The Bishop's Pawn

The Bishop's Pawn

Book - 2018
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Fifty years after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., former Justice Department operative Cotton Malone must reckon with the truth of what really happened in Memphis on April 4, 1968. It all turns on an incident from eighteen years ago, when Malone, as a young Navy lawyer, is trying hard not to live up to his burgeoning reputation as a maverick. When Stephanie Nelle, a high-level Justice Department lawyer, seeks his help to investigate a delicate situation involving a stolen rare coin and a rogue FBI faction, he jumps at the opportunity. But he soon discovers that two opposing forces--the Justice Department and the FBI--are at war over a cadre of secret files containing explosive revelations about what really happened on that fateful April day. The information could ruin innocent lives and even threaten the legacy of the civil rights movement's greatest martyr. Malone, caught in the midst of this clash, ultimately discovers a truth more shocking than anyone could have imagined.
Publisher: New York : Minotaur Books, 2018
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781250140227
1250140226
9781250194053
1250194059
9781250194060
1250194067
Branch Call Number: Fiction Ber
Characteristics: x, 340 pages ; 25 cm

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Mar 20, 2018


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USAF1969
Apr 02, 2018

Steve Berry's books, with main character Cotton Malone, have always had a historical connection. Sometimes thin, unproven history and sometimes more established events. He always does a great job of weaving a great story around whatever those events are. In THE BISHOP'S PAWN, he has taken on one of the most challenging historical events in America's history, the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. This novel, more that any other of his that I can recall, lays out more authenticated historical facts as part of the story than any of his previous ones. Some of it is little stuff that reveals glimpses of Dr. King not widely known (or at least to me), some of it direct from the Church Committee investigation by Congress and other internal documents showing government abuse of the law, and some of it is hard facts that are uncomfortable when considering someone who has become so revered by many. The book never questions Dr. King's motives regarding racial equality, the horrors of poverty and non-violent civil disobedience. Berry weaves an interesting tale that does provide a creative, alternative explanation for the motives behind the assassination and he does a truly masterful job of basing that explanation on hard facts. One thing I do like about Berry is that at the end of his books, he goes out of his way to separate what is fact from fiction in the book. [NOTE: I would suggest not reading that part until you finish the book.] In this book, that section is longer than I ever recall, largely because he has so much factual material that he drew from. Yet he is very clear that the alternative explanation of why Dr. King was assassinated, is entirely his own creation. This story is his masterpiece as an author so far. It is a great read and well crafted. Maybe more importantly, for someone of my generation, it is a vivid reminder of what was at stake and what we were watching as events in civil rights movement unfolded in the first half of the 1960s. It is also a reminder of the behind the scenes stuff we didn't know of at the time.
Well done Mr. Berry!

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