Why yes, I will drop everything I am doing to read a new book by Steve Berry and that is exactly what I did when the publisher sent me a finished copy of his latest novel The Columbus Affair, in stores on May 15, 2012. Let me clear something up right from the start. The Columbus Affair is not part of the author’s wildly successful Cotton Malone series, but rather is a stand alone novel. While I was initially excited for a new book, I was kind of hesitant about moving on to a different cast of characters. Nonetheless, I decided to give it a shot and it was so worth it. As a matter of fact, as much as I like the Cotton Malone series, The Columbus Affair far surpasses any of the books in that series.
‘Speak the truth and speak it ever, cost it what it will’
The Columbus Affair, like the author’s previous books, takes us to a whole host of locations as the story unfolds. From the streets of Prague and Vienna, to sunny Orlando. None of the locations were more central to the plot than the beautiful island of Jamaica. Not only do you get exposed to Jamaica as it is currently, but you also get a fabulous history and language lesson. Steve Berry manages to show you the Jamaica of the past and the present and believe me, it’s much more than just a bunch of nice beaches. It was such a joy to see a part of my own heritage and culture explored and explained to the wider masses as part of this book.
‘Jamaica has a little of everything but not quite enough of anything’
On top of the locale, history and language lessons that are mixed in a part of the story, I really enjoyed the characters in The Columbus Affair. I absolutely loved that every last character was flawed and not one character was suffering from what I like to call ‘the white knight syndrome’. The protagonist, Tom Sagan, was written in such a way that you were never quite sure just how much of a ‘good guy’ he really is. Just when you think you have him figured out, he would do something to blow that assumption right out of the water.
‘Di innocent and di fool could pass fi twin’
What can I even say about the story that Steve Berry has created in The Columbus Affair, using Christopher Columbus and his voyages to The New World as the basis, other than to say it absolutely masterful. The author takes you on an almost 2000 year old mystery and manages to tie it into some of the most important periods in history. If you want to pick up one book this spring that will both engage and challenge you, I recommend that you make it The Columbus Affair by Steve Berry.