The Paris Vendetta

Written by Steve Berry
Review by Marina Oliver

In this modern thriller we have a secret society planning to gain power by manipulating the world’s finances, a man determined to avenge the death of his son caused by an aristocratic terrorist, various secret agents, and a search for the reputed treasure hoard of Napoleon. The scene shifts kaleidoscopically from Egypt to Copenhagen, to Corsica, to Paris, to England – even to a private jet over the Atlantic, with minor side trips to St Helena.

Keeping track of all these elements in rapid-fire scene changes is complicated, especially as there is no indication of which of the too-many characters is the protagonist. There is sometimes no hint as to which character is speaking, and a great deal of swift one-liner dialogue. The scenes are often too short (there are several scenes no more than five lines long) for a reader to become interested. Little in this novel interested me.

There are snippets of Napoleonic information, but the opening third was slow, indeed boring, as I felt no empathy with any of the characters or their preoccupations. I did not care whether they solved the mystery, foiled the crooks, found the treasure, or indeed died before the end of the book. I understand this novel is one of a series, an example of the newly popular crossover conspiracy fiction sub-genre using historical mysteries in a modern setting (what about Josephine Tey’s The Daughter of Time?) but I will not be seeking out more from this author.