Mariani, Scott - 'The Doomsday Prophecy'
This is Mariani's third novel and all feature former SAS commander Ben Hope. It is a well written good read and should prove to be very popular. Having said that, I personally prefer books that are not quite so much of the Dan Brown ilk, and a bit heavier going, but it was pleasant enough bedtime reading, even if it didn't keep me awake half the night or desperate to know what happens next!
Hope is really hurting after the tragic loss of his new wife. Indeed, in the second chapter of the book, where we first meet him, he is contemplating blowing his head off with his gun. He has promised his wife that he will abandon his high-octane army lifestyle and is about to pick up his long-forgotten theological studies at Oxford, with a life as a priest set to follow after that. All this is about to change when Zoe Bradbury, a high profile and well-respected archaeologist, goes missing and her father, an old friend of Ben's and now one of his tutors at Oxford, persuades him to go and find her.
After initially refusing, Ben soon finds himself caught up in something far more sinister than it first appeared. He ends up narrowly missing being murdered several times and then following leads that reveal a very unpleasant side to Zoe and her lifestyle. He also, unwittingly, opens the big can of worms that is the potential danger of religious fanaticism. Almost before he realises what has happened, Ben finds himself in Israel, racing against the clock in an attempt to prevent the Armageddon that is described in the book of Revelation.
A fascinating and somewhat topical storyline, that very much highlights the dangers of excess greed and self-gratification. The novel would make for an excellent, tension-filled, nail-biting movie but I personally found it a bit lacking in this regard for a book. That aside, I did enjoy it and recommend it as a lighter read. It is definitely possible to finish it in a single sitting.
Amanda Gillies, Scotland
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