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The Nosferatu Scroll
James Becker
Bantam, 479 pages

The Nosferatu Scroll
James Becker
James Becker spent over twenty years in the Royal Navy's Fleet Air arm and served during Falklands War. Throughout his career he has been involved in covert operations in many of the world's hotspots; places like Yemen, Northern Ireland and Russia. He is an accomplished combat pistol shot and has an abiding interest in ancient and medieval history.

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Past Feature Reviews
A review by Sandra Scholes

Before going into the story and what it concerns, it would be more interesting to talk about the previous novels that come before this one; as a writer who is interested in ancient and medieval history, James Becker has published three novels, The First Apostle, The Moses Stone and The Messiah Secret. They all feature Chris Bronson as a police officer who acts as the main character in the story. The First Apostle became one of the best selling eBooks of 2009, giving him the first push to write more of the same.

Now into the book itself, The Nosferatu Scroll begins in Bohemia in 1741 with Bohdan Reznik, a priest who has to perform certain rites on a Hungarian princess before she is laid to rest. These are not ordinary rites though, as she has her head removed, holy water splashed over her corpse, and many other rituals, but no one other than him knows why this happens. This first part of the story brings readers into the mind of the priest who performs the rites without any emotion. He does as he is told and, strange as it seems, he also removes all trace that the princess ever existed. Paintings depicting her likeness are taken down, and cut before burning them.

Moving several hundred years into the future takes us to Venice of 2010 where Chris Bronson and Angela Lewis are having a nice little holiday break from it all, roaming around picturesque places and landmarks. The real reason he is there becomes evident later when he is asked to look over a tomb which has been a crime scene. Once he looks at the body, he sees that it is a woman, and she has been shoddily buried. Also his friend Angela wants to run tests on it as she thinks the new findings are interesting enough to warrant her taking them back home to London so she can examine them more thoroughly. Chris hopes he will get what he wants out of the Italian government, but he isn't so sure about whether they will let them.

While all this is happening, there is a side story that coincides with it, a mystery woman is abducted by assassins while Chris talks with Angela about who she thinks the buried woman is, and that they have found a diary from over a hundred years ago that tells the tale in Latin, and mentions a lost scroll that hides a deadly secret.

For those who like vampires and even those who think they know a lot about them, there is a lot of information on the vampire and some many will not know either. Chris and Angela are two normal people; he is a London cop, investigating a missing person abroad, and stumbles upon the find of the century -- the grave of a possible vampire. He is a rational type of person with his feet firmly on the ground, and he isn't used to dashing into the unknown without a reason, and certainly doesn't like the occult. Angela, on the other hand is the opposite, she embraces the unknown and even has a wide knowledge of it, telling him all she knows and sometimes giving him the answer to what he needs solving.

Other people are interested in the two of them, and some think they have stolen a skull. Chris is let into a secret -- they know they were at a cemetery in the early hours, and Chris wants to follow the lead back to them and find out more. While they are hard at work in what would have been a holiday, someone else is in danger -- the abducted woman, she has been chained to a wall, and doesn't know why, and with a suspected vampire cult operating in the area, life is looking bleak for her, and probably Chris and Angela too.

The Nosferatu Scroll can be read without having read the other three novels. It captures the imagination straight away, and the first character the reader comes across, the priest is as real as you can imagine him. When the reader gets to the present day it is a rush for Chris and Angela to get the scroll and the answers they need as they only have so much time to do so. If readers liked The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, this runs along similar lines as wherever the two main characters go, they are pursued by people who don't want them to find out any more about the buried woman and who she really is.

Copyright © 2011 Sandra Scholes

Sandra Scholes likes to go on hikes when it's this kind of cold weather, and make notes about the books she's just read -- in the meantime she's already read stuff for Quail Bell magazine, Love Romance Passion, and Active Anime.

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