An Indian archeologist named Kabir Ray and his associates are attacked by a gang of dacoits in a hilly area in India that leaves Kabir missing and his friends dead. 

Meanwhile ex SAS sniper Ben Hope is spending time with his buddies at his training facility in France when a distraught woman visits him. She is the sister of his former significant other, Brooke Marcel, and has come to ask him for help. Brooke’s Indian husband Amal Ray, who is also Kabir Ray’s brother, has been kidnapped while the couple was in India. 

Brooke is crestfallen but she didn’t ask Ben for help directly because of their past history together. Ben cannot keep the powerful emotions of the past at bay and agrees to immediately fly off to India.

When he arrives there he discovers how different the policing there is and gets a massive culture shock. Ben meets with Brooke and begins connecting together the information regarding Amal being aware of an ancient civilization in India and some treasure buried there. 

We also get introduced to Samarth Ray who is the elder brother of Kabir and Amal and Esha Ray, Samarth’s wife.   

Ben becomes aware that a criminal gang is eyeing the Ray family which is filthy rich. Ben does his best to save the brothers from the criminals and learn everything about the treasure buried in the grounds. 


There is a lot of bloodshed and bone snapping action. Western writing hasn’t utilized parts of the world like India much and Mariani does a good job at that. Though Ben knows that he is not Brooke’s current love interest, he is determined to show that he can save the day. 

Ben shows a lot of grit, determination and possesses a sentimental side. He finds that the rules in India differ greatly. The fighting is not so dexterous in those parts of the world but is certainly deadly and brutal. They have an offbeat fighting mentality which involves a lot of gruesome acts.

Ben has an obvious spark in his heart and the want for justice. Brooke Marcel makes a reappearance in the book after appearing as his love interest in previous novels. Brooke tries not to be so crestfallen but most of the time the reader notices that she is swoony and begging for her former lover’s help. 

Mariani captures the Indian mentality perfectly. This he does by using a few dynamic characters like Samarth who is really enigmatic and sophisticated and Amal who puts up a brave front in the end despite projecting the aura of a bookish and scaredy-cat nerd all the time. This was necessary for the reader to completely grasp the story. 

The plot is well planned. Mariani directs the story out of Europe and focuses the attention on India which is a massive expanse of land with vast diversity in culture and mentality and rules to handle the criminal underbelly. 

Mariani leaves readers wondering if Ben will continue to be the same truly tragic hero for the rest of the series. The book is a fabulous addition to his Ben Hope franchise that portrays the scarred protagonist in a manner which provokes you to root for him. Fans can only hope Mariani generates a few more novels before deciding to finish off the series.    

By Farah Tabira