Avon | 2019 (31 October 2019) | 400p | Review copy | Buy the book
Life is never straightforward for ex-SAS major Ben Hope. When he stops off in Paris on the way back from his latest adventure in India (Valley of Death), he longs for home – a farmhouse in Normandy where he and his two colleagues train elite forces to rescue hostages. But Ben’s plans are ruined when a terrified young woman runs into him in the street. Ben picks up her phone and, having traced it, returns it to her home where he finds the woman dead, her neck broken. From the window Ben sees a man walking away, who turns and sees Ben watching him. They know each other. Nazim is a ghost from Ben’s past. A monster believed dead. Ben has no choice but to go after him and put an end to unfinished business. Nazim, however, has similar thoughts of his own.
House of War is the 20th novel in Scott Mariani’s Ben Hope series. I’ve said it before – many times! – and I’ll say it again – this is my favourite thriller series of all. I can’t rave about them enough, although I certainly try, and how wonderful it is that I had Ben’s latest adventure to read while I was on holiday. If ever there’s a series designed to pass the time on planes, it’s this.
The books all follow on from one another (Ben’s life is hectic like none other) but they can also stand alone very well and House of War is no different. There is an archaeological element as there so often is (happily) but this time it relates to ISIS and their destruction of antiquities in Syria. This adds a truly disturbing feel to the beginning of the novel and one which, I must admit, I did find hard to read. The brutality feels very real. But the thriller soon moves on and then we’re in more familiar Ben Hope territory.
The action never lets up and once again Ben finds himself fighting for his life, but also for the lives of others. Ben might be a reluctant killer but there’s nothing he won’t do to right a wrong and put bad guys in their place (usually six foot under).
As usual, Scott Mariani plots impeccably and the pages fly through the fingers. While this isn’t my favourite of the series – I miss some of the other characters that occasionally pop up in these thrillers but not so much in this one, and also this is more of a military action thriller than the others – it is still very entertaining, standing alone particularly well, and it is an absolute pleasure to spend time with Ben again.
Ben Hope will always be my favourite thriller hero, these will always be my Desert Island books, and I long for the next – The Pretender’s Gold is published in May 2020. We are so lucky to have two Ben Hope thrillers a year!
Ben Hope 7: The Sacred Sword
Ben Hope 8: The Armada Legacy
Ben Hope 9: The Nemesis Program
Ben Hope 10: The Forgotten Holocaust
Ben Hope 11: The Martyr’s Curse
Ben Hope 12: The Cassandra Sanction
Ben Hope 13: Star of Africa
Ben Hope 14: The Devil’s Kingdom
Ben Hope 15: The Babylon Idol
Ben Hope 16: The Bach Manuscript
Ben Hope 17: The Moscow Cipher
Ben Hope 18: The Rebel’s Revenge
Ben Hope 19: Valley of Death