Adrian Magson is the author of 20 crime and spy thrillers, including the Harry Tate series, the Lucas Rocco series and the Marc Portman series. His latest books are ‘The Locker’ (Midnight Ink - Feb 2016) the first in a new thriller series, and ‘Hard Cover’ (Severn House - March 2016), the third of his Marc Portman novels.
Simon Toyne arrived on the thriller scene with a bang last year, with ‘Sanctus’, his high-octane debut novel. Now he’s back, this time with ‘The Key’.
Following the highly publicised suicide of a monk at the Citadel, at the ancient site of Ruin, in Turkey, events begin to unfold that herald the possible end of everything the secretive order within the Citadel have been guarding for centuries – in fact, the end of days. A symbol known as the Key has disappeared, allowing a creeping death to overtake the Sancti – the leaders of the Citadel – and those in close contact; a disease also spreads like wildfire among the trees in the Citadel’s gardens, tended so lovingly by monks, who find they cannot halt the blackening horror that is killing off everything they hold dear.
For aid worker Kathryn Mann, and her son Gabrielle, it is something long talked off and dreaded, and follows the death of husband and father, John Mann, reputedly killed by a ‘dragon’ in the desert; for journalist Liv Adamsen, lying in a hospital bed and guarded night and day, it is even more personal. She can feel something inside her; something she doesn’t understand, nor indeed knows much about, because her memory is faulty. She can’t recall what has brought her here, only that whatever is happening to her is vital to the world as a whole, and unless she can figure out what it is, will bring dreadful consequences.
For an almost mystical figure in the desert known only as The Ghost, finding the Key means everything.
But there are those trying to cover up what is happening inside the Citadel – and kill anyone outside who knows. The monks themselves, desperate and willing to do anything to hide the truth while retrieving the Key; the Vatican, whose financial expert Cardinal Clementi, has presided over the steady ruination of the Catholic church’s vast wealth, as did his predecessors. For him, any revelation of the truth will uncover the greatest scandal to ever rock the church – and plunge it into a decline from which it will probably never recover.
Conspiracy thrillers abound, for which lovers of the genre can rejoice. And in Simon Toyne’s latest, they can rest easy: he fulfils all their wishes and more, and sets the pages alight with a complex tale that never lets up for a moment, from the mountains and deserts of Turkey, to the hallowed halls of the Vatican.