Steve Berry (novelist)

Steve Berry (born September 2, 1955) is an American author and former attorney currently living in St. Augustine, Florida.[1] He is a graduate of Mercer University's Walter F. George School of Law. He was a trial lawyer for 30 years and held elective office for 14 of those years. He is a founding member of International Thriller Writers—a group of more than 4,200 thriller writers from around the world—and served three years as its co-president.[2]

Steve Berry
Steve Berry
Steve Berry
Born (1955-09-02) September 2, 1955 (age 64)
OccupationAttorney, author
EducationJuris Doctor (J.D.)
Alma materWalter F. George School of Law
GenreThriller, suspense


Berry first appeared in print with his historical thrillers The Amber Room and The Romanov Prophecy in 2003 and 2004. A practicing attorney at the time, Berry had been writing fiction since 1990, and it took him 12 years and 85 rejections before selling a manuscript to Ballantine Books.[1] Berry credits the nuns who taught him in Catholic school with instilling the discipline needed both to craft a novel and to find a publisher.

Berry's novels have earned spots on The New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and BookSense bestseller lists. He has more than 25 million books in print, which have been translated into 40 languages and sold in 51 countries.[3]

Berry is among several thriller writers who reside in the northeast Florida area.[4]


In 2012 and 2013, Berry's historic preservation work was recognized by the American Library Association, which named him spokesperson for National Preservation Week. Among his other honors is the Royden B. Davis Distinguished Author Award; the 2013 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award given by Poets & Writers; the 2013 Anne Frank Human Writes Award; and the Silver Bullet, bestowed in 2013 by International Thriller Writers for philanthropic work. He was also appointed by the Smithsonian Board of Regents to serve on the Smithsonian Libraries Advisory Board to help promote and support libraries in their mission to provide information in all forms to scientists, curators, scholars, students, and the public at large.[3] A 2010 NPR survey named The Templar Legacy one of the top 100 thrillers ever written.[5]


Standalone novelsEdit

  • The Amber Room, Ballantine Books (August 26, 2003). ISBN 0-345-46004-9
  • The Romanov Prophecy, Ballantine Books (August 31, 2004). ISBN 0-345-46006-5
  • The Third Secret, Ballantine Books (May 17, 2005). ISBN 0-345-47613-1
  • The Columbus Affair, Ballantine Books (May 15, 2012). ISBN 978-0-345-52652-6

Cotton Malone novelsEdit

These novels star Cotton Malone, a bookseller and former and freelance spy for the fictitious covert US intelligence agency Magellan Billet.

  1. The Templar Legacy, Ballantine Books (February 21, 2006). ISBN 0-345-47615-8
  2. The Alexandria Link, Ballantine Books (January 30, 2007). ISBN 0-345-48575-0
  3. The Venetian Betrayal, Ballantine Books (December 11, 2007). ISBN 0-345-48577-7
  4. The Charlemagne Pursuit, Ballantine Books (December 2, 2008). ISBN 0-345-48579-3
  5. The Paris Vendetta, Ballantine Books (December 1, 2009). ISBN 0-345-50547-6
  6. The Emperor's Tomb, Ballantine Books (November 23, 2010). ISBN 0-345-50549-2
  7. The Jefferson Key, Ballantine Books (May 17, 2011). ISBN 0-345-50551-4
  8. The King's Deception, Ballantine Books (June 11, 2013). ISBN 978-0345526540
  9. The Lincoln Myth, Ballantine Books (May 20, 2014). ISBN 978-0345526571
  10. The Patriot Threat, Macmillan Books (March 31, 2015). ISBN 978-1250056238
  11. The 14th Colony, Minotaur Books (April 5, 2016). ISBN 978-1250056245
  12. The Lost Order, Minotaur Books (April 4, 2017). ISBN 978-1-250-05625-2
  13. The Bishop's Pawn, Minotaur Books (March 2018). ISBN 978-1250140227
  14. The Malta Exchange, Minotaur Books (March 2019). ISBN 978-1250140265
  15. The Warsaw Protocol, Minotaur Books (February 2020). ISBN 978-1250140302 [6]

Short storiesEdit

Berry has released four short stories in eBook-only form featuring side characters from the Cotton Malone novels. These stories act somewhat as prequels to The Emperor's Tomb, The Jefferson Key, The Columbus Affair, and The King's Deception, respectively. The first three are available in Three Tales from the World of Cotton Malone: The Balkan Escape, The Devil's Gold, and The Admiral's Mark (Short Stories). Each short story is also included in the paperback edition of the book it precedes.

  1. The Balkan Escape, Ballantine Books (September 13, 2010). ASIN: B003MQMZ2K (featuring Cassiopeia Vitt)
  2. The Devil's Gold, Ballantine Books (April 18, 2011). ASIN: B004U33GCW (featuring Jonathan Wyatt)
  3. The Admiral's Mark, Ballantine Books (April 2, 2012). ASIN: B007EED534
  4. The Tudor Plot, Ballantine Books (April 29, 2013). ASIN: B00C4BA3V4
  5. The Devil's Bones (with James Rollins), Simon & Schuster (December 16, 2014). ISBN 978-1-4767-8878-4 (featuring Gray Pierce from Rollins's Sigma Force series)
  6. Shadow Tag (With Raymond Khoury), Amazon Digital Services LLC (January 1, 2016). (featuring Khoury's FBI Agent, Sean Reilly, along with Cotton Malone)
  7. Past Prologue (with Diana Gabaldon), Simon & Schuster, (June 13, 2017) (featuring Diana Gabaldon's character Jamie Fraser from the Outlander book series teaming up with Cotton Malone)


  • The Cotton Malone Series, 9 Book Bundle, Ballantine Books (February 17, 2015). ISBN 978-0-812-98785-0
  • Three Tales from the World of Cotton Malone: The Balkan Escape, The Devil's Gold, and The Admiral's Mark (Short Stories), Ballantine Books (December 3, 2012). ISBN 978-0-345-54451-3

The Jefferson KeyEdit

The novel is based on the assumption that important facts about the history of the United States are completely unknown to Americans, though they continue to have many implications up to the present.

According to the book, in the very first years of the United States, the Continental Congress granted a "perpetual" Charter to a secret "Commonwealth" of privateers, which was founded during the American Revolution and rendered useful service to the young US. In later years, however, these "privateers" (in fact, pirates) acted mainly for their own private benefit, engaging in manifestly illegal activities while relying on that original Congressional authorization, and strongly resisting any attempt to disband them. In fact, all four US Presidents who got assassinated while in office - Abraham Lincoln in 1865, James A. Garfield in 1881,William McKinley in 1901 and John Kennedy in 1963 - had tried to oppose this "Commonwealth" and got assassinated as a direct result; the pirates had, in each case, located a person who had a reason to hate the President and manipulated him into unknowingly carrying out their design. Other Presidents, like Woodrow Wilson during WWI and Franklin Roosevelt in WWII, knew of this Commonwealth, recognized its secret role and made secret use of it - and thus avoided being assassinated.

In the book's present, this "Commonwealth" of privateers/pirates remains very active into the 21st Century, and wield considerable power behind the scenes. They no longer derive their profits from outright piracy on the high seas, having shifted into up-to-date lucrative forms of organized crime. But their leader, on board his private yacht, maintains "the old pirate traditions" such as "walking the plank" (in an early chapter, this is applied to an unlucky accountant whom the pirate leader wrongly suspected of betrayal).

The current President, Cotton Malone's ultimate boss, is determined to put an end to this criminal "Commonwealth" (and not let himself be assassinated in the process). But first, Malone must complete the delicate task of locating a page torn from the 18th Century Congressional Record, recording the authorization given to the "Commonwealth". Malone must follow a convoluted trail from the museum in Thomas Jefferson's estate at Monticello, where the famous Founding Father left a message in code of which the numerous visitors are not aware, and leading to a mysterious seaside cave on a desolate shore, where a glass panel protects an ancient document from the fury of the breaking waves.

Only once that centuries-old Congressional authorization been located and destroyed, ensuring that this piece of secret history will remain forever secret, is the President free to act decisively and break up the modern pirates.


External linksEdit