House of War

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 Oct 2019

Member Reviews

I love the Ben Hope books but have fallen behind a bit, the last I read was number 10 I think, and this one didn’t disappoint, and I didn’t feel like the background storyline I’ve missed jarred too badly or affected my enjoyment. Usual body-strewn thriller involving ancient antiquities and a deadly terrorist plot, with Ben Hope. Ring his usual charming flawed hero. Very enjoyable.
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20th in the series? No wonder I’m worn out. Keeping up with Ben Hope is a thriller in UHD and best done from a chair! If this is your genre then this will keep you immersed and like the rest of us “Hopefuls” , demanding the next in series.
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House of War is the twentieth outing for Ben Hope, and although this has become a long-running series, it doesn't appear to be showing signs of floundering any time soon. It is not necessary to have read any of the previous instalments to enjoy and engage with this story so any potential readers can safely and simply jump right in. This is a very difficult book to describe in terms of the plot without giving away crucial details, and I feel that going in blind makes this all the better. Scott Mariani is such an underrated writer despite being on bestsellers lists. The plot is ripped from the headlines and broaches timely topics that are very much on many peoples minds of late. It's a rollercoaster ride of emotion, tension and excitement from first page to last; this is a real page-turner. 

The non-stop action, emotion, thrills and spills and twisty reveals make this an absolute must-read for those who enjoy thrillers that revolve around terrorism, action-adventure and the fight between good and evil. The characterisation is also top-notch with protagonist and ex-SAS soldier Ben being broken but still fighting the good fight as best he can; he is such a memorable character along with similar characters like Jason Bourne and the inimitable James Bond. I have certainly taken him to my heart over the course of the series and he becomes more and more likeable with each instalment. All in all, this is a highly entertaining, politicised thriller which I recommend to those who love high-stakes, high-octane stories. Many thanks to Avon for an ARC.
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House of War by Scott Mariani

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!

Other reviews
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
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Ben Hope is simply doing a good deed by returning a lost phone to its owner when he sees a face from the past, Nazim al-Kassar. Ben and the rest of the world had been told that al-Kassar had died a long time ago so when Ben sees him he knows serious trouble is brewing.
Ben realises that trying to find him will lead Ben into the dangerous world of international terrorism but knowing what al-Kassar is capable of Ben also knows he has no choice. 
Now a high flyer in ISIL al-Kassar is planning to hit Paris with an atrocity so big it could bring down the whole structure of French society. 
Ben calls on his old friend and ex-American special forces operative Tyler Roth to help him track down and stop al-Kassar. 
But it soon becomes clear that Tyler has his own agenda and is deliberately keeping Ben out of the loop. They must work together and work fast to catch al-Kassar before he and his men can carry out their plan.
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This is the first Ben Hope book I’ve read despite having several others on my TBR pile. I thought I’d request this ARC and go in at the deep end and I really enjoyed it. 
After returning to France, Ben has a chance encounter when he literally bumps into a young woman. He realises she’s dropped her phone and tracks down her home address to return it to her. 
He arrives to find the door ajar and the woman lying dead in her apartment. She’s still warm so he thinks back to the man he passed in the stairwell and realises he recognises him. 
It’s a man he thought long dead from his days in the SAS - Nazim al-Kassar who is a ruthless fighter for ISIL. 
Wanting justice for the woman and also for events from his past, Hope reaches out to some of his former contacts to try and track him down and the situation becomes more and more dangerous. 
This is an action packed thriller which I thoroughly enjoyed. 
Thanks to Avon Books and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book.
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I hadn't read any (any) of the preceding 19 (!) books but was just fine with this one.  There's lot of action, a great hero in Ben Hope, and the requisite evil villain in Nazim, an ISIS fighter determined to commit big terrorist acts.  Hope and his cohort Tyler Roth work well together (love the dialogue).  If this sometimes seems a bit out there, note that you are turning the pages to find out what's going to happen.  There are good guys, there are bad guys, and hope triumphs over all.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  For action fans.
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First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Scott Mariani, and Avon Books UK for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

A long-time fan of Scott Mariani and his work, I eagerly read this latest Ben Hope thriller when I could get my hands on it. Full of poignant themes and a quick narrative, Mariani does not disappoint his readers. After returning to France from his most recent mission, Ben Hope only wants to enjoy the sights and sounds of home. However, he has a chance encounter when he literally bumps into a young woman. In the scuffle, she forgets her phone and Hope is able to track down her home address. Trying to be helpful in this age of digital technology, Hope arrives to deliver it, only to find that she has been slain in her apartment. He thinks back to the man he crossed in the stairwell and it clicks. It was a man he thought long dead from his days in the SAS. However, it would seem that Nazim al-Kassar is anything but dead. A ruthless fighter for ISIS/ISIL, al-Kassar brings back many a bloody memory for Hope. Trying to find out how to handle locating and instilling his own form of justice, Hope reaches out to some of his former SAS compatriots. In doing so, Hope also discovers that this woman has ties to one Julien Segal, who may be working with al-Kassar. The hunt is on for both men, which reveals an even more complex situation. As the narrative heightens, there is reference to a passage in the Koran, which can be interpreted as seeking a ‘House of War’, whereby the world should be converted to Islam or subjugated by those who follow Allah. Might Nazim al-Kassan have this in mind? When Hope discovers his plan, it’s a no-holds barred attempt to wrestle control away from his madman, which might mean ending his reign of terror once and for all. An energetic new addition to the Hope series, which seems not to wane as the number of books mount. Recommended to those who enjoy something with an action-filled terror theme, as well as the reader who enjoys the Ben Hope series.

While I have long bemoaned that authors have overdone the ‘Muslim terrorist’ theme in thriller books, I found that Mariani took a slightly different approach to breathe a little new life into things. He works along the parameter and keeps the reader enthralled without feeling as though this was yet another copied plot from countless other books. While Ben Hope is well past his character development stage, it is nice to see the slightest backstory related to his SAS days. Hope remains his gritty self, seeking to help those in need, while also pushing his own agenda. Others help complement this throughout, including the hapless victims who seek Hope to release them from the grips of evil. There are some great contrasts in this book between protagonist and antagonist, even if it pushes things into the clichéd Westerner versus Islamic terrorist. The story remained interesting and can keep the reader’s attention as they push through this thriller. There are some intriguing perceptions about Koranic passages, which one can only hope bear some truthfulness, so as not to fan the flames. As the series continues to pile-up, one can only hope that Mariani will keep the novels on-point and ensures they do not go stale. To date, he has completely lived up to expectations. 

Kudos, Mr. Mariani, for a solid addition to the series. I am eager to see where Ben Hope takes us next!
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First of all thank you to NetGalley and Avon Books UK for the ARC.
I have been a big fan of this series, through its 20 full length stories and 3(?)  Novella’s. There has generally been great characterisation, usually extremely evil enemies and an almost thrill a minute read. However this is definitely not his best adventure, but to be honest Mariani, has set the bar very high with the majority of his books. 
Somewhere buried in this book is a reasonable story. But, it has been drowned by some extremely lengthy passages giving historical facts, figures and back stories. Most of it unnecessarily detailed. It took some skilled skim reading to find the story again.  Now his books are usually built around historical events facts etc, which are part of what I like in his books. But this one felt like he could of told the same story with about 75-100 pages less.
I also have say in my opinion I did not like Roth’s involvement in the story line and not really sure whether he actually added anything.
I just hope this lull in standards is temporary like the 2 African books. This is nowhere near as bad as those two. He pulled back with a couple of extraordinary books after those.  Let’s hope book 21 is back up there.
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Another fabulous and entertaining adventure for Ben Hope. This may be Book 20, but Scott Mariani still delivers fresh and innovative stories with every outing. House of War is set almost entirely in France and is very much set in the present day, incorporating the current French political climate with the story of the conflict in Syria and the criminal underground used to finance terrorist forces. The author does not shy away from the politically sensitive subject, but approaches it with a neutral stance and so does not deflect from the story with his own political or religious views.
A skilled storyteller, Scott Mariani takes his hero on a dangerous ride through France in search of terrorists intent on use historical artifacts - albeit fakes - to finance their actions in Syria and closer to home. As usual, Hope does his best to stop them, though casualties are inevitable. The research done by the author, both of the history and of the geography of France itself is impeccable and adds to the authenticity of the story, helping to create a memorable adventure for the reader.
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Fast paced all action thriller. Many twists and turns with some horrible bad guys and some not so good ,good guys! Ben Hope is someone you want on your side.
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Now in to its 20th instalment, Scott Mariani continues to entertain with his enigmatic protagonist. The great thing about this series and the one thing you can truly depend on is that you feel at home reading a Ben Hope series. Great characterisation, evil enemies and an almost thrill a minute read.

While perhaps not his best adventure, let’s face it Mariani has set the bar relatively high in his career, the book does flow well enough to keep the reader turning the pages and in Nazeem you have a terrorist and antagonist hell-bent on killing as many infidels as is possible. He is a nasty bit of work, obviously one who takes great pleasure in killing and in books like this you often find yourself taking stock at how the world works and reacts to people like this.

As with all Ben Hope books the ending comes far too quickly and it leaves you wanting more. I’m not a fan of the ending of certain chapters with forewarnings but used sparingly they can work. The opening chapters were my favourite with mariani setting the scene and Hope trying to figure out what’s going on. He rellies on his contacts to help him solve the problem he’s found himself in and as you can probably guess, things don’t always go without a hitch.

I did like Roth’s involvement in the storyline and even though I was unsure whether I should like him or whether I distrusted him, he played his part well.

Another entertaining read and I can’t wait for 21!
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I have read quite a few of the Ben Hope series and while I enjoyed this one I prefer the earlier books in the series. The author covered the background and history of ISL which I didn’t previously know. I confess to skipping some of the pages which were a bit of waffle. Fast paced and a good read.
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I can't believe this is book 20 of the series and I just found this author. A very good thriller about a group of terrorists that are planning on bringing death and destruction to the West. Ben Hope seems to always be one step behind the bad guys but his perseverance saves the day. A good thriller in the vein of Jason Bourne. Pick it up and you won't be disappointed. 
Thank you Netgalley,  Scott Mariani, and Avon Books UK for the ARC for my honest opinion.
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I have read all Scott Mariani‘s Ben Hope e Books. There is a huge amount to be learnt about Islam, Daish and France from background to this book but I think it’s spoilt by a real hatred of Islam which has led to an unlikely plot. As usual for Scott it is very well written. As retired English teacher I’m very aware of style and language.
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The twentieth book in the popular Ben Hope series, and I'm still loving the experience!  Ben is still running a tactical training centre in Normandy, when he isn't fighting in all four corners of the world, when he comes across a man in Paris, that he believed had been killed many years previous. 
The man concerned is a terrorist who is an ISIS/ ISIL trained fighter, and whom Ben last met in the Iraqi western desert. The terrorist is Nazim- al- Kassar, and Ben and his SAS squad were responsible for his capture and detention, later handing him over to the Americans. Ben finds out that there is a plot to smuggle drugs into Western Europe, using stolen Syrian statues, in an attempt to destabilise these nations. Set against the background of the Gilet Jaune riots in Paris, there is both the opportunity to increase the death count and use the confusion to plan smuggling routes in to the country, that work so well. 
Using ISIS terrorists was always going to be a difficult play as a story line, and there were a lot of discussions about the religious differences between Muslims and Western infidels, which had the effect of making an escapist adventure thriller, into a pseudo -religious rant. However, it is very well researched, and this book does seem a little more grown up, in its approach to serious worldly matters. It doesn't show the American forces in a very good light!. 
I have read every book in this series, and I know I am in for a good yarn whenever I open one of these books. They amuse and completely hold my attention throughout. It is a genre that I keep returning to, because I enjoy the escapism and roller coaster ride they provide. Endlessly inventive, I do hope Ben can delay his long overdue retirement for a few more years at least!.
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Very enjoyable story in the Ben Hope series that seemed very well researched, albeit rather scary.  I found it a compulsive read!
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I have read the majority of the Ben Hope series, and was looking forward to reading this one.

Let's start by saying, it is escapist, you don't expect it to be true to life and you do have to suspend some belief, but surely that's the whole point of the series?

Ben is in Paris to sell his bolthole there, whilst waiting for the estate agent, he goes to get breakfast but bumps into, literally, a lady who isn't looking where she is going and drops her handbag and it's contents, she seems scared and hurries away, Ben then finds her phone and from there we have the beginning of a roller coaster ride.

Intertwined with this thread is one regarding a former enemy of Ben's that he had captured, handed over to authorities and was then presumed killed, but Ben sees him alive and remarkably well for someone who supposedly died a few years ago.

Throw in historical artefacts from Syria, ISIL, CIA operatives and old friends and enemies, plus travels around the globe and there you have it

I actually enjoyed the book more than I thought I would, having been disappointed in a couple of these books recently, did take me a while to get into but once started couldn't put it down.

Recommended
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I couldn’t put this down!

Thank you to Netgalley for introducing me to Ben Hope-he’s now one of my favourite characters!

I hadn’t read any of the other books and this is still enjoyable without knowing what happened previously. I couldn’t put it down.

If you want a great thriller read pick this up.
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I've read all the previous Ben hope novels and this one didn't disappoint!  In fact I devoured it.  Scott is a masterful writer and the plots are so well thought out.  I felt I was on a roller-coaster of a ride the whole time and I didn't actually want it to end!
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