Monday, 8 June 2015

The Martyr's Curse by Scott Mariani

Series: Ben Hope #11
Release Date: 4th June 2015
Publisher: Avon
Genres: Thriller / action adventure

The Martyr’s Curse
Sales of gripping ‘Ben Hope’ conspiracy thriller series top 1.1 Million Copies with over 1,500 5* reviews now on Amazon

Can Ben Hope find peace at last in a remote medieval monastery in the French Alps? His wanderings through Europe might have led him to this refuge but salvation is to be short lived for wherever he goes, trouble is never far behind.

When a team of merciless killers invade his new found 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 mystery, 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 save us. His name is Hope, Ben Hope.


Death by burning was the only way.

Bit by bit, the sluggish flames gained on the pyre, helped by a chill wind from the mountain that picked up and cleared the smoke. Salvator screamed in agony as the fire began to dance around his feet, then up his legs. Part of his robe burned away, exposing blackened and blistered skin.

‘I curse you!’ he screamed through the heat mist at the church envoy on his high seat, and at the lesser authorities and the soldiers gathered nearby to watch.
‘And you!’ Salvator bellowed at the crowd. ‘Damn your souls, for what you have done today to an innocent man!’

The people shrank away, terrified in their belief that it was the voice of the tormented demon inside him that they were hearing. Children buried their faces in their mothers’ robes; hands were pressed over their ears to protect them from evil.

The flames leaped higher around Salvator, and still he wouldn’t succumb but kept on roaring at them.
‘God sees the shameful sin that has united you all. May His eternal curse be on you all, and your children, and your children’s children after them! May a thousand years of pestilence rot this unholy place and everyone in it!’

One of the soldiers glanced nervously at the bishop’s envoy, ready to raise his bow and fire an arrow into the heart of the flames in order to silence the voice that was rattling the nerves of even the most hardened man present.
But the envoy shook his head. For purification to be effective, no mercy could be allowed. The heretic must burn to death.

And burn to death Salvator did, though it took an unbearably long time. To the villagers, it seemed as if the flaming human torch went on railing at them even as the sizzling flesh peeled from its bones. Then, finally, his cries diminished and he hung limply, no longer resisting, from the blackened chains that held him to the stake. The remnants of his robe burst alight. Then his tonsured hair. By now he could barely be seen for the flames. His one rolling eyeball seemed to peer balefully at them from the scorched ruin of his face.

Long after the carbonised skeleton had fallen into the cinders leaving the chains hanging empty, Salvator’s voice went on ringing inside the heads of the villagers. They would never forget the promise of everlasting pestilence that had been heaped on them and their line.
Within months, Salvator’s words would come true.
The martyr’s curse had begun. 

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