Scott Mariani returns with another high-octane thriller with his gritty protagonist, Ben Hope. In this twenty-sixth installment, Hope returns to work with some SAS members in the ruthless Afghan countryside. Searching for an old acquaintance, Hope will soon find himself grasping to find stability in a country where it’s never been a high priority. Mariani proves his superiority once more in this addictive series.
Ben Hope has made a name for himself over the last number of years, proving to be a dedicated hero to those who need him, while also a keen teacher so that others can defend themselves. When Hope receives a call that a long-ago acquaintance, Madison Cahill, has gone missing in Afghanistan, he wants to help. He is too keen on living to voluntarily return to that part of the world, citing his apologies for not being able to assist.
When Hope is visited by a former SAS superior soon thereafter, he discovers that he is being put back into action, though without the commanding rank. Hope is being sent to Afghanistan to instil some stability with the Taliban back in power. It’s not a mission he relishes, but when called to duty, Hope won’t look the other way.
While trying to acclimate in-country, Hope and his comrades begin their mission, soon locating Madison and learning of her own mission in the country, which includes trying to save a number of items from Alexander the Great. Sure the Taliban will destroy anything they find themselves, Hope and his comrades begin helping Madison retrieve anything they can To get it out of Afghanistan. All while trying to protect a many with royal connections, another enemy of the Taliban. With no rules and few friends, Hope will have to tap into all his skills while staying as quiet as possible if he hopes to leave the country alive,. Mariani impresses once more and keeps the reader flipping pages well into the night.
Since discovering the work of Scott Mariani, I have been highly impressed with the series as a whole, as well and many of the individual books. Mariani uses his strong writing ability to entertain the reader while providing a significant amount of history to prop up the fictional side of the story. There is so much for the reader to enjoy and pique an interest so that they might explore more information on their own. These are stunning thrillers that never lose their impact.
Strong narrative foundations keep the reader on track for a successful experience. Mariani weaves truth and fiction together, forcing the reader to guess which is which. Great characters, mostly new and likely one-off, keep the story intriguing and add a humorous and gritty aspect that is needed to offset some of the more painful realities the subject matter begs exploring. Plot twists and historical moments keep the reader entertained and have them wondering what is to come, without feeling as though things are too predictable throughout the experience. I have loved these novels for many years and Mariani keeps them sharp, even this deep into this stellar series, which shows no signs of fading!
Kudos, Mr. Mariani, for another sensational thriller that left me gasping for breath.