British author Miriani makes his U.S. debut with the second in his series featuring ex-SAS warrior Ben Hope, a fast, exciting read in The Da Vinci Code tradition. Ben is on his way home from a mission when he receives a message from Leigh Llewellyn, an old flame and international opera star, saying she needs his help. Leigh is the sister of Ben's late friend, Oliver, who was at work on a book on Mozart when he died under mysterious circumstances. When Ben takes Leigh to the English countryside to guard her, deadly thugs attempt to kill them both. A lost Mozart letter, written in 1791 shortly before the composer's death and first discovered by Leigh's father, implicates a shadowy European group known as the Order of Ra, which remains a powerful secret force in Europe today. None of this matters much to either Ben or the reader as he singlehandedly kills his way to the top of the evil cabal. (Mar.)
"The Mozart Conspiracy hits thrilling, suspenseful notes . . . it's a rollickingly good way to pass some time in an easy chair." —USA Today
"Mariani channels Dan Brown on steroids in this exciting (and violent) historical puzzle thriller…Racing along at breakneck speed and promising more in a series, this action read will excite fans of Brown, James Rollins, and Robert Ludlum. —Booklist
"A fast, exciting read in The Da Vinci Code tradition.” —Publishers Weekly
“The Mozart Conspiracy is music to the minds of thriller fans. Now readers on both sides of the Atlantic can enjoy Scott Mariani's gift for international menace with a Continental flair.” —Thomas Greanias, author of The Promised War
“James Bond meets Jason Bourne Meets The Da Vinci Code, in a tale as driven as a dark Mozart symphony—but Scott Mariani writes with a steely lightness that is all his own.” —Jennifer Lee Carrell, New York Times bestselling author of Interred With Their Bones
“The Mozart Conspiracy is an action-packed thriller that introduces a fine, new hero, retired British commando Benedict Hope, a former soldier who's tormented by regret. In a wild chase across Europe, Hope uses his violent talents to track down a nefarious cabal that secretly controls the destinies of nations. The novel is fast-paced and fun, and Hope is a hero you can't help but root for.” —Mark Alpert, author of Final Theory
"Scott Mariani is an author to watch." —M.J. Rose, international bestselling author of The Reincarnationist.
Retired from the British army's Special Air Service, Benedict Hope is a crisis-response consultant. He has just finished a dangerous mission rescuing two young girls from a ring of pedophiles when he is contacted by his long-lost love, famous opera singer Leigh Llewellyn. She's been attacked, inexplicably it seems, and the two embark on a country-hopping, car-smashing, bullet-flying, nun-killing (yep, you read it right) adventure complete with a ritual killing, while trying to find the connection between a letter believed to have been written by Mozart and the mysterious death of Leigh's brother. Fast paced? Definitely. Exciting? It would be if the plot weren't entirely predictable, the characters one-dimensional, and the dialog lackluster. While this title might beg a comparison to Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, it doesn't even come close. VERDICT First published in Britain, this series launch might appeal to male readers in the mood for a bit of fast-paced action without too much mental exertion. For more substantial characters and a meatier plot, try Michael Gruber's The Book of Air and Shadows.—Julie Pierce, Ft. Myers-Lee Cty. P.L., FL
Mariani's debut is a globetrotting action fantasy with one eye fixed firmly onThe Da Vinci Codeand the other on Hollywood.
Does any of this sound familiar? Centuries ago, a beloved artist got in bad with a powerful fraternal organization because one of his best-known productions contained codes that revealed its most closely guarded secrets. The artist died, but the organization lives on as an international conspiracy that's still working criminal mischief all over the map of present-day Europe. This time around, the artist is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the tell-all production isThe Magic Flute,and the conspirators are the Order of Ra, a rogue Masonic faction whose hobby is ritual murder. Instead of sweating the details of the artist's life or work or the specific content or meaning of the codes that so threatened the Masons, or even convincingly linking conspiracies past and present, Mariani falls back on that old chestnut, the British agent reunited with the girl he left behind. The spy is Benedict Hope, whose SAS assignment is to rescue kidnap victims. The lady is opera star Leigh Llewellyn, whose brother Oliver was executed last year after he stumbled across the Order of Ra's latest handiwork. Leigh has spent 15 years getting over Ben, but he's still the person she calls when she barely escapes a kidnap attempt herself. Sure enough, her troubles stem from the book Olly had been writing about Mozart's death. The search for clues, coupled with a chase after bad guys, sometimes away from them, takes Ben and Leigh—and soon enough, their ally, Viennese cop Markus Kinski—across the Continent in brief chapters headed by place names you just know will appear as subtitles in the movie version too.
Mariani likes to separate his heroes so that he can cut back and forth between them as they're getting simultaneously ambushed in equally picturesque locales. Nor is he averse to a high body count. Apart from the rumor that he was poisoned, though, don't expect to learn much about Mozart.