Be prepared, just not in a bad way. That’s my advice to any reader picking up Marks of Cain by Tom Knox. In his book, Knox’s three main characters are terrorized and chased throughout Europe and Africa by a secret society trying to keep them from learning the truth. He splits the adventure into two parallel stories and frequently switches between the two. Just as the reader gets wrapped up in one storyline, he moves to the other. It is completely frustrating, but a truly clever way to keep us all interested.
David Martinez inherits more than two million dollars after his “believed to be poor” grandfather dies in an Arizona hospital. While on his deathbed, David’s grandfather sends him on a dangerous and thrilling adventure to uncover the “truth” of where he came from. Armed with nothing more than a map, David flies to Europe and befriends a woman named Amy. At the same time, he finds an enemy named Miguel. On his quest to find the truth he learns that Miguel is responsible for his parent’s death years ago as they went in search of the truth for themselves.
While Miguel hunts David and Amy across Europe, a reporter in London gets pulled into an investigation of gruesome murders. Simon, a married man with a young son, discovers a connection between multiple murders throughout the world. The more he investigates, the more danger he puts his family in. While uncovering the mystery, he connects with David and Amy and comes to realize he faces the same danger. This society will stop at nothing to keep the truth hidden.
Their stories all intertwine as they learn about World War II concentration camps, ancient biblical curses, the Catholic Church, and modern day scientific genetics. Trust me, it all makes sense in the end. It’s truly a fast-paced and exciting book. One can tell Knox did a lot of research and has quite a brain for conspiracy theories. It’s a book very much in the Dan Brown genre.
One point of note, the book’s murder and death scenes are truly horrific. In fact, there are a few sections that I skimmed due to the graphic detail. That’s just me though, I have a pretty weak stomach for violence. Overall I enjoyed the book. It’s a fast read and it’s got some interesting ideas. I could’ve done with a fewer murder scenes, but I understand why he put those in there. All I have to say is be prepared.