismic shift in the balance of US political power. As always, Steve Berry offers a well researched, thought provoking and exciting read in The Lost Order - don't miss the Writer's Note at the back of the book, that separates fact from fiction.

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