Book Review : The Columbus Affair (Steve Berry)

Book: The Columbus Affair
Author: Steve Berry
ISBN:  1444740784
Publisher: Hachette India
No. of Pages: 448
Book Courtesy:

Christopher Columbus went on three voyages and hoped that they would give him recognition and financial aid for his next. But, false promises were made to him, and in the end he lost more than just money. He was threatened to be imprisoned, but Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand had other plans in mind for him. He was  once again given funds to embark on a fourth journey to the New World. What happens during this journey, who suffered at the hand of his mighty sword and what he found that he hoped would stay buried forever is what we learn as author Steve Berry reveals the facts and events of The Columbus Affair.

An all-new cast of characters in a standalone thriller from the bestselling writer.
What if Christopher Columbus set out for the New World carrying the most valuable treasure known to history – the lost treasures of the Temple of Jerusalem?
That is the astounding theory that a struggling young journalist stumbles across in Steve Berry’s brilliant new thriller. As the non-stop action takes in Europe, Jamaica and the USA, the outrageous idea seems more and more credible!
A dazzling contemporary novel with a truly fascinating historical mystery at its core from the Number One New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry.
The epigraph was the deal breaker for me. I knew I had to read the book when I saw it-
For 500 years historians have pondered the question:
Who was Christopher Columbus?
The answer is simply another question:
Who do you want him to be?
The Columbus Affair is a twisted tale of five people, viz -Thomas Sagan, a Pulitzer Prize winner journalist; Alle Becket, Sagan’s daughter who hates his father; Béne Rowe, A Jamaican gangster;  Zachariah Simon, a mysterious man who is behind something that holds a lot of religious value and Christopher Columbus, who plays the link between these four lives.
Tom Sagan, a Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter has written articles about many places most would never want to visit, including dangerous war-torn regions. He has outstanding skills as a journalist. He has written 1458 articles, and out of them 1457 shook the world. His 1458th article, however, changed everybody’s opinion of him. One article took him from being an outstanding journalist to a fraud, a cheater and an adulterer.  It’s a classic case of realizing that sometimes what you see is not real. Sometimes, it’s just an illusion.
Alle Becket is a young girl in her twenties, born Christian but adopted into a Jewish family. She meets Zachariah Simon, a man who is dedicated towards saving the Jewish community. He influences her to such an extent that she decides to deceive her father.
Simon, the antagonist, is ready to do anything or everything to achieve his agenda. He possesses a lot of money accompanied by power and lots of high end connections that make him invincible at any place of the world.
Béne Rowe, who is neither a hero nor a pure villain, rather a grey character, as one could say, is behind the trail of treasure that Simon wants to find. He works closely with Simon and is also struggling with his own identity crisis.
Berry‘s work is full of historical facts and incredibly well inserted fictional elements. Another thing I liked how Berry successfully maintained the grip on the reader’s mind, even when he was juggling five very different and volatile perspectives. The character development is splendid, making for some flawed but unforgettable protagonists. He also successfully created the mysterious tale of lost treasure by writing a perfect mix of history and fictional facts about Columbus.
Having said that, what I didn’t like was that in making the story sound more authentic, Berry ended up with an overwritten and extremely tedious adventure for a story line that seems forcefully stretched all the way up to Eighty Chapters- Yes, Eighty!
Berry’s writing style possesses excessive use of short paragraphs. There are numerous pronouns that are really hard to understand for many readers. Another thing that irked me was the use of italicized paragraphs that signified reference to the past and since there are many past references, the book is full of italicized sections.
The Columbus Affair is not something that you’d want to read over and over again but still has an interesting plot and is worth reading in one sitting.
PS: Don’t forget to read the Writer’s note.
PPS: To get familiar with the storyline, read “The Admiral’s Mark”, a short story by Steve Berry.

Happy Reading :)
AnSh :)

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