Read The Alchemist's Secret by Scott Mariani Online

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Where there’s Hope there’s trouble…THE ALCHEMIST’S SECRET introduces hero Ben Hope, a former elite SAS soldier tortured by a tragedy from his past, who now devotes his life to rescuing kidnapped children.But when Ben is recruited to locate an ancient manuscript which could save a dying child, he embarks on the deadliest quest of his life.The document is alleged to containWhere there’s Hope there’s trouble…THE ALCHEMIST’S SECRET introduces hero Ben Hope, a former elite SAS soldier tortured by a tragedy from his past, who now devotes his life to rescuing kidnapped children.But when Ben is recruited to locate an ancient manuscript which could save a dying child, he embarks on the deadliest quest of his life.The document is alleged to contain the formula for the elixir of life, discovered by the brilliant alchemist Fulcanelli decades before. But it soon becomes apparent that others are hunting this most precious of treasures – for far more evil ends. It seems that everyone – from the Nazis of the past to the shadowy modern organisation known as Gladius Domini – wants to uncover the secrets of immortality.Teaming up with attractive American scientist Dr Roberta Ryder, Ben is led on a wild and dangerous trail from Paris to the ancient Cathar strongholds of the Languedoc, where an astonishing secret has lain hidden for centuries…...

Title : The Alchemist's Secret
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781847563408
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 486 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Alchemist's Secret Reviews

  • Tea Jovanović
    2018-12-04 08:17

    This is one of those books you read in one go and can read 10 of them in a row... like you read James Patterson :) But for how long you will remember what you have read I can't tell... not for long probably :) You'll remember that you liked the book but not what the book was about... :)

  • Matt
    2018-11-22 09:39

    In this first full-length novel, Scott Mariani propels Ben Hope into the middle of an ancient mystery, some would rather have left in medieval times. Hope is enjoying his life as a former SAS operative, ensconced in the world of K&R (kidnap and ransom), particularly when the victims are children. When Hope is approached by a wealthy man to help him find a manuscript that purports to hold alchemical secrets, skepticism surfaces and the mission is declined. However, upon learning that this might be the only way to help the man’s granddaughter, a crisis of conscience arises and Ben agrees to take the case and commences the search for the Fulcanelli Manuscript. Steered towards Paris, Hope begins searching for his manuscript that is said to hold keys the Elixir of Life. He encounters a controversial American scientist, Dr. Roberta Ryder, who has her own feelings about this document and seeks to come along, having always wanted to examine Fulcanelli’s notations. However, someone is trying to steer her astray and keep Ryder on the radar of the police. Immortality being what it is, many others are searching for the Manuscript, including a dark organization, Gladius Domini. They will stop at nothing to uncover the secrets and have targeted Hope and Ryder for extinction, if that is what it will take. Headed by a powerful man within the Catholic Church, Gladius Domini purports to be acting in the name of God. As the search continues, a psychiatric patient who has read large portions of the Manuscript might hold some key aspects that Hope will require in his search. However, self-inflicted injuries and incoherent babble led to a deadly outcome. Could these rantings still be useful? Hope and Ryder do all they can to find the truths of the Fulcanelli Manuscript while trying to keep Gladius Domini at bay. As the story progresses, the reader travels with Hope and Ryder on a dangerous trail from Paris to the ancient Cathar strongholds of the Languedoc, where an astonishing secret has lain hidden for centuries. Might Hope lose his life trying to extend that of a sick girl? Mariani storms onto the scene with this new series and keeps readers hooked from the opening paragraphs. An exciting adventure that mixes the devotion of Jack Reacher with the historical obsessions of Robert Langdon. Not to be missed by fans of either protagonist.Asked by a friend if I would try this series, I decided to stop procrastinating once and for all. I thoroughly enjoy the premise of the Ben Hope series and found that the character, while similar in some regards to the two men mentioned above, also individualises himself nicely. Hope brings much baggage and fast-paced decision making from his time with the SAS, but also a penchant for dedication. He pulls on an ability to decipher codes and hidden messages, while peeling back historical understandings of items not known to many beforehand. It is still early in the series, but I can begin to see an interesting foundation for the Ben Hope character and Mariani offers up some interesting backstory about Ben and his reason for being involved in K&R, pieces that were not clear even with the three short stories that precede this novel. The story is by no means unique, but its development and content does have a degree of individuality, such that the reader will likely want to take a look. Without getting too weighed down with religious symbols, the Fulcanelli Manuscript offers up the one things many have sought for so long, the answer to eternal life. I’d surely use it to read and review all the books that teeter on my ‘to be read’ list. You?!Kudos, Mr. Mariani for starting the series off with a bang! I am very curious and hope to read more about Ben Hope and his various adventures in the coming weeks.Love/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at: http://pecheyponderings.wordpress.com/

  • Mark
    2018-11-19 11:32

    This is one of the plethora of novels that surfaced when Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code became such an international hit. indeed if you like Da Vinci Code then this is a book you should enjoy.MC Ben Hope is an ex SAS member with a secretive passed. In his 'new' life he has evolved into a secret agent, private detective type whose primary objective is to find lost and/or kidnapped children and return them to their parents. He has lost none of his SAS skills and is still a fit, healthy, vibrant man although he has formed a smoking and drinking habit. Still an expert with weapons and able to handle himself in all situations.It is when Ben is contracted to find an ancient manuscript, to not rescue a child but save her from terminal illness, that his world is turned upside down. The manuscript is rumored to hold the secrets of Ancient alchemists, secrets that may be able to stop the child from dying.Like all books of this ilk it is never an open and shut case. As Ben searches for the manuscript he is followed by an evil assassin working for an organisation calling themselves the Gladius Domini. This organisation has ties to the Catholic church and indeed the Nazis of WW2. Ben discovers a scientist in France who has been 'outted' for her experiments in alchemy and they soon form a partnership - he the braun, fighting skill and cunning, she the historical and alchemy knowledge and not too short on her own fighting skills.There are some parallels to the Da Vinci Code - at times codes seem to be a bit too easily broken, to reveal points on maps that are a bit too easily found. There is the occasional symbol that is a bit too easily recognized. This book has more fighting, gunshots and imprisonment than Da Vinci Code and probably flows a bit quicker. Having said all of that, fans of Dan Brown will definitely enjoy this book.This novel is written to be fast paced. The author starts new paragraphs with a space in the text to cut out any boring travel scenes. For example MC decides he needs to be somewhere two hours away (page break, new paragraph) MC is now searching for answers at the destination. The scene is set early and the action flows, there are a few minor twists along the way but generally a straight forward search and find. Enjoy!

  • Rumana Nasrin
    2018-12-06 06:32

    ভালো লেগেছে অবশ্যই। ভয়ে ভয়ে ছিলাম আরেক রবার্ট ল্যাংডন হাজির হয় কিনা! তবে হোপকে বরং মাসুদ রানার কাছাকাছি কেউ মনে হয়েছে। অনুবাদ বরাবরের মতোই ভালো। আরেকটু মনে হয় ভালো করার সুযোগ আছে। :)আমি মুগ্ধ নিজের পড়ার ক্ষমতা আগের মতোই আছে দেখে! একদিনে ৩০০+ পৃষ্ঠা পড়ে ফেললুম!! নাহ পুরনো রিমা আপু এখনো হারিয়ে যায়নি দেখা যাচ্ছে! :D

  • Pranta Ghosh Dastider
    2018-12-10 07:22

    Like a Hollywood movie it started, like a movie it ended. What's in between, is a story of suspense thriller, action adventure, conspiracy, love and hardcore killings and survival. Ask me why I liked The Alchemist's Secret? And the answer is simple. Because it's good. From the first chapter its fast paced, and it rarely slow down. Of course there are loop-holes within the story, but those didn't bother me much to avoid fun. Often when a story can give me enough joy, I tend to ignore that tiny errors it beholds. Because, every story has errors if you really want to find them. But, the main goal should be to enjoy it while we can. That's why we read books to begin with, isn't it? I liked how hero character developed with time, or rather it's more appropriate to say, how it got reveled. He was rough and tough to begin with, but also has a soft corner within. And we got to see throughout the journey that he can be as humane as a normal human being. He also makes mistake, ignore facts. But, with luck and skill he survives somehow. Our lady protagonist was also nice. The only thing bothered me that, she was supposed to know some martial-arts, but when situation demanded she failed to use it mostly. I wanted her to be more action packed. There is puzzle, and throughout the whole book B. Hope discover the whole truth. The ending is not unpredictable, but it's fine. Whole journey made it worth a while. If you like an action adventure story, this book is for you. If you like spy thriller, you need to read this. If you like conspiracy, it might just satisfy you. Overall, read it if you want to go into a fast story-line with good characters. You will feel like playing a good old Tomb Raider game while reading it- if you know what I mean!

  • Paul O'Neill
    2018-11-15 12:30

    It's like a cross between Dan Brown and Matthew Reilly. Awesome action packed, fast paced, tightly written (seriously, shortest paragraphs and chapters I've ever read, so you'll fly through it). Also unpredictable, which is hard to pull off. All that, and it's historically acurate??? More please!

  • Steve
    2018-11-21 13:17

    I am completely flummoxed as to why so many people have given this book and author such good reviews!!!! It is such a rip off of other authors stories, in particular Dan Brown, and is riddled with cliches!!! To top it all off it is very poorly written. I'm no literary snob, far from it as I will read trashy page turners like the rest of them The cliches were to much and I struggled to finish it.....the handsome, rich, reclusive, troubled ex SAS soldier out to save the world against the evil Catholic Church with his side kick, who just happens to be a beautiful young intelligent woman! The story was poor but it was all too much for me when the hero and heroine run into each other's arms on the beach at the end......I couldn't bear to read another word by this comic book author! Go read some Jeffrey Archer Mr Mariani and learn how to write a novel!

  • Neal Dench
    2018-11-11 10:29

    Every review I've read of Scott Mariani's Ben Hope series compares it to Dan Brown and his ilk. And you know what? They're quite right. In making that comparison, you know exactly what you're getting. Of course, a hell of a lot of people can't stand Dan Brown, and those people should probably stay away from this book. But if you enjoy the occasional thriller with a bit of pseudo-scientific hocus-pocus thrown in, then this is probably worth a read. It's a nice easy read, with nice easy characters, and a story that's interesting enough to pull you along, and reasonably well written. All this sounds like I'm damning this book with faint praise. I'm not really - I enjoyed it quite a bit, but then I'm the sort of person that thinks not every book you read should be the best example of its craft, and not every film you see should be the finest film in the world. I'm happy reading a book or watching a film for sheer entertainment value, and not expecting a lot out of it. That's what you get with this book.As to the plot - do you really care? It's some bunkum about an ex-SAS officer who goes around rescuing children and gets himself involved in a plot to steal the notebook of an alchemist who just might have found the secret to everlasting life. It's fun, light-hearted, and entertaining. Just don't expect it to stand up to close scrutiny.

  • Annalee
    2018-11-17 11:21

    From the back of the book:A former elite member of the SAs, Ben Hope is tortured by a tragedy from his past and now devotes his time to rescuing kidnapped children.But when Ben is recruited to locate an ancient manuscript which could save the life of a dying child, he embarks on the deadliest quest of his life.The document is alleged to contain the formula for the elixir of life, discovered by the brilliant alchemist Fulcanelli decades before. But it soon becomes apparent that others are hunting this most precious of treasures - for far more evil ends....~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~I thoroughly enjoyed this book by Mariani. Okay, in places it's a little far fetched, but it's gripping from beginning to end and the characterisation is good.

  • Vilde
    2018-11-29 12:39

    After listening tilOriginsby Dan Brown, I felt for something similar. I've previously read a book by Mariani, which was ages ago, but I knew that this series would follow in the same niche asThe Da Vinci Codeby Dan Brown. I definitely enjoyed listening to The Alchemist's Secret, it was enjoyable. The information about alchemy and Languedoc and the Cathars - it made me think about theLanguedoc trilogyby Kate Mosse - was particularly interesting.

  • Melly Kallon
    2018-11-24 06:25

    Wow, it was... different. I haven't read this type of thriller before. Ben Hope's not a historian, nor some kind of scientist or professor, yet he's on the trace of a historical mystery. He reminded me of Eddie Chase (Andy McDermott's series about Nina Wilde & Eddie Chase) as his ex-SAS soldier too. But I feel like most of the thrillers I've read are with main female character rather than male. On this issue, the Ben Hope series reminds me of Dan Brown's(and I both like them).The Alchemist's Secret has something in it that makes it so... distinct. At the same time, it has everything I like in this genre - action, fun, mystery, history... I like the writing of Scott Mariani and I'm continuing with the next book of the series - I'm so stunned I've almost read a whole book only on the bus! (I'm using the public transport to get to the university and that's about 20mins only one way and either way is a wasted time so I decided to make full use of it by reading.)

  • Shahjahan Shourov
    2018-11-30 07:41

    রচনাঃ স্কট ম্যারিয়ানিঅনুবাদঃ শাহেদ জামানপ্রচ্ছদঃ রোমেল রায়হান (মূল প্রচ্ছদ অবলম্বনে)প্রকাশনীঃ রোদেলা১ম প্রকাশঃ একুশে বইমেলা ২০১৭প্রতিক্রিয়া প্রকাশ নিয়ে কি আছি, দ্বিধান্বিত বলা যায়? না বোধহয়। অদ্ভূৎ রকম অনুভূতি। অনুভূতির মিশেলে যৌগিক কোন অবস্থা।বেন হোপ, যে প্রটাগনিস্ট আমাদের; তার কাজ হারিয়ে যাওয়া কিশোর-কিশোরীকে বাড়ি ফিরিয়ে আনা। তবে তার এবারের কাজটা ভিন্ন। রুথের জন্যে এমন একটা কিছু আনতে হবে বাড়িতে, যার খোঁজ করছে শতাব্দী। অথবা শতাব্দীর পর শতাব্দী। এলিক্সির অব লাইফ।অ্যালকেমিতে যার আগ্রহ আছে, তিনি মাত্রই জানেন ইতিহাসের সবচাইতে আলোচিত বিষয়গুলোর একটি এটি। কম হয়নি এ নিয়ে। আমি প্রথম পড়েছিলাম সত্যজিৎ রায়ের কোন লেখায়। তারপর অসংখ্য ভিডিও ক্লিপ, ফুটেজ, রিসার্চ ওয়ার্ক, ফিকশান হাতে এসছে। পড়েছি কিছু, পড়িনি বেশিরভাগ। তবে, অ্যালকেমি নিয়ে আগ্রহ তুঙ্গে ছিল সবসময়ই। এনিমে দেখেন যারা, ফুল মেটাল অ্যালকেমিস্ট তো তাদের কাছে রাজভোগ।যাই হোক, শিরোনামে অ্যালকেমি শব্দটা দেখেই বইটা সংগ্রহ করা। অ্যালকেমি নিয়ে যেকোন ফিকশানই আমাকে টানে ভীষণ। এই বেলা একটা কথা বলতে চাই, WITH GREAT POWER, COMES GREAT RESPONSIBILITY. “অ্যালকেমি”র মতো শব্দ যখন শিরোনামে, তখন এই শব্দের সম্মান রাখা লেখকের অবশ্য কর্তব্য। নইলে, আপনার শিরোনাম পছন্দ করা কেবল বেনিয়াবৃত্তি মনে হবে।না, হতাশ হবেন না একদম। বইয়ে অ্যালকেমি, পাজল, ট্রেজার হান্ট পুরোদস্তুর ছিলই। শুরুতে যে কাহিনী সংক্ষেপ বলে এলাম একটু করে, সেটা সময় (পড়ুন পাতা) নিয়েছে বেশ অনেক। অর্ধেকই তো বলা যায়। প্রায় দুশো পাতার পর গে, বইয়ের সেরা টান টা পেয়েছি। তার আগের অংশ লম্বা প্রলোগ মনে হচ্ছিল। দ্যাখেন, শিরোনামে অ্যালকেমি শব্দটা দেখেই পড়তে বসেছিলাম; বইয়ে সে অ্যালকেমি আসতে দেরী করায় ধৈর্য্যচ্যুতি যদি ঘটে আমার; খুব কি দোষ দেবেন?গল্পটা অ্যালকেমির সঙ্গী না হয়ে যদি অ্যালকেমিকেন্দ্রিক হতো, তাহলে খুশি হতাম বেশি। যদি আপনার পছন্দের শীর্ষে থাকে এসপিওনাজ, কপ-থৃলার; আপনি নিশ্চিন্তে পছন্দ করতে যাচ্ছেন বইটা। যদি শীর্ষে থাকে ধর্ম, গোপন কাল্ট, ইতিহাস, পাজল, মিথ তবে একটু পিছিয়ে যাবে হয়তো।খুব বেশি ছড়িয়ে ছিটিয়ে বলা হলো যেন। তাই প্রথম দেড় বা দুশো পৃষ্ঠায় গল্প ঠিক দানা বাঁধলোনা। তবে পাজলগুলো নিঃসন্দেহে দারুণ। আফসোস, ইটালিয়ানো আর ল্যাটিন যদি জানতাম! আবার শেষে গিয়ে আক্ষেপ রয়ে গ্যাছে, অভ্যস্ততার জায়গায়। অ্যালকেমি, এলিক্সির অব লাইফ চির অধরা জেনে এসেছি, পড়ে এসেছি এতদিন। স্কট ম্যারিয়ানি সময়ের সে আক্ষেপ পুরোতে এসে যেন আরও বাড়িয়ে দিলেন। থাকুক না রহস্য, তবেই না টানবে। সবকিছু খোলামেলা হতে নেই।অনুবাদক শাহেদ জামান বরাবরই পছন্দের তালিকার ওপরের দিকে থাকেন। এ বইতেও সে জায়গা থেকে তিনি নড়েননি। কিছু লোকের অনুবাদ পড়ে মনে হয়, “আহা! অনুবাদ এত সহজ”, শাহেদ জামান সে দলের। তার অনুবাদ নিয়ে আক্ষেপ নেই, কেবল তার পছন্দের সঙ্গে পছন্দ মিললোনা এবার। আর মেলেনি “ম্যাটলক পেপার” এ। তাতে কিন্তু ধরণী দ্বিধা হবেনা, শাহেদ জামান অনুবাদ বাদ দেবেন না আর তার পরের অনুবাদটা পড়তে আমি দ্বিধা করবোনা।সার কথা যেটা দাঁড়ালো, এই বইয়ের শিরোনামে “অ্যালকেমি” শব্দটা না জুড়লে আরও বেশি পছন্দ করতে পারতাম সত্যি। শব্দটাই প্রত্যাশা বাড়িয়ে দিয়েছিল অনেক। আবার লেখককে দোষও দেয়া যায়না পুরোপুরি। অ্যালকেমি নিয়ে বেশ অনেক কথাই কইলেন। কিন্তু সমস্যা হলো, তাতে যেন আশ মিটলোনা। ঠিক মনের মতো করে বলা হলোনা। এই প্রতিক্রিয়া পড়বার পর যদি কেউ বই হাতে তুলে নেন আর তিনি হন “অ্যালকেমি রহস্য প্রেমী”; অবশ্যই প্রত্যাশার পারদ নীচে নামিয়ে পড়ুন। তাতে আমার চেয়ে বেশি ভাল্লাগবে বইটা। “দ্য অ্যালকেমিস্ট’স সিক্রেট” থেকে সবচেয়ে বড় প্রাপ্তি, ক্যাথার দের ব্যাপারে জানা।

  • BAM The Bibliomaniac
    2018-11-22 06:26

    Roberta is such a pain in the ass

  • Amy
    2018-11-17 13:31

    This book is terrible in a completely enjoyable way. Sure, it's populated by evil caricatures, an unstoppable lead man and a damsel in distress (with a PHD, at least) who falls in love with him but, all that what-not aside: I still thought it was ok. This novel falls somewhere between Dan Brown (better written but similar themes) and Kate Mosse (more gory but again, similar themes) as it has a religious puzzle element with a Cathars plot line. If you enjoyed either of those writers previously (and I did, although definitely not all of their output) this might be worth a shot... especially as the ebook is 49p on Amazon. It was worth the money but it was not worth more than that.Oh, and a lot of people die - some in quite gory ways. Just a small heads up!

  • Ana
    2018-11-10 11:16

    Absolutely BRILLIANT! A real page turner with twists I certainly didn't expect. Highly recommended to everyone, not just thriller/mystery fans. Looking forward to reading the other books in the series.

  • Matt
    2018-11-23 07:35

    Didn't really grab me - DB rip-off with not as good story telling. Didn't finish it in the end

  • Pat
    2018-11-16 11:35

    3.5 stars. I can see why people are comparing Mariani with Dan Brown. But never mind, I'm guessing the other books will be a little different. Our hero is Ben Hope, a former SAS operative (of course) who now focuses on finding missing or kidnapped children. He is sought out by a wealthy businessman to find an ancient manuscript (the Fulcanelli manuscript) which purportedly holds the secret to the elixir of life. Ben is reluctant to take on this fool's errand until he learns that the man's granddaughter is very sick and it is her only hope of survival. Yes I know - its all a bit 'pie in the sky' and yes, there are many cliches in the book but if you can park all that for a while it's quite enjoyable escapism. Naturally the quest is very difficult and fraught with danger. Hope finds himself with a lovely sidekick for this adventure, the controversial Dr Roberta Ryder who knows a thing or two about alchemy. You can kind of guess how it goes from here but there is not so surprising twist at the end. It's light entertainment and I enjoy something like that as a change from dark books about murder and such. I'm also guessing the books get more sophisticated as Mariani hones his craft. I will certainly keep reading for now.

  • Terence M
    2018-11-14 08:28

    Audio Book - 12 hours 19 minutes - 3.5 stars, rounded to 4.0 out of 5.0I read/listened to "The Alchemist's Secret", Ben Hope #1, after reading #0.5, #2 and #3. I really enjoyed pretty much everything about this first novel from Scott Mariani. I don't know why I decided to read #2 first, but I rather wish I hadn't because reading #1 gave me an original insight into who Ben Hope is and what motivates him, some of which I think I had to assume while reading #2. I like this character. There are plenty of authors writing about strong, silent, tough-guy protagonists who have military or police backgrounds, so it must be hard for a writer to differentiate HIS character from the rest. Mariani does well with Ben Hope and over the three and a half books I have listened to, he has developed Hope into a no-less tough guy, with some edges of warmth and while hardly loveable, Hope is an admirable altruist who uses his skills and experience to help others.My friend Matt is on a Ben Hope binge, so I will take a brief rest and tackle something that won't keep me reading when I should be resting!

  • John Lee
    2018-11-19 05:45

    I am not sure why I picked this one out. The genre isnt unknown to me as I have read all of Dan Browns ( even before The Da Vinci Code hit the headlines), I am using the Steve Berry series as a 'turn to' when I feel in need of this kind of read and, fairly recently, I read the Sancti Trilogy by Simon Toyne.I thought that the author got close to my boundary for excess in processing too much detail particularly concerning the activities of Franco Bozza but just managed to stay the right side of the line.Overall however, I enjoyed the story even though it rather followed the template already set by others.There was no denying the regular supply of the page turning excitement throughout.Of the final denouement - the first half was no real surprise and the second seemed a bit irrelevant.But what of the love interest? Did they find the happy ending? You will just have to read the book to find out.

  • Sarah
    2018-11-18 09:35

    Oh man. I knew from about page twenty that this was going to be painful. I stuck with it just to see how many cliches the author managed to write - I think by the end he got just about all of them, which is the real accomplishment of this book. Every plot twist was predictable, and the ending was the cliche to end all cliches. Honestly, this reads like an action movie. And I'm afraid that isn't a compliment.

  • Blood Rose Books
    2018-11-24 10:46

    In his Debut Novel, Scott Mariani take the reader on an adventure in search for something that man has searched for since the beginning the Exilir Of Life.Ben Hope, has no family, all he has is his dedication to his specialized work. Determined to run away from his haunted past, Hope joined the Army, obtained certain skills (part of the elite SAS team) and now spends his time as the person to hire to return stolen children. He is the best in the business, and does not play the rules of law. Hope will stop at nothing, as long as it means saving a child. However, his most recent hirer, Fairfax, has something different in mind, his granddaughter Ruth is not missing, but is suffering from an incurable disease and will not survive much longer. He has hired Hope to find the document that contains the formula for the Elixir of Life, in the hope that it will cure his granddaughter. The formula is believed to be discovered in the 1920s but disappeared, along with it's creator Fulcanelli, neither of which have been seen since. It soon becomes apparent that there are others hunting for the document and each new lead Hope is in more danger, and those around him. But Hope does not care how much danger his life is in, all he can think about it helping Ruth.This book was everything I wanted it to be. There was action, suspense and mystery, that kept you wanting to read more and more. There is also great character develop of Ben Hope, whose past we get to see into and why he has become such a hardened Man, but there are cracks in his armour, like why he chooses to spend his life rescuing kids. With a Secrets Society, the Gladius Domini, and clues to figure out, this book never lacked for mystery or suspense, which is part of the reason I couldn't put it down. I liked when code breaking was required by Hope, that Mariani, wrote the clues in the book so the reader could attempt to figure it out (not that I did as I don’t know Latin, but I always like a challenge). I also like Bozza, who is the inquisitor for the Gladius Domini and to say that he enjoyed his work is an understatement. I liked that the reader was also able to see into Bozza's past and mindset a bit, as it truly a scary character.The only thing that I will criticize about the book (and really it is not that major of a thing) is that the Secret Society is a religious one. It always seems that when books have a secret society, there seems to be a large proportionate of them that are religiously based. Not a major thing, just wishing for a little more imagination. Additionally, the Gladius Domini continually talk about the amount of power and wealth it has, one would think they would hire better goons, so I guess that would be my second criticism, as when they found out who Ben Hope was and what he was capable of they should have sent better agents sooner (but still a minor thing).If you are looking for a Dirk Pitt similar adventure, this is not it, there are not the seemingly impossible situations, though Hope is a good shot.Mariani, I think, is going to become one of my must read authors especially if the second book is as good as the first. Read this book if you are craving mystery, suspense, adventure and a well written book. This book will not disappoint.Enjoy!!!!

  • Lukerik
    2018-11-14 13:16

    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.

  • Paul
    2018-12-02 11:22

    Last year I read both of Scott G. Mariani’s Vampire Federation novels Uprising and The Cross. After I had finished reading them I discovered that he writes thrillers as well, under the name Scott Mariani. I guess the G. is important when it comes to writing horror? I’m kidding, I realise it’s just an easy way to differentiate between the genres an author chooses to write in the same way Iain (M.) Banks does. I enjoyed both the horror novels, they are well worth checking out, so thought I would give his first thriller a whirl.Ben Hope has all the hallmarks of a classic hero, highly trained and highly motivated he is driven to succeed at all costs. It was nice to see that he wasn’t one hundred percent perfect though. As elements of Ben’s backstory are revealed, the flaws in his character start to show through. There is a tortured soul existing just beneath Hope’s ice-cold exterior. Ben is an engaging lead, a man of direct action, but also a thoughtful soulWhen reading ‘The Vampire Federation’ novels, I always found myself thinking of Marinari’s writing in terms of movies that I have seen and the same is true here. The Alchemist’s Secret is a full on faced-paced action thriller. So fast paced in fact that I rattled through the entire four hundred and sixty six pages in a couple of sittings. Once the action starts, it doesn’t let up till the last page. Car chases, knife fights, killers obsessed with medieval torture and the elixir of life. I ask you what’s not to love?The blurb on the back of the book mentions the likes of Dan Brown and Bourne, and I can certainly see the similarities. I think I prefer Mariani’s writing over Brown’s though. I’ve always felt that Dan Brown’s work suffers because it is stuffed to the gills with pages and pages of exposition. Mariani is far more economical in his text and I warmed to it more because of that.Is The Alchemist’s Secret classic literature? No. Will it change my life? Highly unlikely. Does it entertain? Oh hell yeah. Mariani writes novels that are genuinely exciting, and he does so with a great deal of flair. I think it’s a simple enough equation to understand – thrillers should be thrilling. From my perspective this author’s writing delivers exactly that.The Alchemist’s Secret is published by Avon Books and is available now. There are also another five titles featuring Ben Hope with another due for release in the future. I had a lot of fun with this novel and I’ll be checking out the other novels soon.

  • Caroline
    2018-11-30 11:35

    The more I reflect on this book, the more I can't help thinking of it as a poor man's Da Vinci Code. Ben Hope, former SAS soldier, is sent on a quest to find the Elixir of Life to save a dying girl. Of course, he's faced with all sorts of obstacles on the way. And, of course, there just happens to be a love interest which provides added drama and tension.The story's actually not that bad - it's fast-paced and exciting and full of twists and turns. It's hard to pinpoint what it is about this book that just doesn't hit the mark. There's something oddly American about the author's characterisation of Ben Hope - in fact, I would have been hard pressed to say he was British if we weren't told otherwise. Again, it's hard to pinpoint, more of just a vague impression.What I think actually spoiled the book most was the romantic subplot. As soon as Roberta Ryder, the alchemical scientist who gets caught up in Ben's adventure, found herself thinking that Ben was rather attractive, I gave a sigh. Once it reached the cheesy dancing scene, I'd lost all interest. It seemed forced, in a way, as if the author felt he needed to include a bit of romance to keep a certain section of the market happy, but it just did not work. The whole thing would have been better off without an extended 'will they-won’t they' subplot. And don't even get me started on the Hollywood-esque ending.So, what's my final verdict on ’The Alchemist's Secret'? It was a fairly enjoyable read - a quick and easy adventure-filled romp - but if you want something with a bit of depth, stick with Dan Brown.

  • Viri
    2018-11-10 08:27

    I decided to read this book because I read somewhere it was kinda Kate Mosse's books.It was horrible. It's more like a mix between a Dan Brown's one, (but without a well documented argument nor a credible history nor a good sense of humor) and a bad chick lit author.For example, the 'heroe': he doesn't have a formal education in themes like history, biology, chemistry, physiology, ancient languages, symbology, etc... He's a good strategist and a great soldier, but that's all. And Scott is trying to convince me that this man, all alone, just by browsing a couple of things on the internet and drawing random lines in a map is capable of discover 'one of the biggest secrets in human history' at the same time he's saving the world, killing every evil man and getting a girlfriend? Pleaseeee!Another example: Roberta, at the beginning of the book says she has a black belt in karate, but when she is in danger the only thing that she can do is pull the hair of the man who is trying to kidnap her or be the typical damisel in distress who can only waits for someone (cof cof Ben Hope) to save her. The plot is weak; the characters are too good or too bad. There are a million details that make this a really awful book. I'm sorry I've read it. That's all I have to say.

  • Leonardo Navarro
    2018-11-13 06:34

    El secreto del alquimista es el primer libro de la serie Ben Hope. Y tengo que decir que fue un buen comienzo para la serie. Los libros cuentan la vida de Ben Hope, un personaje que fue miembro de élite de las fuerzas aéreas británicas, que después dedicó su vida a buscar niños secuestrados. En cada libro, se cuenta una historia diferente, con personajes diferentes, pero en una misma cronología contínua.En éste primer libro podemos ver a Ben Hope embarcándose en una búsqueda contrarreloj (como en cualquier thriller) que podría costarle la vida (¿había escuchado yo esto antes?). Debo decir que no es la misma historia repetida, aunque lo pareciese. Lo que la hace diferente es el misterio con la que se maneja la trama, y ante todo, la acción. Es un libro muy violento, gracias a su personaje principal. Ben sabe defenderse, y por eso las cosas que hace no son tan alejadas de la realidad.Es una novela muy entretenida, como novela debut está perfecta. Buenas dosis de acción, de misterio y de entretenimiento. De verdad la disfruté, tanto que leí el segundo libro también y compré el tercero.

  • Susana789
    2018-11-10 12:28

    Major SAS a poklad katarov? Na prvých stranách to nebolo celkom presvedčivé, ale príbeh sa celkom rozbehol. Nešiel za hranice klasickej schémy, ale ani zbytočne nepreháňal. Hrdina je klasický osamelý vlk, ale ženy neboli za úplné slepice, čo sa tiež počíta. Dalo sa.

  • Denise
    2018-12-11 11:45

    Para aquellos que gustan de leer thrillers este es un buen libro. Benedict Hope es un ex agente especial de la SAS que ahora se dedica a recuperar personas secuestradas. Un millonario, el Sr. Fairfax, lo contrata para localizar un antiguo manuscrito escrito por el famoso alquimista Fulcanelli, el cual cree que contiene la fórmula secreta para producir el siempre codiciado y buscado elixir de la vida. Sin mucha idea de qué busca se lanza a la búsqueda.Primero contacta a un viejo maestro suyo en Oxford, y éste lo manda a buscar a Roberta Ryder, científica descalificada por su comunidad por investigar y escribir sobre la alquimia. A partir de su encuentro con ella comienza la aventura. En su camino se encuentra a varios miembros de la secta Gladius Domini, quienes también están persiguiendo ese conocimiento secreto y antiguo, y por supuesto lo quieren solo para si mismos. La trama es un gran rompecabezas que mantiene al lector en suspenso de principio a fin. Resultó una lectura muy entretenida.

  • Gav451
    2018-12-05 07:42

    With a clear eye on potential TV rights this book ticks a whole load of boxes in the visual pulpy book stakesLone wolf with expert military background - CheckDamsel in distress - CheckA willingness to do whats right - CheckSeries of puzzles solved to get to the heart of a seemingly all powerful organisation - checkSo think somewhere in between Dan Brown, Robert Ludlum and Lee Childs and you have where this book is coming from. Luckily its a real page turner so while you know many the tropes being wheeled out it does not cause a problem as you are enjoying their company enormously.I finished this book quickly. It was recommended to me by my mother. I was never bored. You cannot ask for much more than that. I will return to the series.

  • Kat
    2018-11-24 12:43

    It's not the worst book I've read...I read this in a recommendation from a friend who had enjoyed it as an audiobook. I can only imagine this makes a more entertaining listen than it does a read. Firstly, it's like Mariani read the Da Vinci Code and went "I can do that" without wondering if he should. Not only has Mariani used Dan Brown as a working template, he's done it badly. Characters are uninteresting cardboard cutouts and the prose is littered with the most cliché I've ever seen in a published novel. I don't know who edited this, but I'm shocked it made it past an agent and a publisher; it's like everyone went "oh my god, another Dan Brown, SHUT UP AND TAKE OUR MONEY!"Still at least it gives budding writers hope. After all, if this crap can get published, anything can.