THE KING’S DECEPTION. By Steve Berry. Ballantine Books. 432 pages. $27.

Cotton Malone returns in a thriller that combines history and gunfire in Steve Berry’s “The King’s Deception.”

Malone arrives in England with his 15-year-old son, Gary, and a teenager named Ian. The CIA has a personal interest in Ian, and they ask Malone to escort him back to England from the United States. When they arrive, they find guns pointed in their faces, and the chase begins.

Ian has a thumbdrive with materials involving a top-secret operation involving history that the British government doesn’t want revealed.

A terrorist is about to be released from prison for humanitarian reasons, and the CIA plans to use blackmail by revealing this secret if the British government doesn’t intervene.

Betrayals abound, and it’s never clear what’s really going on or the true motives behind the players manipulating Malone at every turn.

Readers old and new will enjoy “The King’s Deception.”

Reviewer Jeff Ayers writes for the Associated Press.