Book Review – The Crusader’s Cross by Scott Mariani – Delightful Read
My Rating – 3.5 out of 5
Plot Summary (Storyline) – The Crusader’s Cross
This turned out to be a surprisingly delightful read since I started reading this with some amount of skepticism, but I am so glad to have been incorrect in my apprehensions. I discovered another protagonist with an ex-Military background with survival skills honed out of years of practice, coupled with the martial skills of an apex predator – Ben Hope. This is the type of Jack Reacher, John Puller, Mitch Rapp, and Jack Widow kind of hero which make for pretty interesting reading. This being the number 24 of the series, one can safely look for many more to come. So without much ado, let’s get into what The Crusader’s Cross is all about…
Ben Hope runs a Security Training Centre for private operators in the rural setting of Le Val in France. Ben is ex-SAS and so are his associates Jeff and Tuesday, who help run his operation. The compound in Le Val is spread out over many acres and has one of the most well-stocked armories among private operators, and among the best training facilities. Ben’s operation has a good reputation and a set of loyal, international clients. His secure compound is guarded by humans as well as canine guards – led by the faithful German Shepherd, Storm. Recently, Ben has started restoration work on a centuries-old Church on his grounds.
During that restoration, a priceless historical relic is recovered – a gemstone-studded golden Cross from the 12th Century – according to local historians. That too a couple of days prior to Christmas, as Ben’s partners travel to Australia and Jamaica for their annual vacations. Ben is alone in the compound with a few guards and his canine friends as he plans to recover from a broken ankle suffered due to a non-routine accident. The heavy snowfall promises a White Christmas and Ben hopes to have a quiet holiday season. But a gang of thugs from Corsica have all the information and target Ben and his compound to pillage his renowned armory.
Armed with that information, they attack the compound, disable the guards, and with only Ben and his dogs to comprehend with, they sense an easy victory. But Ben is no ordinary security trainer and the old SAS man in him is stirred into action. Though he successfully defends the compound, he loses friends and the prized relic too! The most savage of the attacking team is Petru Navarro – nephew of the Corsican crime boss, Titus Navarro – who escapes with the Cross. Ben Hope is burning with rage at the pointless violence and vows revenge. He travels to Corsica looking for Petru and nothing will come between him and impending justice on Petru Navarro!
Conclusion – Book Review of The Crusader’s Cross
Though the novel meanders a bit on the historical bits and could have probably been shorter to make the narrative a bit tauter, overall the pace of the novel is quite frantic. The setting is chilling, in keeping with the weather and the grim happenings amidst falling snow and the author provides ample context for the historical parts of the narrative. The second part of the novel is where it all heats up and races towards an amazing climax. All in all, a great read with a nice touch of historical fiction from the time of the Holy Crusades.
In case you haven’t read Scott Mariani before (like me), you can go ahead and pick up the series, it’s a lot of fun to read. I aim to read as many of the series as I can, hopefully will be able to make time for that!
*I hope you have enjoyed reading this book review as much as I have enjoyed writing this! Do watch this space for more such reviews and navigate through the links below for more… Thank you!! *