During the Great Depression, former Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon gave President Franklin Delano Roosevelt a marked dollar bill and a cryptic note. The puzzle contained in those items now forces retired intelligence agent Cotton Malone to save the world economy.
Berry (The Lincoln Myth, 2014, etc.) yanks Malone out of his Copenhagen bookstore and sends him to Venice to shoot at a helicopter. The chopper crashes. Twenty million dollars go up in smoke—money from a scheme to fill the coffers of North Korea’s Dear Leader. Stephanie Nelle, chief of the Magellan Billet—the U.S. Justice Department’s elite intelligence group—had dispatched Malone to foil that caper, but he’s soon immersed in a scheme engineered by "self-absorbed, egotistical, and maniacal" Kim Yong Jin, the Dear Leader’s exiled half brother. That rogue is hunting U.S. tax protestor Anan Wayne Howell, who supposedly possesses evidence that the American income tax isn’t valid because "the 16th Amendment was illegal all along." There’s more: evidence that descendants of Haym Salomon are owed multiple billions for loans made to finance the American Revolution. "Bringing the United States to its knees would not be easy, but it also no longer seemed impossible" now that the long-secreted material has been uncovered by a disgruntled Treasury bureaucrat and given to Howell. The most interesting character is Hana Sung, Kim’s illegitimate daughter, who spent her childhood in a North Korean gulag, living in filth, starved and beaten. Action is frantic, major characters are static, but Malone joins forces with serious-minded Treasury agent Isabella Schaefer—an evolving player sure to appear in upcoming Magellan superspy adventures—in shoot-'em-ups from Venice to the wilds of Croatia.
Another page-turning thriller blending history, speculation and fast-paced action.