Steve Berry's novel, "The Jefferson Key," mixes history and fiction in a manner that is both enjoyable and intriguing.
Cotton Malone is a former Justice Department operative. He goes to New York after being summoned by an email from his old boss. When he arrives at the destination, he is on time to stop an assassination that was planned for President Danny Daniels. He also realizes that he had been set up to take the blame if the assassination was successful.
Going back in history, we learn of an attempt on President Andrew Jackson's life after which he accused a person named Abner of being the mastermind. He removes Abner's letter of marque from congressional records and offers a code so that Abner and his heirs would have a burning desire to find this and have a key to removing the President's condemnation of their acts.
Jonathan Wyatt was a former agent with the agency and holds a grudge against them and against Cotton Malone. It is he who tries to set Malone up for actions against the President.
There are a group of privateers or pirates whose forefathers were connected to Abner. They were sea captains in colonial times. Led by Quintin Hale's forefather, they accepted amnesty from England and acted against the Spanish on the seas. This group, known as The Commonwealth, would continue to act against enemies of the United States and sell their pirated goods on the black market. They also have their hands in four Presidential assassinations that have taken place.
There is plenty of action, changing loyalties and political intrigue as we learn of the history of the pirates or privateers as they like to be called. We also follow the inquiry of how these Captains learned of President Danny Daniels' trip to New York to set up the assassination plot.
Cotton Malone comes to life as a character that the President can count on. Quintin Hale is also a character who is different and of interest.
Although I had difficulty buying into the intricate plot, I found the story moved quickly and was interesting to read.
With the puzzle that Jackson created and the rush to solve the riddle, readers of "The Da Vinci Code" will be entertained by this novel.