The Amber Room
Barnes & Noble
The Amber Room is one of the greatest treasures ever made by man: an entire room forged of exquisite amber, from its four massive walls to its finely crafted furniture. But it is also the subject of one of history's most intriguing mysteries. Originally commissioned in 1701 by Frederick I of Prussia, the Room was later perfected Tsarskoe Selo, the Russian imperial city. In 1941, German troops invaded the Soviet Union, looting everything in their wake and seizing the Amber Room. When the Allies began the bombing of Germany in August 1944, the Room was hidden. And despite the best efforts of treasure hunters and art collectors from around the world, it has never been seen again.
Now, two powerful men have set their best operatives loose in pursuit, and the hunt has begun once more.
Life is good for Atlanta judge Rachel Cutler. She loves her job, loves her kids, and remains civil to her ex-husband, Paul. But everything changes when her father, a man who survived the horrors of World War II, dies under strange circumstances-and leaves behind clues to a secret he kept his entire life . . . a secret about something called the Amber Room.
Desperate to know the truth about her father's suspicious dealings, Rachel takes off for Germany, with Paul close behind. Shortly after arriving, they find themselves involved with a cast of shadowy characters who all claim to share their quest. But as they learn more about the history of the treasure they seek, Rachel and Paul realize they're in way over their heads. Locked in a treacherous game with ruthless professional killers and embroiled in a treasure hunt of epic proportions, Rachel and Paul suddenly find themselves on a collision course with the forces of power, evil, and history itself.
A brilliant adventure and a scintillating tale of intrigue, deception, art, and murder, The Amber Room is a classic tale of suspense-and the debut of a strong new voice in the world of the international thriller.
"Sexy, illuminating, and confident. The Amber Room is my kind of thriller -- a globe-trotting treasure hunt packed with exotic locales, sumptuous art, and ruthless villains. Steve Berry writes with the self-assured style of a veteran."
— Dan Brown, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Da Vinci Code
"Magnificently engrossing, with wonderful characters and a plot that speeds, twists, and turns. Pure intrigue. Pure fun."
— Clive Cussler, #1 New York Times bestselling author of White Death
"The Amber Room is a riveting cat-and-mouse game set within the world of international art thieves, assassins, and age-old rivalries. From the opening shocker set in a Nazi concentration camp to the chilling battle within a mountain-top castle, Steve Berry carries the reader on a harrowing journey into a past best left undiscovered. Not to be missed!"
— James Rollins, New York Times bestselling author of Amazonia and Ice Hunt
"Vivid, fast moving, beautifully imagined, convincing."
— David Poyer, author of Black Storm and Fire on the Waters
"Steve Berry has written a tremendous first novel. He weaves vivid details into a lightning quick read."
— Stephen Frey, New York Times bestselling author of Silent Partner and The Day Trader
"Maximum Bob, in drag, meets Indiana Jones's evil twin in Steve Berry's new thriller, a fanciful flight into a half-century old conundrum . . . Reader's with an appreciation for art, and a respect for detail, will find The Amber Room hard to put down."
— Georgia State Bar Journal
"From the beginning chapter, with the torture of stubborn German soldiers in a concentration camp, to the slam-bang climactic shootout in a remote mansion in the Czech Republic, the pace never flags even as great doses of history and legend are doled out by the author in Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code) style."
— Flint Journal (Michigan)
"A splashy debut."
— Library Journal
". . . a fast- moving, globe-hopping tale of long-lost treasure and shadowy bad guys. Fans of Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code" will find much to like here . . . This is Berry's first novel, and it's clear he did voluminous research on the subject. . . . compelling and fun."
— San Francisco Chronicle
". . . a first thriller that will easily keep you entertained . . ."
— Denver Post
"What a spectacular debut from lawyer turned writer Steve Berry whose blend of history and mystery equals one of the best thrillers ever. If you liked The Da Vinci Code, The Confessor, or The Eighth Day, you will undoubtedly enjoy this exciting page turner. . . . There is a secret society, medieval castles and churches, unscrupulous art collectors, assassins whose job it is to steal already stolen art, a helpful Europol agent, and the redneck adventurer whose reputation and wallet depend on his success in finding the Amber Room. This is a great read that you definitely won't want to miss."
— The Kingston Observer
"Give this man credit . . . the novel is plotted cleverly and written with style and substance. A welcome change."
"From Russia with more than love . . . Berry has the ability to keep several skeins moving . . . a fast-paced plot and excellent historical information. It's a good read."
— Times-Picayune (New Orleans)
"The scenery descriptions are vibrant, filled with rich and colorful details, . . . The real mystery of what became of the Amber Room is fascinating in its own right, but this fictional tale is also worth reading. Mystery and history fans alike will enjoy this suspenseful thriller."
— Futures Mysterious Anthology Magazine
"A hefty thriller. . . Berry has obviously done his homework. . . all the right ingredients are in place . . ."
— Publishers Weekly
"Fast-paced action . . . Informative and historically correct . . . Entertaining."
— Nashville Tennessean
"An epic thriller . . . Superior . . . (Berry) is definitely one to watch."
— Deadly Pleasures
"The Amber Room races from continent to continent and pulls the reader along at high speed. This is a well-researched and enjoyable debut novel."
— Mystery Scene
". . . an intriguing novel . . . the action races from Georgia to Germany to the Czech Republic . . . on a treasure hunt that captures the imagination."
— The Calgary Sun
"Berry puts this mystery into a plausible thriller that . . . keeps moving . . . his extensive research in Russia and Germany pays off because the Amber Room really is in itself a great mystery."
— The Globe and Mail (Toronto, Canada)
"Get it while it's hot."
— MetroMagazine (Raleigh, North Carolina)
"Fast-paced and suspenseful, Berry's historically detailed novel is a thrill ride. With down-to-earth characters involved in high stakes intrigue and murder, the author appeals to the treasure hunter in all of us."
— Romantic Times Book Club Magazine
"A winner the first time around . . . combines the pace and style of Brown's Da Vinci Code and densely plotted espionage of Daniel Silva's Gabriel Allon novels . . . no surprise Berry was signed for a two-book deal with characters such as these."
— Florida Times-Union
— Juneau Empire (Alaska)
"A THOROUGHLY ENJOYABLE THRILLER. The action is fast and furious as the hapless couple is pursued through ancient churches and castles with secret passages and rooms galore. I'm ready for Steve Berry's next novel."
— Times Record (Wichita Falls, TX)
"A stunning first novel."
— NewsOk.com (The Oklahoman)
"A well-told tale of greed and conspiracy."
— Winston-Salem Journal
"This powerful thriller uses real-life events to weave an enigmatic tale that will hook the reader from the opening chapters. . . . Descriptive, vivid, and well detailed, The Amber Room ably employs the plot device of the amateur "spy" caught way over his head in a realm of political intrigue. . . . Expertly plotted and full of slick action, this forceful first novel bodes well for this author on the rise."
— The Barnes & Noble Review
"This fast-moving thriller leads readers on an adventuresome discovery about theft, deception and ownership at any cost."
— Manhattan Public Library Review
"Berry's writing is surprisingly surefooted and confident as he takes a subject that is of limited and specialized interest and uses it as a vehicle for a thrilling debut novel with certain widespread appeal. There are not many writers working today with the ability to do this—Jeffery Deaver comes most immediately to mind—but Berry certainly joins those talented ranks with The Amber Room. Let's look, and hope, for more from Berry soon."
FROM THE BLOG WORLD
". . . first in the notable debut novels of the quarter."
"The Amber Room is a glorious chase. A romp through history and through Europe looking for a treasure that hasn't been seen in decades. . . . I lost track of where I was and what time it was while I read this, totally lost in the world created by Mr. Berry."
"This mix of art, history, and suspense is a perfect combination for those Da Vinci Code fans looking for another spine-tingling read. . . . A provocative, intensely driven debut for Mr. Berry."
"It is a vivid journey. . . a good paced thriller, rich with history. Readable and enjoyable . . . I expect we will hear a lot more from this new author."
— Storyteller: A Novel View (anovelview.com)
"If you're looking for something after The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown has a blurb on the cover,) this could be your book. A fascinating blend of history and suspense involving the Amber Room . . . it was impossible to put down this fast-paced treasure hunt."
"A riveting and engrossing novel with interesting characters and diabolical villains!"
". . . a fast moving thriller. It has everything for a movie of the week--torture, murder, search for stolen goods, beautiful works of art including a room made entirely of amber and gilded wood, castles on the Rhine, and caverns in the mountains . . . if you like thrillers, then try this one. You won't be disappointed."
"Steve Berry has written a tremendous first novel based loosely on fact that carries the reader on a wild ride in the world of assassins, international art thieves, and rivals who will stop at nothing to acquire what they want. If you read and liked The Da Vinci Code, this is a book for you."
"Clearly The Amber Room is a quality international thriller. . . . Quick, engaging and historic. Steve Berry has created some remarkable characters; I'd love to see more of them. The story is tight and compelling. The narrative flows and the dialogue is crisp. The Amber Room was easy to get into and hard to put down."
— Curled Up With A Good Book (curledup.com)
TUESDAY, MAY 6, THE PRESENT
Judge Rachel Cutler glanced over the top of her tortoiseshell glasses. The lawyer had said it again, and this time she wasn't going to let the comment drop. "Excuse me, counselor."
"I said the defendant moves for a mistrial."
"No. Before that. What did you say?"
"I said, 'Yes, sir.' "
"If you haven't noticed, I'm not a sir."
"Quite correct, Your Honor. I apologize."
"You've done that four times this morning. I made a note each time."
The lawyer shrugged. "It seems such a trivial matter. Why would Your Honor take the time to note my simple slip of the tongue?"
The impertinent bastard even smiled. She sat erect in her chair and glared down at him. But she immediately realized what T. Marcus Nettles was doing. So she said nothing.
"My client is on trial for aggravated assault, Judge. Yet the court seems more concerned with how I address you than with the issue of police misconduct."
She glanced over at the jury, then at the other counsel table. The Fulton County assistant district attorney sat impassive, apparently pleased that her opponent was digging his own grave. Obviously, the young lawyer didn't grasp what Nettles was attempting. But she did. "You're absolutely right, counselor. It is a trivial matter. Proceed."
She sat back in her chair and noticed the momentary look of annoyance on Nettles's face. An expression that a hunter might give when his shot missed the mark.
"What of my motion for mistrial?" Nettles asked.
"Denied. Move on. Continue with your summation."
Rachel watched the jury foreman as he stood and pronounced a guilty verdict. Deliberations had taken only twenty minutes.
"Your Honor," Nettles said, coming to his feet. "I move for a presentence investigation prior to sentencing."
"I move that sentencing be delayed."
Nettles seemed to sense the mistake he'd made earlier. "I move for the court to recuse itself."
"On what grounds?"
"To whom or what?"
"To myself and my client."
"The court has shown prejudice."
"With that display this morning about my inadvertent use of sir."
"As I recall, counselor, I admitted it was a trivial matter."
"Yes, you did. But our conversation occurred with the jury present, and the damage was done."
"I don't recall an objection or a motion for mistrial concerning the conversation."
Nettles said nothing. She looked over at the assistant DA. "What's the State's position?"
"The State opposes the motion. The court has been fair."
She almost smiled. At least the young lawyer knew the right answer.
"Motion to recuse denied." She stared at the defendant, a young white male with scraggly hair and a pockmarked face. "The defendant shall rise." He did. "Barry King, you've been found guilty of the crime of aggravated assault. This court hereby remands you to the Department of Corrections for a period of twenty years. The bailiff will take the defendant into custody."
She rose and stepped toward an oak-paneled door that led to her chambers. "Mr. Nettles, could I see you a moment?" The assistant DA headed toward her, too. "Alone."
Nettles left his client, who was being cuffed, and followed her into the office.
"Close the door, please." She unzipped her robe but did not remove it. She stepped behind her desk. "Nice try, counselor."
"Earlier, when you thought that jab about sir and ma'am would set me off. You were getting your butt chapped with that half-cocked defense, so you thought me losing my temper would get you a mistrial."
He shrugged. "You gotta do what you gotta do."
"What you have to do is show respect for the court and not call a female judge sir. Yet you kept on. Deliberately."
"You just sentenced my guy to twenty years without the benefit of a presentence hearing. If that isn't prejudice, what is?"
She sat down and did not offer the lawyer a seat. "I didn't need a hearing. I sentenced King to aggravated battery two years ago. Six months in, six months' probation. I remember. This time he took a baseball bat and fractured a man's skull. He's used up what little patience I have."
"You should have recused yourself. All that information clouded your judgment."
"Really? That presentence investigation you're screaming for would have revealed all that, anyway. I simply saved you the trouble of waiting for the inevitable."
"You're a fucking bitch."
"That's going to cost you a hundred dollars. Payable now. Along with another hundred for the stunt in the courtroom."
"I'm entitled to a hearing before you find me in contempt."
"True. But you don't want that. It'll do nothing for that chauvinistic image you go out of your way to portray."
He said nothing, and she could feel the fire building. Nettles was a heavyset, jowled man with a reputation for tenacity, surely unaccustomed to taking orders from a woman.
"And every time you show off that big ass of yours in my court, it's going to cost you a hundred dollars."
He stepped toward the desk and withdrew a wad of money, peeling off two one-hundred-dollar bills, crisp new ones with the swollen Ben Franklin. He slapped both on the desk, then unfolded three more.
One bill dropped.
The second bill fell.
The third Ben Franklin fluttered down.