Title:The Hope Vendetta by Scott Mariani
Publication date: March 6, 2012; Touchtone Books
Objective rating: 4/5
When biblical archaeologist Zoe Bradbury doesn't return home from the Greek island of Corfu as planned, her parents call on the son of an old friend to find out why. Former SAS operative Ben Hope has given up his old life of rescuing kidnap victims in dangerous situations and is now a theology student at Oxford University, so he sends his old SAS buddy Charles instead.
Things deteriorate pretty quickly when Charles calls from Corfu, wanting backup, and Ben heads out to the island only to find himself enmeshed in unexpected violence. An explosion in an outdoor cafe not only kills and maims a lot of people but signals to Ben that Zoe's disappearance is much more than it seemed at first.
Biblical prophecies, the Book of Revelations, and evangelical beliefs in the Rapture and End of Days fuel the plot of this novel. I found it fast paced and a good thriller, well written and quite easy to read. Ben's divided and haunted character is sympathetic as he goes from theology student back to his old life, while still dealing with the psychological wounds of his wife's death.
The character of the biblical scholar Zoe was not as believable. Zoe behaves like a spoiled, heedless young woman, which is quite at odds with the well know archaeologist and scholar she is supposed to be. For the sake of the plot, however, I overlooked this for the most part.
I am now interested in the other books featuring Ben Hope. This is the 7th in the series.
I received a complimentary review copy of this book.