Most writers who incorporate history into their work do it because they love history and are so fascinated by some aspect of it that they feel compelled to do the research and share what they’ve learned.  Steve Berry is no exception.  And can I just say a big thank you to Steve and some of the other authors I’ve interviewed recently like Brad Meltzer and Susan Vreeland who have brought other bits of history to life.  They do all the work, and I get to sit back with a glass of wine and enjoy a good story WHILE I learn something!

In THE EMPEROR’S TOMB, Steve Berry digs into Chinese politics and intrigue with his ever popular hero Cotton Malone.  He takes us through Chinese history, into the First Emperor’s tomb which, guarded by the now famous terra cotta warriors, has remained sealed for over 2,000 years.  He also introduces us to The Ba, a once powerful organization of eunuchs in China who no longer exist… or do they?  And then there is the concept of abiotic oil: an unproven concept that the Russians fully believe in and most of us have never heard of.  Mix all that together with a classic page turning Cotton Malone adventure and you won’t even realize you’re learning something!

Alas – be sure to check your facts before you tell all your politically savvy friends that The Ba still exist as this still is fiction,  People!

When Steve and I sat down to chat last week we talked about some of the politics behind the story, we talked about his love of history, and we talked about what’s next for Cotton Malone.  (Apparently the character calls Steve on the phone from time to time!).  And for my writer friends out there who are still trying to get published, we talked about Steve’s determination to make it as a writer and his 12 long years of writing and rejection before finally getting published.  His personal story is an inspiration.

Can’t get enough of Cotton’s “friend” Cassiopeia Vitt?  You can get an e-book only short story about her adventures.  It’s called THE BALKAN ESCAPE and is available in eBook or audio format only until the paperback edition of THE EMPEROR’S TOMB comes out in May.  Love all things Cotton? Then this is your year.  The next book in the series will be out in May (instead of having to wait until December) and is called THE JEFFERSON KEY.

Enjoy the interview and check out the rest of the podcast series, now on iTunes!

– Dana Barrett, Managing Editor