New York : Simon & Schuster, 2011
337 p. ; 24 cm ISBN/ISSN:
9781439193365 (hbk.), 1439193363 (hbk.), 9781439193372 (pbk), Language:
Also published: New York : Pocket Books, 2012. 397 p.
"Originally published in Great Britain in 2008 by Avon, a division of HarperCollins Publishers Ltd."--T.p. verso
Enlisted by beautiful opera star Leigh Llewell to investigate her brother Oliver's mysterious death, SAS operative Ben Hope finds himself caught up in a centuries-old puzzle. The official line states that Oliver died while investigating Mozart's death, but the facts don't add up
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The book jacket exclaims: "...James Bond meets Jason Bourne meets The Da Vinci Code..." Not a bad comparison for a writer's first published novel. The book cover goes on to state that this is Mariani's first book in his Ben Hope series. And what a sensational series kickoff it is.
Ben Hope is a retired Major in an elite British military unit. He now freelances as a man who solves problems. His method of problem-solving usually ends in someone's demise. Indulging in the finer spirits is Hope's way of coping with his job-related stress.
Adding to his stress level is his former love interest, the internationally known opera singer, Leigh Llewellyn. Oliver, Leigh's brother, and Hope's best friend, is murdered. Fearing for her life, Leigh begs Hope to become her personal protector. It appears that Oliver stumbled upon information that might prove that Amadeus Mozart's death 200 years ago was not what the history books profess.
It is common knowledge that Mozart was a Freemason. The secret society has a long history and suspected sordid past. With the newly found evidence that Oliver turns-up, the future of the Freemasons is in jeopardy.
This book has a little of everything...tight story telling, interesting character development, exotic locations, long last love rekindling, evil doers doing evil deeds, a precocious child, a loyal dog, action, suspense and a fragile, tragic hero.
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