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Toni Pike shares an extract from The Magus Covenant – Book 1 in The Jotham Fletcher Mystery Thriller Series – (The 4 books are available separately or as a Box Set).
About the book
THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT IS IN PERIL – UNLESS ONE MAN CAN UNCOVER THE TRUTH…
A long-forgotten sect, a deadly brotherhood, a billionaire who trades in relics and a race across Europe in pursuit of a killer.
Jotham Fletcher is in Rome to give a lecture about Simon Magus at the church where he fell to his death beside the Roman Forum. Magus was a cult leader mentioned in the Bible and his libertine sect disappeared by 400 AD.
But did it really die out?
A robed man is pushed from the bell tower of the church at midnight and Jotham becomes the prime suspect. His lover Antonella, an expert on ancient documents, has a shocking secret. Rumours fly about a papyrus scroll. A ruthless Catholic Brotherhood will stop at nothing in their hunt for a hidden sect. And a reclusive billionaire has the chance of a lifetime to get his revenge.
Jotham is kidnapped, tortured and on the run. He races from Italy to England to Sweden. But the body count continues to rise and so does the heat in this non-stop thriller that will leave you breathless.
FEATURING: a fast-paced and gripping plot, chase sequences, Italian police, mysterious historical events and an ending that you won’t see coming.
An extract from Chapter 5 The Magus Covenant
Maria Rinaldi caught Antonella before she hit the ground and managed to drag her to a nearby bench. “Head forward. You’ve just fainted, my dear,” she said. “Happens all the time in these situations. Stay there until you’re fully recovered. Don’t try to get up.”
Antonella nodded her head in compliance, wishing she could erase that dead body from her mind.
Jotham sat down and put his arm around her. “I’m sorry about that, Nella. You’ve done very well.”
Captain Bonocci marched over, keen to be included in the drama. “I told you it’s best left to the professionals. Do you know that person?”
“Not at all. A total stranger,” replied Jotham. “But the way he died was dreadful. His legs looked as if they had disintegrated.”
“Hitting objects on the way down,” said Rinaldi.
“That’s what happened when he died, so they say. Both legs with multiple fractures.”
“What are you talking about? Has there been another death?”
By now Antonella had recovered enough to join in the conversation, although she still looked as white as a ghost. “One that happened about two thousand years ago,” she said. “And legend has it that it was a gruesome death.”
“Whose death?” asked Rinaldi. “You’re not talking about Jesus Christ?”
Antonella shook her head. “No. We’re referring to a magician called Simon Magus.”
“Something from ancient history, yes?” asked Bonocci. “Are you crazy? What has that got to do with today?”
“Please let me explain,” said Jotham.
“Well, Fletcher, I’m waiting. This isn’t Australia, you know. We take police work very seriously here. We don’t just make up stories.”
Jotham tried to suppress a powerful urge to stand up and walk away, since Bonocci only seemed interesting in insulting him. But he felt duty bound to tell them what he knew and help solve the riddle of the dead man in the churchyard.
“There’s a painting by Avanzino Nucci, an Italian artist, dated about 1620,” he said. “No one knows the whereabouts of the original artwork, although it’s easy to find photographs of it on the Internet. I have a copy of it here in my notes.”
Bonocci’s patience was running out fast. “What has some old painting got do with anything? You university types are all the same. This is a murder scene, not an art museum.”
Maria Rinaldi decided that she better intervene. “Please, Capitano, why don’t we hear the story? It can’t hurt. Perhaps this dead person is an artist, or connected to the art world.”
“Very well, then. Finish what you have to say, but hurry up. I am a busy man.”
Fletcher continued. “The painting was called Peter’s Conflict with Simon Magus.” He rifled through his briefcase and found a coloured printout of the painting. “Here it is, a very good composition. The Apostle Peter is laying hands, as they say, on recently baptised people, so that they can receive the Holy Spirit. Notice that most people are dressed in light coloured clothing. On the right hand side is Simon Magus. He contrasts sharply with everyone else, dressed in long black robes, with bushy black eyebrows and beard. Now do you understand?”
One of the recent reviews for the book
I mention Dan Brown because I like his books. I only recently got on to Toni Pike. This is the first in the Jotham Fletcher series; I will read more. He is a rector in an Australian parish working on research into Simon Magus (could not help but recall the Silver Chalice–where Jack Palance portraying Magus, believes he can fly, saw it as a child). Like Brown’s Logdon, Pike’s Fletcher gets embroiled in controversial sectarian elements within the Catholic Church. Unlike Logdon, Fletcher faces much more serious danger personally. So, this story is really stronger in that respect.
Pike’s book follows the mystery/thriller precepts of plot/suspense progression well and builds to a climax with heightened tension and twists. If you like the genre, you will like this book–it’s well written.
Read the reviews and buy the book and also the box set of the series: Amazon US
And: Amazon UK
A selection of other books by Toni Pike
Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US
And : Amazon UK
Read more reviews and follow Toni on: Goodreads
About Toni Pike
Toni Pike’s main passions are writing, travelling and spending time with family and friends, and she believes that coffee and long walks are an essential part of any day. After starting her career as a veterinary surgeon, she later taught high school and had a successful career in the public service. She now lives in Canberra, the capital city of Australia.
Pike is the author of Dead Dry Heart – a psychological thriller, and The Jotham Fletcher Mystery Thriller Series: The Magus Covenant, The Rock of Magus, The Magus Epiphany and Holy Spear of Magus.
She’s also the author of two non-fiction books. The One Way Diet is a no-nonsense guide to losing weight and coping with the journey. Happy Travels 101 is a short book of travel tips with great advice for anyone who wants to travel overseas.
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