National Press Club

Best-selling author Steve Berry recounts intriguing adventures and myths in his latest novel

June 21, 2013 | By Bea Snyder |

Author Steve Berry discusses his latest book, "The King's Deception," at a June 19, 2013 Book Rap at The National Press Club.

Author Steve Berry discusses his latest book, "The King's Deception," at a June 19, 2013 Book Rap at The National Press Club.

Photo/Image: Noel St. John

"The King’s Deception," engrosses readers in an intriguing mystery about the real Elizabeth I, author Steve Berry said at a Book Rap on Wednesday, June 19 at the National Press Club.

Berry's novel questions the legitimacy of the entire forty-five year reign of Elizabeth I, the last Tudor monarch, who completed the conquest of Ireland and seized much of its land.

While visiting the village of Bisley, England, Berry learned of yearly tradition, dating back more than 300 years, when a young boy, dressed in an Elizabethan costume parades around the town. The theory behind this custom is that Elizabeth, the daughter of Henry VIII with his second wife, Ann Boleyn, died at an early age so Henry’s enemies concocted a scheme to conceal this from the king, bury the body of young Elizabeth, dress up Henry’s illegitimate son as a young girl and pass him off as the young Elizabeth. The ruse was allegedly aided by wealthy, influential families, enemies of the king, who helped this young man continued the charade and later became Queen Elizabeth I.

Berry’s surrogate through this intrigue and adventure is Cotton Malone, hero of "The King’s Deception" and seven other Berry novels.

“He walks like me and talks like me,” Berry said. “But he’s better looking and he shoots guns and does all sorts of cool things I’d never do. But he’s basically me.”

Berry began writing while working as a lawyer. He worked at his writing from 6:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. daily, before beginning his day as a lawyer. During a 12-year period, he received 85 rejection letters, until his first novel, "The Amber Room," was accepted, launching him on a career as a best-selling author. He has sold sold 14 million books, which are published in 40 languages and 51 countries.

Berry left his law practice four years ago to write full-time. He uses exhaustive research to flesh out his novels, scouring hundreds of sources for true “nuggets” to enhance the narrative. He writes with great discipline, working from 6:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at least five days a week.

With his wife Elizabeth, who was in the audience, he started a foundation, History Matters, to preserve historic treasures from coast to coast. When Berry is not writing, he teaches writing workshops through the foundation.

Noted author and Book and Author Committee member Eleanor Herman introduced Steve Berry to the audience dressed in full Elizabethan costume, as were several members of the audience.