The best thriller novels exploring religious conspiracies, for fans of Dan Brown

Who am I?

Some of my earliest memories are of exploring megalithic sites such as Stonehenge. I guess I can blame my parents for making me a history buff, fascinated by ancient cultures, ancient religions and ancient mysteries. It’s no surprise then that I ended up a fan of mystery fiction. Most people would turn immediately to Dan Brown for this genre, but there are many excellent authors in this genre for fans to discover. I didn’t end up as a historian, but a scientist. So, when I began writing thrillers, I combined my scientific knowledge with my love of ancient mysteries. The result, The Bergamese Sect, is a religious conspiracy thriller masquerading as science fiction!


I wrote...

The Bergamese Sect

By Alastair Gunn,

Book cover of The Bergamese Sect

What is my book about?

A mysterious figure, hiding somewhere among the seven billion inhabitants of Earth, is threatening to reveal the startling truth behind a very modern myth. A conspiracy so damaging it could destroy the very fabric of human culture. Following the only lead he has, an encrypted email sent to an innocent proxy, Larry Walsh, Assistant Director of the National Security Agency, becomes embroiled in a race against time, fighting with subversives, saboteurs, and religious fanatics to prevent a global iconoclasm. The ancient deception he uncovers is stranger than he ever imagined...

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Templar Legacy

Alastair Gunn Why did I love this book?

I first discovered author Steve Berry with the publication of his excellent novel, The Templar Legacy, one of a series involving Cotton Malone, a retired security operative turned conspiracy investigator. Berry weaves a complex story about the lost treasures of the medieval Knights Templar, and their modern-day attempts to regain power. As in all of Berry’s books, there is a well-researched historical background, plenty of plot twists, and, of course, murders. I particularly like Berry’s attention to historical detail, his rich description, and sense of fatality. Berry’s writing inspired me enough to ask him to be a cover reviewer for my book. 

By Steve Berry,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Templar Legacy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first explosive thriller in the Cotton Malone series from a New York Times megaselling author.

The ancient order of the Knights Templar possessed untold wealth and absolute power, until the Inquisition destroyed them and their riches were lost forever.

But some people don't believe in 'forever'.

Ex-agent Cotton Malone used to work for Stephanie Nelle in the US Justice Department. Now Nelle wants his help to crack a series of puzzles that have confounded experts for centuries - and could lead to the legendary lost treasure of the Knights Templar.

But someone else is on the trail - someone…


Book cover of The Last Testament

Alastair Gunn Why did I love this book?

Sam Bourne (a pseudonym of British author Jonathan Freedland) is an unfairly neglected writer of religious conspiracy thrillers. It’s difficult to recommend just one of Bourne’s books; they are, without fail, perfect examples of the ‘Dan Brown’ genre of fiction. However, The Last Testament is an excellent place to start. Here, Bourne manages to seamlessly meld modern geopolitics with ancient religious mythology. As the protagonists hunt for a stolen relic from the time of Abraham, its significance for peace or war in the Bible lands becomes clear. Hold on to your hats with this one!

By Sam Bourne,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Last Testament as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the Number One bestselling author of The Righteous Men comes this staggering religious conspiracy thriller. The Last Testament: It was written. It was lost. It will save us all.

April 2003: as the Baghdad Museum of Antiquities is looted, a teenage Iraqi boy finds an ancient clay tablet in a long-forgotten vault. He takes it and runs off into the night ...

Several years later, at a peace rally in Jerusalem, the Israeli prime minister is about to sign a historic deal with the Palestinians. A man approaches from the crowd and seems to reach for a gun -…


Book cover of The Lost Testament

Alastair Gunn Why did I love this book?

Despite the similar title to my previous recommendation, James Becker’s The Lost Testament is a very different beast. The sixth installment of Becker’s Chris Bronson series, the testament concerned is an ancient parchment stolen from the Vatican Archives. It later shows up for sale in Cairo; soon the body count rises as various factions fall over themselves to find it and protect its damaging revelation. I think Becker is a vastly underrated author; his use of plot decoys and his descriptive passages are second-to-none. Becker is another author I admired enough to ask him to cover-review my book

By James Becker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Lost Testament as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

FROM THE PUBLISHERS THAT BROUGHT YOU DAN BROWN

For thousands of years we guarded it. But now it has been found. This could be the end – for us; for our organisation; for the world. You must destroy it, and those who have taken it.

An ancient object is discovered in a Cairo souk. Hours later, the market trader who sold it is tortured to death. As the bodies begin to pile up, a request for help is sent to British Museum historian Angela Lewis.

Angela travels to Spain with her ex-husband, undercover police officer Chris Bronson. There they discover…


Book cover of Sanctus

Alastair Gunn Why did I love this book?

I may be uncommon in my likes and dislikes, but I’m a fan of carefully constructed prose. I prefer the challenge of interpretation, to be left without all the facts, to be enticed, teased, and misled. For me, author Simon Toyne does all this, and more. His Sancti trilogy begins with the epitome Sanctus. The plot, concerning an ancient secret passed down through generations of monks, is complex, sometimes disturbing, and always compelling. Toyne’s writing, for me, is both intelligent and dynamic, exactly how this genre should be done!

By Simon Toyne,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sanctus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The bestselling thriller debut of 2011 - the apocalyptic conspiracy thriller that has set the world alight...

REVELATION OR DEVASTATION?

The certainties of the modern world are about to be blown apart by a three thousand year-old conspiracy nurtured by blood and lies ...

A man throws himself to his death from the oldest inhabited place on the face of the earth, a mountainous citadel in the historic Turkish city of Ruin. This is no ordinary suicide but a symbolic act. And thanks to the media, it is witnessed by the entire world.

But few understand it. For charity worker…


Book cover of The Eighth Day

Alastair Gunn Why did I love this book?

I’ve chosen this final recommendation because it is a little different from the standard religious conspiracy thriller. I love John Case’s writing (actually a husband and wife collaboration). Although The Genesis Code from this pair could be regarded as a better example of the genre, I prefer The Eighth Day because it deviates from the usual strictly Christian or Islamic subject matter. Plus, refreshingly, it doesn’t make the main character a superhero of espionage, an out-of-control academic, or a swaggering investigative journalist. It involves a demonic tribe in the hinterlands of Turkey and a billionaire’s megalomania. Be prepared for some surprising twists! Dark, fast-paced, and full of intrigue. 

By John Case,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Eighth Day as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"And on the Seventh Day, He rested." --Genesis, 2:2-3 The EighthDay is an explosive, compulsively readable novel of suspense that plunges a clever young man into a web of mystery and international deceit, bringing him face to face with the ultimate evil. Danny Cray is a struggling 28 year-old sculptor and video artist who lives in Washington DC. To make ends meet, he does occasional freelance work as a researcher for a large firm of private detectives. When one of their most powerful clients approaches him with a job, the money is too good to resist. All he has to…


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Lethal Legacy

By H R Kemp,

Book cover of Lethal Legacy

H R Kemp

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What is my book about?

Buried Secrets. A web of deceit, betrayal, and danger. Can she survive her fight for justice and truth? Laura thought she knew everything about her late husband before he died. Now, her life and the lives of those she loves are in danger. As Laura delves into his previous role in Iraq, she unravels a web of lies and deceit that goes far beyond anything she could have imagined. What was he researching? And why are people willing to kill for it?

Laura turns amateur sleuth. At fifty-nine, she must summon every ounce of strength to expose the truth and navigate a treacherous landscape where the lines between trust and betrayal blur. Every step she takes brings her closer to the truth, but also deeper into the dangerous realm of those who wish to silence her forever.

Can she triumph over the shadows of corruption and finally bring justice to light? Or will she succumb to the deadly grip of those who will stop at nothing to protect their dark legacies?

Lethal Legacy

By H R Kemp,

What is this book about?

Buried Secrets. A web of deceit, betrayal, and danger. Can she survive her fight for justice and truth?

Laura thought she knew everything about her late husband before he died. Now, her life and the lives of those she loves are in danger.

As Laura delves into his previous role in Iraq, she begins to unravel a web of lies and deceit that goes far beyond anything she could have imagined. What was he researching? And why are people willing to kill for it?

Laura turns amateur sleuth. At fifty-nine, she must summon every ounce of strength and relentless determination…


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