Reviews for The Omega Factor

by Steve Berry

Publishers Weekly
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This lively standalone from bestseller Berry (the Cotton Malone series) centers on a panel stolen in 1934 from the Ghent Altarpiece, “one of the world’s great works of art, created in the early part of the fifteenth century, at the threshold of the Renaissance, by two brothers, Hubert and Jan van Eyck.” Early chapters alternate between Jan van Eyck and Nick Lee, a field operative in the present day dealing with artistic and cultural issues for UNESCO. Nick is in Ghent, Belgium, visiting his former fiancée, art restorer Kelsey Deal, who’s now a Catholic nun. Kelsey is restoring the altarpiece at the Cathedral of Saint Bavo when a fire breaks out. Nick arrives on the scene minutes later, and Kelsey orders him to chase after the vandal responsible for the blaze, who has also stolen her laptop containing images of the masterpiece. Nick and Kelsey are soon racing around France on the trail of a conspiracy linked to the Catholic church that originated 2,000 years ago. Berry once again smoothly blends action and history. Dan Brown fans will want to check this one out. Agent: Simon Lipskar, Writers House. (June)

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Berry has written a handful of stand-alones along with 16 novels starring Cotton Malone, the former Justice Department operative. It's unclear at this point whether his latest is another stand-alone or the first in a new series. It introduces a new character, a UNESCO investigator named Nicholas Lee, who chances upon a clue to the location of a missing (and generally presumed lost) piece of fifteenth-century art—a panel from the famed Ghent Altarpiece. Soon he finds himself caught up in a two-millennia-old war between the Vatican and an ancient order determined to keep certain facts hidden from history. Although similar in theme and execution to the Malone novels, The Omega Factor feels different: the pace is a bit slower, the action is slightly less raucous, and Nick is younger and less experienced than Cotton. This ancient-mystery stuff is new to him, and that point of view makes the familiar theme seem fresh to the reader as well. Nick is a good character, with plenty of room to grow. Here's one vote for Berry making a series out of Nick's adventures.

Library Journal
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In Bentley's Tom Clancy Zero Hour, Jack Ryan Jr. is interviewing a Campus prospect in Seoul when North Korea's leader is devastatingly injured, prompting a power struggle among sleeper agents in South Korea. In Berry's The Omega Factor, UNESCO investigator Nicholas Lee is following a lead to the long-missing 12th panel of the relentlessly plundered Ghent Altarpiece when he stumbles upon a centuries-old conflict between some no-nonsense nuns called the Maidens of Saint-Michael and the Vatican, desperate to grab a secret the maidens guard (200,000-copy first printing). Having appeared in six best-selling DeMille novels, retired NYPD Homicide Detective John Corey is hanging out at his uncle's waterfront estate on Long Island when he heeds a call to help find a serial killer who is dispatching prostitutes and burying them along the beach in The Maze (originally scheduled for June 2021; 500,000-copy first printing). Pulled from the icy Pacific and presumed dead, a revived Elle can remember little except her name in Dodd's stand-alone, Point Last Seen, but it surely looks to rescuer Adam like someone tried to kill her (75,000-copy paperback and 10,000-copy hardcover first printing). What could be Red on the River in the next exemplar of Romantic suspense from Feehan, which is set in the Sierra Nevada mountains? When tomb raiders kill archaeologist Riley Smith's father after he discovers the burial site of Helen of Troy, Riley seeks revenge while asking forensic sculptor Eve Duncan to reconstruct A Face To Die For (100,000-copy first printing). Marshals Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch have their hands full in Knott's Robert B. Parker's Opium Rose when the daughter of Virgil's half-brother arrives in Appaloosa, having fled San Francisco following the death of her lawyer husband; apparently, he was involved in a big opium operation. In Escape, a follow-up to Patterson's Black Book, a rich-as-Croesus crime lord breaks out of jail and leaves a taunting note for crack Chicago detective Billy Harney, who he knew would be called to the scene (300,000-copy first printing). In Quirk's Red Warning, CIA officer Sam Hudson is nearly blown up in Geneva as he obsessively tracks Russian mole Konstanin, then dodges bombs back in Washington, DC, when Konstanin follows him home (125,000-copy first printing).