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Cotton Malone Books in Order: How to read Steve Berry series?

Books and spies, books about spies… Cotton Malone loves books and spying!

Who is Cotton Malone?

Written by the American author and former attorney Steve Berry, the Cotton Malone series is about Cotton Malone (of course), one-time top operative with the Magellan Billet, a division inside thethe U.S. Justice Department.

After leaving the Billet, Cotton Malone moved to Amsterdam and purchased a old and rare bookstore. From time to time, he will be called back by his old boss at the Billet to assist in various investigations.

Cotton Malone Books in Order:


  1. The Templar Legacy – The ancient order of the Knights Templar possessed untold wealth and absolute power over kings and popes … until the Inquisition. But now two forces vying for the treasure have learned that it is not at all what they thought it was. Cotton Malone is enjoying his quiet new life as an antiquarian book dealer in Copenhagen when an unexpected call to action reawakens his hair-trigger instincts—and plunges him back into the cloak-and-dagger world he thought he’d left behind.
  2. The Alexandria Link – Cotton Malone’s quiet existence is shattered when he receives an anonymous e-mail: “You have something I want. You’re the only person on earth who knows where to find it. Go get it. You have 72 hours. If I don’t hear from you, you will be childless.” His horrified ex-wife confirms that the threat is real: Their teenage son has been kidnapped.
  3. The Venetian Betrayal – In 323 B.C.E, having conquered Persia, Alexander the Great set his sights on Arabia, then suddenly succumbed to a strange fever. Locating his final resting place—unknown to this day—remains a tantalizing goal for both archaeologists and treasure hunters. Now the quest for this coveted prize is about to heat up. And Cotton Malone will be drawn into an intense geopolitical chess game.
  4. The Charlemagne Pursuit – As a child, Cotton Malone was told that his father died in a submarine disaster in the North Atlantic. But what he now learns stuns him: His father’s sub was a secret nuclear vessel lost on a highly classified mission beneath the ice shelves of Antarctica. Twin sisters Dorothea Lindauer and Christl Falk are also determined to find out what became of their father, who died on the same submarine.


  1. The Paris Vendetta – Cotton Malone isn’t looking for trouble when it comes knocking at his Copenhagen bookshop. Actually, it breaks and enters in the form of an American Secret Service agent with a pair of assassins on his heels. Malone has his doubts about the anxious young man, but narrowly surviving a ferocious firefight convinces him to follow his unexpected new ally.
  2. The Emperor’s Tomb – Cotton Malone has received an anonymous note carrying an unfamiliar Web address. Logging on, he’s shocked to see Cassiopeia Vitt, a woman who’s saved his life more than once, being tortured at the hands of a mysterious man who has a single demand: Bring me the artifact she’s asked you to keep safe. The only problem is, Malone doesn’t have a clue what the man is talking about, since Cassiopeia has left nothing with him.
  3. The Jefferson Key – Four presidents of the United States have been assassinated—in 1865, 1881, 1901, and 1963—each murder seemingly unrelated. But what if those presidents were all killed for the shocking same reason: a clause contained in the United States Constitution? This is the question faced by Cotton Malone.
  4. The King’s Deception – Cotton Malone and his fifteen-year-old son Gary are headed to Europe. As a favor to his former boss at the Justice Department Malone agrees to escort a teenage fugitive back to England. But after he is greeted at gunpoint in London both the fugitive and Gary disappear and Malone learns that he’s stumbled into a high-stakes diplomatic showdownan international incident fueled by geopolitical gamesmanship and shocking Tudor secrets.


  1. The Lincoln Myth – September 1861: All is not as it seems. With these cryptic words, a shocking secret passed down from president to president comes to rest in the hands of Abraham Lincoln. The present: In Utah, the fabled remains of Mormon pioneers whose nineteenth-century expedition across the desert met with a murderous end have been uncovered. And in a matter of a few short hours, Cotton Malone has gone from quietly selling books at his shop in Denmark to dodging bullets in a high-speed boat chase.
  2. The Patriot Threat – When his former boss, Stephanie Nelle, asks Cotton Malone to track a rogue North Korean who may have acquired some top secret Treasury Department files—the kind that could bring the United States to its knees. Malone is vaulted into a harrowing twenty-four-hour chase that begins on the water in Venice and ends in the remote highlands of Croatia.
  3. The 14th Colony – Shot down over Siberia in what was to be a simple meet-and-greet mission, Cotton Malone is forced into a fight for survival against Aleksandr Zorin, whose loyalty to the former Soviet Union has festered for decades into an intense hatred of the United States. Before escaping, Malone learns that Zorin is headed for North America to join another long-term sleeper embedded in the West.


  1. The Lost Order – The Knights of the Golden Circle was the largest and most dangerous clandestine organization in American history. It amassed billions in stolen gold and silver, all buried in hidden caches across the country. Treasure hunters searched for over a century, but little of that immense wealth was ever found—until now. When the news about the found treasure gets out, two factions of what remains of the Knights rush to seize their fair share. Thrust into this battle is Cotton Malone, who has his own ancestral connection to the Knights.
  2. The Bishop’s Pawn – History notes that the ugly feud between J. Edgar Hoover and Martin Luther King, Jr., marked by years of illegal surveillance and the accumulation of secret files, ended on April 4, 1968 when King was assassinated by James Earl Ray. But that may not have been the case. Now, fifty years later, Cotton Malone must reckon with what really happened on that fateful day in Memphis.
  3. The Malta Exchange – Former Justice Department operative, Cotton Malone, is at Lake Como, Italy, on the trail of legendary letters between Winston Churchill and Benito Mussolini that disappeared in 1945 and could re-write history. But someone else seems to be after the same letters and, when Malone obtains then loses them, he’s plunged into a hunt that draws the attention of the legendary Knights of Malta.

Full reading order, with short stories:

  1. The Admiral’s Mark” (short story)
  2. The Templar Legacy
  3. The Alexandria Link
  4. The Venetian Betrayal
  5. The Charlemagne Pursuit
  6. The Paris Vendetta
  7. The Balkan Escape” (short story)
  8. The Emperor’s Tomb
  9. The Devil’s Gold” (short story)
  10. The Jefferson Key
  11. The Tudor Plot” (short story)
  12. The King’s Deception
  13. The Lincoln Myth
  14. The Patriot Threat
  15. The 14th Colony
  16. The Lost Order
  17. The Bishop’s Pawn
  18. The Museum of Mysteries” (short story)
  19. The Malta Exchange


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  1. JF

    Although not entirely part of the series, where would The Devils Bones fit in the lineup? (Steve Berry James Rollins mashup)

    • Fabien

      I totally missed that one. I supposed that you can put it after ‘The Lincoln Myth’, on account of the publishing date, but I’m not sure.

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