The Atlas Maneuver by Steve Berry: 4.5****

Cotton Malone is back for his 18th mission and for me this was a return to form for both Berry and Malone. Malone is now in his early 50’s and with age he is now a free agent, able to pick and choose his cases, as well as more permanent characters who help resolve the problems, of which there are many.. And, as with all of Berry’s books, Malone’s adventures always have an international setting. What I liked is that Cotton is handling on situation in Switzerland and then Morocco, Cassiopeia is handling something else in a different part of Switzerland and Luxembourg, which also includes European Bureau Chief Derreck Koger who was introduced in the last book. The story begins in 1945 in the Philippines at the end of WW2 with the burial of stolen gold by the Japanese. We then move the timeline to present day and concentrate on banking and Bitcoin issues in Switzerland. Oh, and lets not forget to stop off in Russia where a paid assassin is handling a removal for the Bank of St. George. Really well plotted with each chapter going back and forth between differing characters and locales. As with all of Berry’s books, history plays a major part in the plot and at the end of the book he explains what is fact, what is fiction and to me he does a masterful job of weaving reality and fiction. Along the way he gives us some fantastic economic explanations on currency, debt, Bitcoin, blockchain and helped me understand this entire situation a whole lot more than I did when I began the book. Yep, Cotton Malone is back in top form and this book is one of Berry’s best!!

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