Review: The Martyr's Curse by Scott Mariani

Saturday, 6 June 2015
Title: The Martyr's Curse
Author: Scott Mariani
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: 4th June 2015
Pages: 356
ISBN: 9780007486182
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4.5/5
Purchase: Amazon
Could Ben Hope have found peace at last?

That’s the question he’s asking himself after his wanderings through Europe have led him to a remote medieval monastery in the French Alps. A haven of serenity, a place he wants to remain.

But wherever Ben goes, trouble is never too far behind.

When a team of merciless killers invade his newfound sanctuary and slaughter the innocent monks, Ben’s revenge quest quickly draws him into a bewildering mystery of stolen treasure, deception and murder.

What is the truth behind the cache of gold bullion apparently hidden for centuries under the monastery? What is the significance of an ancient curse dating back to a cruel heretic burning in medieval times? What are the real ambitions of the enigmatic leader of an organisation of doomsday ‘preppers’ calling themselves Exercitus Paratorum: the Army of the Prepared?

As he works to unravel the clues, Ben is confronted with a terrifying reality that threatens to devastate the world and reshape the whole of our future. The race is on to prevent the ultimate disaster, and there’s only one man who can do it.

Scott Mariani's Ben Hope series is fast becoming another favourite of mine, and so I was incredibly excited for The Martyr's Curse (which might have one of the best covers in the series so far!) Ben Hope has found sanctuary at a monastery, and he sees the kind of life that he could have there. It's funny that on a list of Ben's likes and dislikes his likes are: solitude and privacy and peace and tranquility, something that regular readers will know he doesn't get a lot of and that's certainly the case when he heads into the local village one day, returning to the monastery the next day to a massacre.

Something else regular readers will know about the enigmatic Ben Hope is that he has a thirst for revenge, and if anybody hurts those close to him he will hunt them down and exact that revenge. With few clues to go on however, Ben has his work cut out and not even he knows what he is walking into as he begins to piece the puzzle together in his quest to avenge the deaths of the monks he had began to see as family. What I enjoyed about The Martyr's Curse was the villain of the piece. A man by the name of Udo Streicher who has plans that could devastate the world, reshaping its whole future. As always there's a real sense of terror and menace with characters like this, but at the same time that knowledge that Ben Hope will probably in the end save the day. Streicher is a villain though who is more than a match for Ben Hope, leaving me wondering whether that heroic moment would actually even materialise. Streicher's plans would actually be quite catastrophic so that added danger of whether he would succeed in his plans was at times exciting.

I love the adrenaline rush that you get when reading a Ben Hope story, and that feeling of excitement you get as the story progresses. Once again The Martyr's Curse is an action-packed read, relentless in its pace as Ben Hope heads for that showdown you know is coming. This time around I particularly enjoyed some of the things Scott Mariani created for the story, in particular the hideaway of Udo Streicher which forms the basis for some brilliantly atmospheric scenes which are described in a way that just makes them come to life in your mind. Scott Mariani goes from strength to strength with each book that he releases, at a speed which leaves me baffled as to how the quality only ever seems to increase. I don't think fans will be disappointed with this installment and once again we are left eagerly waiting for more.

4.5/5

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