Action Adventure, Historical, Mystery, Suspense

The Last Kingdom by Steve Berry


From celebrated New York Times bestselling author, Steve Berry, comes the latest Cotton Malone adventure, in which the discovery of a lost historical document challenges the global might of the United States.

King Ludwig II of Bavaria was an enigmatic figure who was deposed in 1886, mysteriously drowning three days later.  Eccentric to the point of madness, history tells us that in the years before he died Ludwig engaged in a worldwide search for a new kingdom, one separate, apart, and in lieu of Bavaria.  A place he could retreat into and rule as he wished.  But a question remains:  did he succeed? 

Enter Cotton Malone.  After many months, Malone’s protégé, Luke Daniels, has managed to infiltrate a renegade group intent on winning Bavarian independence from Germany.  Daniels has also managed to gain the trust of the prince of Bavaria, a frustrated second son intent on eliminating his brother, the duke, and restoring the Wittelsbach monarchy, only now with him as king.  Everything hinges on a 19th century deed which proves that Ludwig’s long-rumored search bore fruit–legal title to lands that Germany, China, and the United States all now want, only for vastly different reasons.  

In a race across Bavaria for clues hidden in Ludwig’s three fairytale castles–Neuschwanstein, Linderhof and Herrenchiemsee–Malone and Daniels battle an ever-growing list of deadly adversaries, all intent on finding the last kingdom.

My Thoughts

Fans of Berry’s Cotton Malone series will find the familiar fast-paced action revolving around an historic mystery at the center of present-day plotting by assorted villains. I am never sure if the historic secrets used in Berry’s novels are fact or fiction, so I always find myself doing some research while reading his books. No different with this one.

It seemed to me throughout this typical Steve Berry adventure that he was setting the stage to retire Cotton Malone and elevate “The Frat Boy” Luke to primary badass and new “Captain America” status. However, by the end, I was not so sure!

No matter what Berry chooses to do with these characters, I am confident he will keep turning out some of the best adventure fiction out there. Fans will welcome the fast-paced, action-packed story, told in relatively short sections and chapters which makes this a fantastic weekend read.


Publication Date: February 21, 2023
Published By: Grand Central Publishing
Thanks to Netgalley for the review copy