Five stars? Absolutely. This book was amazing and without a doubt one of the best books I've read in a very long time. I have never read a book by Steve Berry prior to this one and I am thrilled I won this one through the GoodReads First Reads giveaways. I will definitely be purchasing more books by Mr. Berry.
I do not understand the criticisms of this book that other reviews have mentioned. I had absolutely no problem with the momentum of the plot. As far as I was concerned every character, every tale, every sentence was completely critical to the story. I fell in love with some of the characters, even the villainous characters, and I loved the complexity that Mr. Berry built in to each one. Tom Sagan, a disgraced former Pulitzer-Prize winning investigative reporter who lost his family and his career, Alle Sagan Becket who felt betrayed and abandoned by her disgraced father and who, seeking acceptance and validity, fell victim to an insane terrorist, Bene Rowe, a man seeking to clarify his own identity while struggling with who his ancestors were and the man he currently is, and Zachariah Simon the insane terrorist who will betray everyone and stop at nothing to incite a war to save his people. The story is fantastic and is woven so intricately that I could barely bring myself to ever put the book down.
I adored the writing style. I loved how the story was continually shifting character perspective. It keeps the story from becoming stale and created a deeper understanding of the story as a whole. It was not a tale of Tom Sagan, or Alle Becket, or Bene Rowe, or Zachariah Simon, it was a tale of all of these characters on different quests to different ends through the same treasure. I found it reminiscent of the character shifts in William Faulkner's "As I Lay Dying." I also loved Mr. Berry's use of choppy shifting sentences. The choppy sentences, such as:
I didn't know if I could.
If I should.
I would have to try.
(I made those up, they aren't in the story but that style is) was beautifully included in the context of the book. It broke up the fluid writing of the rest of the book and reflected the chaos of a moment, or a thought process, and it was brilliantly used.
I have no complaints with this book. It is definitely a new favorite of mine and if Mr. Berry's other books are as well-written as this one I may have found a new author to add to my list of favorites.