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The Alchemist's Secret by Scott Mariani
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The Alchemist's Secret (2007)

by Scott Mariani

Series: Ben Hope (1)

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Showing 4 of 4
It doesn't matter what order you read these books in. I have read some of the later ones and it is now obvious just how far Mariani has come over the years. This novel has some clunky writing, linguistic errors and needs a bloody good edit. These aren't the only ways in which it is influenced by Dan Brown. Take chapter six. There is no connection established between alchemy and the Cathars, but having mentioned them both in the same chapter, the protagonist assumes that there is. Which is lucky, as it turns out to be the plot of the novel.

On the other hand, there are signs that Mariani knows what he's doing. There's a Hero with a Thousand Faces approach with two calls to action, the first refused. Later, Roberta's capture echoes the capture of Han Solo, and Hope's reaction echoes Luke's two rescue attempts, walking openly into Jabba's lair and also the confrontation with Vader at Cloud City where he gets offered a job.

Despite a slackened pace in the middle part of the novel, it is overall a fun, easy read. ( )
  Lukerik | Feb 22, 2017 |
The first of the Ben Hope series, and it has hooked me into the ones that follow. ( )
  Alan1946 | Jun 25, 2016 |
The Alchemist's Secret is the first novel in the Ben Hope series by Scott Mariani. Ben Hope is approached by a rich man, Fairfax, to locate an ancient manuscript which is believed to hold a secret which could help save a dying child. The document is purported to contain the elixir of life, a potion that could help extend and save lives and was reportedly written by an alchemist, Fulcanelli. Hope teams up with disgraced academic Dr Roberta Ryder and together they embark on a quest which will put both their lives in danger. It would seem that they are not the only ones hunting for the manuscript. The adventure occurs across France from Paris to the Cathar stronghold of Rennes-Le-Chateaux.

Despite the initial unbelievable aspect of the plot it actual turns into an excellent action novel and historical conspiracy.Read the full review here ( )
  thecrimescene | Aug 18, 2013 |
An entertaining book featuring a British main character, Ben Hope. Hope is engaged by a wealthy employer to discover the lost manuscript of mysterious alchemist Fulcanelli. The manuscript supposedly contains the secrets of alchemy, namely the elixir of life. All the usual bases are covered: the Cathars, the Catholic Church, Rennes le Chateau. Some of the dialogue is a bit cheesy but, overall, I found "The Alchemist's Secret" to be a fun read. ( )
  boleyn | Aug 15, 2008 |
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When Ben is approached by a millionaire businessman to trace an ancient lost manuscript whose secret could save a dying girl, he finds himself embarking on the strangest mission of his life.

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