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281 of 289 people found the following review helpful
on 10 August 2011
I bought this Kindle version by chance after downloading the Kindle app on my iPad. To be honest the reason I got it was that it was very cheap and I wanted to test out to see if the app worked!

As there was nothing on TV I decided to read a few pages - AND WAS GRIPPED! I could not put the book down and even though it got into the early hours and I had work the next day, I kept trying to take in more and more pages, each one keeping me on the edge of my seat.

The background to the story is captivating and much is baseed on hisorical fact but with a good dose of mystery and intrigue. The main character (Ben Hope, an ex SAS Major) is very likeable and the array of characters he comes into contact with range from interesting to ruthlessly sadistic! I also loved the way his investigation takes him through different countries and settings.

It annoys me when people dismiss this book as a mock up of the De Vinci Code. Why other authors cannot take a similar line and make it their own is beyond me. I for one could not get stuck into the De Vinci Code, however, The Alchemists Secret seduces you from the word go. i thoroughly enjoyed it and will be reading the rest of the Ben Hope series in the next few weeks.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 24 November 2011
Plot and characters count for me in the appreciation of a good book, as does a gripping storyline. I found all of these things in The Alchemist's Secret. I found the middle portions of the book in particular very well done, which is a rarity, since it's precisely here that most prose lines stop to catch their breath before mustering their energies for a run toward the finish. I would have liked to see a bit more verve at the end of the book, which seemed just a touch flat, though I'm possibly being somewhat harsh here. This is a book, though, that I'm putting on my "read again" list, which I assure you is a short one. Consider this book a solid recommendation.
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141 of 147 people found the following review helpful
on 12 March 2008
I've just finished reading this - if you enjoy the DVC type yarns, you'll really enjoy this!! Better - in my opinion - than, say, "The Templar Legacy" by Steve Berry (and I thought that was good!!)
There's plenty of fast-flowing action, believable characters, mystery, deciphering of old manuscripts, codes, artefacts, murder, plots, torture, historical interest, slowly kindling romance, etc.,etc..
I've never read a book as quickly as this, as I found it so intriguing, exciting, and enjoyable that I didn't want to put it down!
I would highly recommend this.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 6 May 2012
Just when you think you've read a familiar format of ex-SAS meets up with gourgeous academic, dodges criminals and generally getting embroiled in a treasure hunt/chase peppered with underlying frustrations of romance and doing good, you kinda know what you are expecting.

I have to say as a fan of Andy Mcdermott I thought I would give Scott Mariani a go and, to be honest, as a stop gap between getting the latest Andy Mc. book. I wasn't dissapointed! I found this a real page turner and the way it all unfolded gave me a good perspective of Ben Hope's world. Being set mainly in France, the book had a lovely, laid back kinda feel to it, even though it was all about intrigue, drama, conspiracy, thrills and the odd shoot out!

There were the odd occaisional cheesy bits but hey, that can be said of most books of this genre not to mention films too.

The chapters were snappy and short - they didn't waffle on like so many can do, which was great for reading at night when I felt I wanted to get a chapter in before falling asleep. (Quite often read two or three!)

Good series - I will be reading more of the Ben Hope set.
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115 of 127 people found the following review helpful
on 11 April 2008
This is another story with a seek the treasure in Rennes-le-Chateau, but is well written and entertaining, but not as gripping as Dan Brown or Kate Mosse novel. In this book the hero Ben accepts a contract to find the Fulcanelli manuscript, which is believed to contain the formula for the elixor of life. His hunt attracts the unwelcome attention of Gladius Domini, a catholic organisation, whose leader seeks the same gaol. Ben and his accomplice Dr Roberta Ryder and Gladius Domini leave a bloody trail across France, with the story reaching it's climax at an ancient Cathar temple close to Rennes-le-chateau. There are notes at the back of book informing the reader about the facts behind the story. A good read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 10 October 2012
Once again the joy of trying an unknown author and then finding a gem. the characters in the book are developed carefully and constructed believably, to the point I had even started visualising a story reel in my minds eye. The plot took plenty of twists and turns, but with enough realism to maintain the believability of the story.
The test is always in the sigh as the end of the book arrives and the reader wants the story to continue even if the actual story has ended. Hence I have been back to download the next books!!
A very good read!
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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on 10 September 2011
I don't read this kind of book normally, not a girlie thing........... I thought !!! Got it because it sounded half interesting and cost 49p ! Best 49p I've ever spent. Couldn't put the book down, devoured every word and learned quite a lot. I downloaded the next 5 of the series within 5 mins of buying this one.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 30 April 2007
Once you have begun reading The Fulcanelli Manuscript, it is impossible to do anything else other than finish it! It is a 'read in a day' kind of book, causing you to feel all extremes of resentment towards other activities which prevent you from reading it!

It is an intelligent thriller, fast paced, action packed and full to the brim with historical secrets and scientific fascinations. Scott Mariani captivates his reader from the outset, refusing to let go or give anything away until the very end! The description of the locations and the character's relationship with their surroundings makes this novel appear cinematic. You live the danger and intensity, becoming as hooked on the book as Ben was on saving Ruth!

I strongly recommend The Fulcanelli Manuscript. It is truly addictive and I wait with great anticipation for Ben Hope to be brought to life again by this wonderful author!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I started reading this book prepared to roll my eyes and groan at the implausibility and impossibility that usually makes up the bulk of such novels, half expecting some miracle of alchemy, half some ludicrous stunt defying all laws of physics. Don't get me wrong - there's always entertainment in those novels - but this one keeps it within the bounds of plausible and even believable story telling.

The Alchemist's Secret is non-stop action, adventure and intrigue with only the smallest smattering of romantic interest. The hero, Ben Hope, is a character you can accept and fully believe capable of the things he does. He doesn't turn suddenly into some James Bond on speed producing prototype weapons or ludicrous science-fiction gadgets. He has his Browning 9mm, a whole lot of training and is simply good at what he does. Of course, only the SAS really know what the SAS know, and we always want them to be this good, or at least I do.

This is a refreshing example of its genre for a couple of reasons. Apart from the fact that it doesn't require too much suspension of disbelief - I never had a "yeah, right, and I'm Catwoman" moment - the characters are not caricatures, the locations are real, the historical background is well researched and the politics too are quite realistic. The women are women and neither wannabe movie stars or screaming, fainting things. They're quite normal for the day and have the strength a 21st century woman should have - not too much, not too little.

Hope is a slightly more atypical action hero - the education and extreme training, the tragic past, the tortured soul striving to make things right - but not overstatedly so. He just gets on and does what he has to do. He is likeable, which goes a long way to keeping the reader interested.

I started reading this the morning after having surgery and it was just the thing. Not too heavy in the language, not to protracted in the plot. I did think at first that once I came to properly it might be a bit too casual, but it wasn't and when I haven't been sleeping off the aftermath of being cut up, I've been reading The Alchemist's Secret because I've been enjoying it. The fast pace and lack of dragged out details have helped me stay awake to keep myself well, so a great choice it turned out to be! It's a page-turner with just the right amount of twists and turns, although you'll probably spot them coming. That's not the point - the point is how Hope gets through it. Nicely done, Mr Mariani - I shall read more of your work with pleasure.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 22 September 2011
This was my first Ben Hope read, but many other authors have set their stories around the same or a similar theme - The Cathars and their treasure. I found Ben to be an endearing hero and Roberta a likeable heroine - so glad she wasn't useless! I shall read more of Ben. I like Scott Mariani's style too - very easy to read.
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