The Amber Room
Steve Berry
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The Amber Room
Steve Berry
464 pages
November 2007
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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Clearly, The Amber Room is a quality international thriller. The characters trounce all over the globe in search of answers, secrets and buried treasure. But the Amber Room, what is it?

Apparently, in 1701, Frederick I of Prussia commissioned panels of amber for a study in his palace. In 1770, more than twenty tons of amber had been used to panel the room. It survived for centuries, until the more than twenty tons of amber were dismantled to be shipped to Saxony. The crates containing the amber panels were last seen on April 6, 1945. A curse of death has befallen any man (or woman) who has attempted to locate the crate. The curse, however, has not stopped everyone from looking for the ancient, priceless relic.

Christian Knoll is a procurer of lost antiques, and freelances for a private collector who will stop at nothing to be the first in decades to uncover the fortune and relish the fame of the discovery. Knoll's quirks, like the pleasure received from murdering people, bring great danger to the quest. His search for a trail leads him to Karol Borya, a common art crook from long ago. But Knoll isn't the only procurer following the same lead. Ernest Loring and his assistant, Suzanne Danzer, are not far behind.

Judge Rachel Cutler and attorney Paul Cutler are divorced after years of attempting to salvage a failed marriage. Still close friends, each secretly wishes things might work out. Their lives, however, are turned upside-down when Rachel's father, Karol Borya, is found dead. Rachel is convinced there was foul play involved—and that her father's death might be linked to a series of unsolved deaths, which include the mysterious disappearance of Paul's family. Everything suspicious seems to point to locating the lost Amber Room.

Determined to discover more about the Amber Room regardless of the deadly curse, Rachel sets out on a journey across continents. Unable to let her do it alone, Paul decides to help his ex-wife. The horrors of truth, torture and history revealed might not be worth the beauty and sanctuary of the elusive Amber Room.

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.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Phillip Tomasso III, 2004

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