The Paris Vendetta: A Novel (Cotton Malone)
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When Napoleon Bonaparte died in exile in 1821, he took to the grave a powerful secret. As general and emperor, he had stolen immeasurable riches from palaces, national treasuries, and even the Knights of Malta and the Vatican. In his final days, his British captors hoped to learn where the loot lay hidden. But he told them nothing, and in his will he made no mention of the treasure. Or did he?
Former Justice Department operative Cotton Malone isn't looking for trouble when it comes knocking at his Copenhagen bookshop. Actually, it breaks and enters in the form of an American Secret Service agent with a pair of assassins on his heels. Malone has his doubts about the anxious young man, but narrowly surviving a ferocious firefight convinces him to follow his unexpected new ally.
Their first stop is the secluded estate of Malone's good friend, Henrik Thorvaldsen. The wily Danish tycoon has uncovered the insidious plans of the Paris Club, a cabal of multimillionaires bent on manipulating the global economy. Only by matching wits with a terrorist-for-hire, foiling a catastrophic attack, and plunging into a desperate hunt for Napoleon's legendary lost treasure can Malone hope to avert international financial anarchy.
But Thorvaldsen's real objective is much more personal: to avenge the murder of his son by the larcenous aristocrat at the heart of the conspiracy. Thorvaldsen's vendetta places Malone in an impossible quandary—one that forces him to choose between friend and country, past and present. Starting in Denmark, moving to England, and ending up in the storied streets and cathedrals of Paris, Malone plays a breathless game of duplicity and death, all to claim a prize of untold value. But at what cost?
From the Hardcover edition.
leave. Over the past year he’d listened to tape after tape of her and Ashby conspiring. Though she may well be ignorant of all that Ashby did, she was no innocent. He hugged the short side of a marble sarcophagus topped with an elaborate Renaissance carving. Dodd made her way down the tomb’s long side, the monument itself, and one of the massive columns shielding them both from view. He waited until she tried to make a dash for the next monument, then wrapped an arm around her neck, his palm
child. Poor investment decisions. Even poorer life decisions. Finally, his firing. Eight years ago. And since then—nothing. Most of his friends had abandoned him, but that was as much his fault as theirs. As his depression deepened, he’d withdrawn into himself. Amazingly, he hadn’t turned to alcohol or drugs, but neither had ever appealed to him. Self-pity was his intoxicant. He stared around at the house’s interior. He’d decided to die here, in his parents’ home. Fitting, in some morbid
apparently the interior had been locked down. There’d been a lot of shooting, which made him wonder about the lack of police or museum security. “What’s the Secret Service doing here?” As if he had to ask. “Did you happen to see one of your own? Young guy. Good looking. A bit eager. Name’s Sam Collins.” But it won him only more silence. They passed through an exhibit hall with dark red walls, more altarpieces, and three display cases in shambles. Somebody in an official capacity was really
the hotel’s famous lobby, adorned with a collection of museum-caliber antiques. He especially loved the tale of when Hemingway liberated the Ritz in 1944. Armed with machine guns, the writer and a group of Allied soldiers stormed the hotel and searched every nook and cranny. After discovering that the Nazis had all fled, they retired to the bar and ordered a round of dry martinis. In commemoration, management christened the place Bar Hemingway, which Thorvaldsen now entered, the place still
no, my good man. Do you take me for a villain? I am of an aristocratic family. A lord of the realm. A respectable financier. Not a hoodlum. Of course, your Gustave lied to me as well.” A flick of his wrist and Guildhall grabbed the man by a shoulder and one trouser leg projecting from the soutane. The tiny Corsican was vaulted upward between the parapets, Guildhall sliding him out and adjusting his grip to both ankles, the body now upside down outside the wall, twenty meters above stone