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The Jefferson Key (Cotton Malone, #7)
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The Jefferson Key (Cotton Malone #7)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  16,232 Ratings  ·  1,168 Reviews
Four United States presidents have been assassinated -- in 1865, 1881, 1901, and 1963 -- each murder seemingly unrelated and separated by time.

But what if those presidents were all killed for the same reason: a clause in the United States Constitution -- contained within Article 1, Section 8 -- that would shock Americans?

This question is what faces former Justice Departmen

Hardcover, 456 pages
Published May 17th 2011 by Ballantine Books
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Nov 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourite-books
Hang on to your Seat – It’s a Roller Coaster!
Steve Berry is a favourite author and his recent book does not disappoint. After reading just a few electrifying paragraphs suddenly it would leap effortlessly to yet another scene creating an exhilarating roller coaster of a ride throughout the entire book. Quite remarkable as other books can confuse the reader by jumping back and forth. But not so with the Jefferson Key. It flowed along smoothly, and was a very exciting, suspenseful read. Highly rec
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Steve Berry is a bright guy who writes thrillers that are great for people with attention deficit. You get to change location and subject every couple of paragraphs. Wild global ping-pong kinda stuff. When you get to the end, you think well, that was sure a nice ride, but I have no idea what I just read.
Speaking of rides, best damn scene in the whole book is the motorcycle ride down the stairway of a fancy hotel!
Feb 18, 2012 rated it did not like it
This book started out good. I was really enjoying it and planned to read the rest of the series, then...

The action middle of the book has too many characters doing too many things at once. The text skips around so fast you can't follow what is going on with any one character for very long. Even in the center of the character's story, there are single sentences that don't fit with the narrative just popped in. seems like there is some challenge out there for writers to write the most dem
Bob Corrigan
Apr 09, 2012 rated it it was ok
Ugh. I sometimes (often!) wonder how my opinion of a particular book differs so radically from the mainstream view. ? Different tastes, I guess. Anyway, no - I really didn't like this book at all. It irritated me no end. This is one of those 'DaVinci' genre books, complete with all the trimmings: a dark historical secret, a secret group of men that exists to this day, a coded message that no one can break, droppings of historical interest here and there (in this case, the history of piracy - whi ...more
Jul 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Not as entertaining a book as I am used to from Berry, but still a great effort. The book examines the presidential assassinations and how they all tie together, through an underground group, The Commonwealth.

Berry also examines the world of pirates and privateers in this latest edition of the Cotton Malone series. Malone stays on this side of the Atlantic and pits him against this underground group and his nemesis from the short story The Devil's Gold.

The storyline did drag a little at times, b
As always, Steve Berry spins one hell of a yarn!

For this book, Berry has set his story inside the U.S. and involves the earliest years of the country, when there was no military. Instead the founding fathers offered letters of mark to four individuals - either privateers or pirates, depending who you talk to - who could bedevil the young America's enemies on behalf of the government. In return, they are promised immunity from any prosecution, and the right to keep most of the spoils they acquire
Steve Berry's "The Jefferson Key," mixes history and fiction to produce a story that is interesting and intriguing.

Cotton Malone, former Justice Dept. operative, is summoned to New York only to be caught up in an attempt on the President's life. He manages to stop the assassination and realizes that he had been set up to take the blame if it succeeded.

The story begins with an attempt on Andrew Jackson's life after he informed a group of pirates or privateers, that their services were no longer d
May 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2011
Excellent read, but it was a bit difficult keeping all the players straight. The POV kept changing, sometimes as often as every paragraph. Really enjoyed the storyline and all the backstabbing! I hadn't visited with Cotton Malone since THE ALEXANDRIA LINK, and really shouldn't stay away so long.
May 14, 2011 rated it it was ok
I was excited to receive and review this book. The cover was a hook and I was interested as I have read another book by Mr. Berry and it was great.

1) My advanced edition had three blurbs from authors David Baldacci, Vince Flynn and Brad Meltzer. I have read everything they have written and they raved about this book so I was ready to start.

2) The opening was interesting and hooked me. It had everything you would need. Two assassination attempts on President's, letters of Marque, and a cipher. T
Susan Johnson
May 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Cotton Malone has taken me on some exciting adventures from the secrets of the Alexandria Library, to a lost fortune of Napoleon's and to an undiscovered tomb of terra cotta warriors in China. This time there are no visits to his bookstore in Denmark because the action takes place in America. The plots involves American pirates, the link between the four presidents assassinated while in office and missing pages from the "Congressional Reacord".
There are a lot of people involved in this book. Th
Nov 01, 2014 rated it did not like it
Mr. Berry was recommended to me. I like conspiracy books, I enjoyed reading The DaVinci Code and so I assumed I'd enjoy this one as well.

Not at all.

The first 30 pages were intense. But then the book turned into a mish-mosh of jumbled scenes

Positives: The only positive of this book, in my opinion, was I liked the premise of the book. Definitely interesting. But the premise was the only good thing.


1) Too many--and I mean WAY too many--main characters. There was not really one protagonist
The latest in the Cotton Malone series, in this one Steve Berry has taken a slight departure from the norm and, to me, not for the better.

For the first time in the series the book is set wholly in the USA. I don't have an issue with this as, being an Australian, the US is as foreign as Europe or Asia. The locations were well researched although it would have been nice to have more interesting ones. Monticello was good as was Pamlico Sound and the treasure resting place which I won't give away. O
Nov 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: thrillers, ebooks, fiction
As with previous Cotton Malone outings by Berry, this one does a nice job of blending fact and fiction in an interesting thriller. Also like previous outings (and many thrillers in general), the reader has to accept certain unrealistic rules and stereotypes, including good guys who are expert marksmen while the bad guys can't hit the side of a barn, bad guys who have a chance to simply shoot and kill good guys but don't (for whatever reason), and government good guy types who don't seem to be co ...more
Sep 27, 2012 rated it it was ok
This is one of those political thrillers with chases and clues and spies and secrets. However, I was annoyed throughout by the narration changing so quickly from location and character--several story lines all playing at the same time that eventually coalesce but not until the end. Was it supposed to heighten suspense? Every time a climax or key turning point was reached, the story changed settings. And I mean like every five pages. You get used to it, but I didn't like it. I found the history o ...more
Sep 09, 2011 rated it liked it
The premise of Cotton Malone investigating a possible conspiracy in our American history had me wanting to read this book as soon as it was released. Previous novels in the Cotton series were fantastic and I was going into this without any care in the world only to find myself disappointed in the long run. I was definitely drawn into the book at the beginning but then was thrown in as many different directions as possible. From dealing with the President one moment to quickly being shifted to co ...more
Mar 20, 2013 rated it did not like it
Didn't end up finishing this one, just skimmed the last half since it was so boring. So many gun fights that have no purpose, so many flashbacks when there are way better ways to get info out, far too many narrators who were all written as if they were the same person so I couldn't tell them apart, and one of the coolest topics (pirates) turned into a really boring book about politics. When I first read the description of this, I thought it sounded like it might be the best book in the series ye ...more
Apr 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways
This book was definitely different than previous Cotton Malone books, in that it takes place in the United States. I like it just as much if not more than the previous books. I think that Steve Berry has taken Cotton in a different direction in this book and it works! Stephanie Nelle is not as evident and while I miss Henrik Thorvaldsen, his absence is not noticeable.

This book is a quick, quick summer read - perfect for traveling or the beach. The action is fast paced and is happening simultaneo
Apr 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
This is the first Steve Berry book I have read and I am definitely hooked! This book is so fast paced and often has action happening in two or more locations at once. I love Casseopeia and Cotton - they make a great couple and one thing I love about Steve Berry is no gratuitous sex! That would definitely spoil it for me.

Put this on your "to-read" list for summer and add some more Steve Berry books. You will love them.
Lisa Johnson
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Title: The Jefferson Key
Author: Steve Berry
Pages: 480
Year: 2011
Publisher: Ballantine Books
My rating 5 out of 5 stars.
Each book I read of Steve Berry’s is for me a lesson in the nuance of historical events and people. While the book is a work of fiction, at the end he kindly separates the facts from the fiction of his work. I am constantly amazed at the number of events that have escaped my notice or memory that make the novels all the more captivating to me from start to finish.
Cotton Malone rea
Steve Berry, un nome una garanzia. Almeno per me.

Il sigillo dei traditori è stata un'ottima prima lettura per il 2017: una trama accattivante, un set di personaggi e uno stile di scrittura veloce e dinamico ( anche se a volte pure troppo lo ammetto ) hanno contribuito a renderlo tale.

Cotton Malone, ex-agente operativo del Ministero di Giustizia americano, viene convocato a NY dal suo ex-capo Stephanie Nelle e si ritrova invischiato in un complotto di proporzioni nazionali. Fra assassinii p
Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2018
This is Book 7 of the Cotton Malone series. It was an enjoyable read but my only complaint is the constant shifting from one perspective of the story to another. It did not allow for the story to flow properly. I enjoyed learning about the privateers, the Jefferson Wheel and the privateers part in the different presidential assassinations which is fiction but made for an interesting plot-line. I look forward to reading the next book in the Cotton Malone series as I do enjoy the historical aspect ...more
Nov 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 ster
Einde was een tikkeltje ongeloofwaardig.
Voor de rest gewoon een fijne thriller.
May 31, 2017 rated it did not like it
This book was rough going. I loved the ideas pirates, presidents, politics, assassinations, and a cipher! The guts of the book were solid but the story really failed to deliver. It was really in need of some better editing as the middle 90% of the book wandered endlessly and seemingly without purpose. It jumped between characters, plot, and locations so much that many of the characters just became interchangeable to me. I stopped caring about any of the political plot once I could no longer comp ...more
When it comes to the Cotton Malone books, I'm somewhat of a glutton for punishment. One of the earlier ones was actually rather enjoyable--I think it was The Romanov Prophecy--but I guess I read them because I like to see what sort of crazy has been cooked up this time. At least it seems that as time goes one, Berry gets better editors. I'll never forget him referring to the "Palais des Popes" in Avignon. Because "popes" is totally how you say "pope" in French.

The Jefferson Key starts off intere
Zohar -
May 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
“The Jefferson Key” by Steve Berry is the seventh book in the fictional series featuring Cotton Malone. The story takes place in the United States, which I understand is a departure from previous books in the series.

Cotton Malone gets an email from his boss to show up in NYC at a certain time in a certain hotel room. What Malone doesn’t know is that he is being setup to take the fall in a bold assassination attempt against sitting US president Danny Daniels.

Malone and his girlfriend, Cassiopeia
Candace Salima
Mar 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Ages 14 and Up
Recommended to Candace by: Steve Berry
The Jefferson Key by Steve Berry is another “must read.” I’m sure I’ll review a book soon that I don’t care for, but it’s not this book, and it’s not this day.

“Cotton Malone is known for his overseas exploits. A former-Justice Department operative, who can’t stay out of trouble, he’s found adventures in all parts of Europe (The Templar Legacy, The Paris Vendetta), Central Asia (The Venetian Betrayal), Antarctica (The Charlemagne Pursuit), the Middle East (The Alexandria Link), and China (The Emp
I love Steve Berry's books. Have read them all, with great pleasure. I love his character Cotton Malone. But I have to be honest & say this was not my favorite. Usually he has me hook, line & sinker no later than chapter 2, but with "The Jefferson Key" it took a lot longer than that. I was a little more into it around  Chapter 8 and was finally engaged around Chapter 14. That took too much time Mr. Berry!

The pacing is fast enough & all the usual suspects are here. Stephanie Nelle, s
Jul 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 52-in-2011
The Jefferson Key by Steve Barry (pp. 480)

Steve Barry apparently read the feedback of his last novel and righted the course. This time ex-Magillen Billet operative, Cotton Malone is on US soil for the duration of the book. An assassination attempt against President Daniels turns into a treasure hunt involving a cipher message left by Andrew Jackson using an encoding scheme created by Thomas Jefferson to locate documents signed by George Washington that have the ability to takedown some very powe
Jul 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Cotton Malone finds himself in the deadly cross hairs of a political game of cat and mouse, where the stakes are high. When Cotton receives an invitation to meet his old boss, Stephanie Nelle, Cotton accepts. Cotton enters the hotel room where he is to meet Stephanie but she is not there. When Cotton realizes that he has walked into a trap it is too late. Cotton is than captured and charged temporary for the attempted assassination of President Danny Daniels. Once President Daniels learns that C ...more
Christopher Bunn
Jul 09, 2014 rated it did not like it
My wife has a (very much appreciated) habit of randomly selecting books for me when she's at the library. Hardback books with shiny covers that attract the eye like tinfoil attracts magpies. I love her for that (and for many other things).

However, this method means mixed results, sort of like those boxes of Christmas candy that get handed around at the office party. Sometimes you win the lottery and find yourself biting into a delicious nougat wrapped in dark chocolate. Other times you find you
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Historical Fictio...: Has anyone read The Jefferson Key? 3 34 Apr 06, 2012 11:20AM  
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.
Steve Berry is the New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author of The Lost Order , The 14th Colony , The Patriot Threat , 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 Bet
More about Steve Berry...

Other Books in the Series

Cotton Malone (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • The Templar Legacy (Cotton Malone, #1)
  • The Alexandria Link (Cotton Malone, #2)
  • The Venetian Betrayal (Cotton Malone, #3)
  • The Charlemagne Pursuit (Cotton Malone, #4)
  • The Paris Vendetta (Cotton Malone, #5)
  • The Emperor's Tomb (Cotton Malone, #6)
  • The King's Deception (Cotton Malone, #8)
  • The Lincoln Myth (Cotton Malone, #9)
  • The Patriot Threat (Cotton Malone, #10)
  • The 14th Colony (Cotton Malone #11)

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“Follow your heart. It rarely leads you astray. It's thinking that gets us into trouble.” 12 likes
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