The Columbus Affair by Steve Berry #review

Who was Christopher Columbus? Could he have been a converso, a convert who remained a secret Jew?

That’s the intriguing question posed by this thriller as different people search for Columbus’s lost gold mine on Jamaica. Or is something else buried there, something explosive that has been hidden from history for over 500 years?

Columbus Affair coverThe Columbus Affair
by Steve Berry
Suspense Thriller
Ballantyne, 2012

In Florida, Tom Sagan is a disgraced reporter who has spent the last eight years living in obscurity, ghost writing for other authors. Depressed and estranged from his only daughter, he has decided to end his own life. But before he he can blow his brains out, someone comes to the door and upends his world. The stranger, Zachariah Simon, informs Tom that he has kidnapped Tom’s daughter Alle and will kill her if Tom refuses to exhume his father’s body. Worried about Alle, Tom agrees and learns that his father, a devout Jew, was known as The Levite and took secrets to the grave with him. Simon is an Austrian millionaire and a fanatical supporter of Israel in search of buried treasure and he believes Tom’s father was the only one who knows where it is hidden. Treasure that will change the course of Middle Eastern history.

Meanwhile, in Jamaica we meet Bené Rowe, a crime boss with a sometimes active conscience who has been coerced by the US government into working with The Simon, as he thinks of Zachariah. Bené is a Maroon, a descendant of runaway slaves who fought the British. Through Bené’s POV, we learn a lot about Jamaican history, including Columbus’s connection to the island.

The action moves from Florida and Jamaica to Vienna and Prague before all three men meet for a final confrontation in Jamaica.

This is a really fun thriller. All the characters are flawed, but only Tom is truly sympathetic. Alle has major issues with her father that lead her to make some disastrously bad decisions. Bené is complex and fascinating, but not entirely likable. Zachariah Simon is also complex, but twisted and makes for a good villain.

July is Beach Reads month at my readers group, so what’s better than a thriller? I checked it out as a downloadable book from the local library. Your local library may offer free downloadable books, too. Check it out!

I recommend The Columbus Affair to readers who enjoy thoughtful thrillers with a basis in history. If you liked The Da Vinci Code, you might enjoy The Columbus Affair, too.

What are you reading this month? Let me know in the comments and be entered for my monthly drawing for a $15 Starbucks e-gift card.


6 thoughts on “The Columbus Affair by Steve Berry #review

  1. That sounds like a fun book. I will have to read it. I am reading the new Deborah Harkness book. That’s an exciting one, too.

  2. This blog post is great. I’m just about to start reading this book and I really had no idea what it was about. After your review, I’m really looking forward to reading it. Thank you. My book club is also contemplating reading it so this review comes at the perfect time.

  3. Sounds like a great read from your review. I’ve just completed 24 CDs of A King’s Ransom, which chronicles the last years of the life of King Richard, The Lionhearted.

    I was so caught up in the story that only a reference to digging up the bones of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere reminded me it was fictionalized biography. LOL
    I can recommend it to anyone who enjoys English history. I had no idea that King Richard only spent about 6 months of his life in England. He spoke French and Latin.

    • 24 CDs? That must be a long book, but it sounds interesting. Yes, I knew Richard didn’t spend much time in England. He was on crusade for a good while and then off fighting the French. I think he was more of a warrior than a king. And also probably gay.

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