The Lazarus Succession

Fiction - Mystery - Historical
367 Pages
Reviewed on 10/02/2017
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

UK Bestselling author, Ken Fry, holds a university Master's Degree in Literature and has extensively traveled around the world. The places and events are reflected in his stories and most of his tales are based on his own experiences. He was a former publisher before deciding to retire and devote his full time to writing. He now lives in the UK and shares his home with 'Dickens' his Shetland Sheepdog.

Fry has published 8 suspense thrillers. The Patmos Enigma, Red Ground, The Lazarus Succession, Suicide Seeds, The Brodsky Affair, a short story collection entitled, Disjointed Tales, and 2 short stories, Check Mate and Is That You, Jim?

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Lucinda E Clarke for Readers' Favorite

The Lazarus Succession by Ken Fry begins like many other books with the engagement of a rather suspect pair of heroes employed to find a missing medieval painting depicting Christ with Lazarus. It is said to have spiritual powers of healing. But this is where the similarity to so many others diverges. The story then leaps back in time to meet the painter Francisco whose family has ties to a secret organisation similar to the Knights Templar. As the story progresses, beautifully woven in both the present and the past, the complete chronicle comes to light and the well-chosen title becomes crystal clear. The villain, who has no redeeming qualities whatsoever, is an ex-judge who hires Brodie Ladro and Ulla Stuart to find the missing painting, with every intention of disposing of them as soon as the commission is complete. Add into the mix an aging and terminally ill Spanish Condesa, whose lineage stretches back to the days of the early Kings of Castille, and a forger the villain hires on his release from prison and you know you are in for a great story.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Lazarus Succession by Ken Fry. The pace was just right, the characters believable despite the mysticism towards the end of the book, and the excitement continued throughout. Brodie and Ulla are not superheroes, although much smarter than average. However, Ulla does not hesitate to shoot when she has the chance. Set mostly in Spain, the book describes the landscape beautifully, along with the history of its religious orders and treasures. Although similar in many ways to the books by Dan Brown, I enjoyed it more. It was both sophisticated yet down to earth, despite Brodie’s visions. At no point does the author over dramatize the story, but with his excellent grasp of the written word he leads us to accept the surreal as perfectly normal and possible. The writing is excellent, the book is a treasure in itself and I would love to award this six stars.

Stuart Kenyon

As soon as I read the blurb, I suspected that I'd love this book. Thankfully, I wasn't disappointed.

The genre of religious thriller was propelled into the public consciousness by Dan Brown, and anyone following in his footsteps has big boots to fill. In many ways, Fry's book is superior to those featuring Robert Langdon. It is faster, sexier and more grown-up, for a start. The plot is intricate, the pace masterful, and despite a busy schedule, I was compelled to make time for The Lazarus Succession.

Comparisons with mega-sellers aside, this is a superb piece of work. Our two protagonists, Brodie Ladro and Ulla Stewart are ne'er-do-wells, using their talents and knowledge to steal a living. I prefer an anti-hero to a clean-cut saint, so this was no problem for me. And for those with more exacting standards, the mission undertaken by the partners-in-crime eventually becomes a charitable one. The villain of the piece, the delightfully Machiavellian Throgmorten, is a classic bad guy, and by the end of the book, I was desperate for him to come unstuck.

The final twist is inspired, too; I won't spoil anyone's enjoyment, but the supernatural elements, and their effect on the characters, are pure genius. Even an old cynic like me was entranced. The addition of a little historical flavour, in the shape of frequent glances into a beautifully depicted medieval Spain, gives the novel context, and a timeless magic I found addictive.

This is polished fiction of the highest calibre, and I'm more than happy to award 5 stars.

Lilah E. Noir

As a canvas use a mysterious painting with a religious subject, divine beauty, and a mythical status. Add two flawed anti-heroes, art thieves, and daredevils, an artist, and researcher with a various past and talents and his partner, a thrill seeking, tough beauty who doesn’t hesitate to use her gun whenever it’s necessary. Introduce the villain, a respectable member of society on the surface, a crooked and sociopathic on the inside. Join them together by the order of a wealthy Spanish noblewoman dying of terminal illness. Include toes curling suspense, character development, historical details, a killer twist and emotions as intense as the swirling colors of the lost medieval relic. The result is a fantastic novel by the author Ken Fry, worthy of an international fame and a bestselling status.
It is the first time I’m reading that author’s work and it certainly left me with a desire to read more of his writing. He writes a masterful prose, strong and emotional, without ever becoming cheesy or melodramatic. His characters are well developed and intriguing, a lot more than they appear at first sight. The Lazarus Succession has a great historical and religious foundation combined with a dynamic plot, twists, and turns. Ken Fry knows how to keep the reader’s attention and trigger their emotional response. He is also great at switching the different points of views, whether they are of the sixteenth-century aspiring artist/monk or the twenty-first century art thief who goes through an unbelievable transformation.
While I identify myself as an atheist, I was seriously impressed with the mixture of art and faith, love and personal loss, sacrifice and redemption. It raises some interesting questions of the fate of the artist and the impact their work may have. Some parts of the story left me feeling conflicted yet I can’t deny that the pace and the final resolution made perfect sense.
Perhaps the only thing I wanted to see more of was the emotional and romantic connection between Brodie and Ulla. No, I don’t insist that there must be a romantic subplot in every novel but they truly felt more like business partners/partners in crime. That doesn’t bother me, their characters and interaction were great. I just feel that if the reader was shown a deeper emotional connection the impact of the ending would be even stronger and more poignant.
Still, the story was powerful enough and the ending was more than appropriate. Perhaps you wonder what is it about this ending that pulls the reader’s heart strings? You have to read The Lazarus Succession and experience it yourself.
I highly recommend it to all fans of historical thrillers and well-crafted, intense prose. Five Uprising Stars.

W. Stuart

What I liked: This story drew me in immediately! The story started with a bang and kept up a great pace throughout. Brody and Ulla were great, Throgmorton was an excellent though odious player, and the Condesa was the perfect sympathetic character. Full of religious symbolism, action, and a mystical end, The Lazarus Succession was a fantastic read!

What I didn’t like: My only complaint was Throgmorton’s end. A little more mysticism would have played better to me given the way the story ended. I would say more, but then I’d have a spoiler and I don’t do that!

Overall impression: The Lazarus Succession was everything I wanted in a religious-themed thriller. Great characters, plenty of action, mystical happenings, and great pace made it a most enjoyable read! Well done Ken Fry!!

My rating: 5 Stars

LAS Book Reviews

Move Over - Brown, Crichton, and King!

In “The Lazarus Succession,” Ken Fry delivers a fascinating story that combines elements of alternate history, supernatural /paranormal activity, and mystery in an exciting thriller that equals the best sellers of top authors. With obvious ease and skill, Fry delivers the notable qualities found in the best-selling novels of Dan Brown, Michael Crichton and Stephen King. I mention these three world famous authors for specific reasons.

“The Lazarus Succession,” delivers the religious conspiracy and intricate mystery facets of Brown with a careful weaving of Biblical events with conspiratorial agents, both modern and ancient, in a clue-filled supernatural mystery thriller. Where Michael Crichton’s extensive research and details drove his medical mysteries, scientific invention, or diabolical apocalyptic stories; Fry applies equal measure, expertise, and excitement to the art and history of oil painting masterpieces along with their association with religious history and Biblical fiction. Stephen King is king for all around storytelling talent, regardless of genre. With “The Lazarus Succession” Ken Fry assumes “king-in-waiting” status. Fry’s characters, their interaction with the plot lines, and each other, are so well defined and realistic the reader cannot help but become involved in their stories and, as the story progresses, their futures. Ken Fry is himself an accomplished painter or his research and imaginative powers of detailed persuasion are second to none. His knowledge of religious history is exemplary and his ability to meld it all in a breathtaking, non-stop action thriller is superior to anything else I’ve read in the past several years. As I grew up, I wanted to write like Stephen King; now, I’m hoping to achieve the level of Ken Fry.

Angela Mortimer

A thriller with devious crooks, imperfect heroes and just to make it even more can't put it down, Spanish catholic mysticism. The book switches from the early renaissance where we see an artist having a mystic episode to present day, to a devout, dying Spanish women searching for a painting she is convinced will cure her. It's fast-paced and full of twists. Excellent, I looked up early Spanish paintings too late, only when I'd finished it.. We only concentrate on El Greco, Velaquez, Goya and Picasso so I was very surprised to see it was very different from the Italian paintings of the day, and I was sorry I hadn't looked it up to start with so I recommend you do so,. It would have changed what I imagined as I read it. Must read for all kinds of reasons.


Not often does a book get under my skin enough for me to write a review about it, but The Lazarus Succession is one such book. It was masterfully written and full of suspense that had me seeking the next page well into the wee hours. The story revolves around artwork with the power to change lives, something artists have been creating for centuries. But this isn’t your average painting. It comes with a mystery involving a secret order, a greedy judge, and a desperate condesa. And it leads art researchers Brodie and Ulla on an international search for answers. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone seeking a well-researched thriller.

Foxy Lady

Brilliant Best Book l have read for a long time excellent story and characters, would highly recommend.

Carol Marrs Phipps

Enthralling and Intriguing

I admit, I am a die-hard scifi/fantasy fan, but I absolutely fell in love with The Lazarus Succession, an epic historical novel, by Ken Fry. Mr. Fry, you now have a devoted new fan.

Fry masterfully spins a web of mystery and intrigue around a lost medieval relic that is being desperately sought by a wealthy Spanish noblewoman, the Condesa Maria Francisca, in hopes that its alleged healing powers can restore her cancer-ravaged body and thus save her life.

According to myth, legend, or historical fact, the missing relic in question was painted in the Sixteenth Century by Francisco Cortez, who disappeared, never to be seen or heard from again immediately after painting it. Further, this particular painting of the raising of Lazarus from the dead by Jesus, had been painted twelve times previously by artists who were all said to be chosen by Christ himself. Each and every one of these paintings vanished mysteriously, to add to the intrigue surrounding this tale.

I could go on and on about this superb story, but I don’t want to give anything away. The book is far too good to ruin with spoilers. Instead, I will tell you that this is an excellent novel with many twists and turns, the pacing is perfection, the characters are wonderful and the ending couldn’t be better. If you want a riveting tale that will hold you in thrall from the first page to the last, then this is your book.

I highly recommend The Lazarus Succession to anyone, your favorite genres aside, (unless they happen to include epic historical novels).

Tara Brown

**This review is for the audiobook on Audible**

The audiobook The Lazarus Succession: A Historical Mystery Thriller by Ken Fry, Narrated by Jack Wynters was one that I would not normally listen to, but since we all must step out of our comfort zone from time to time, I decided to give it a go. I must say, I was pleasantly surprised! It was such a great listen, that I also purchased the Kindle copy to read at a later date! I will let you read the plot description on your own because I tend to give away too many details, and I don't want to ruin anything for you. I found it to be well-written and quite entertaining. I became fully engaged almost immediately, and I was able to finish it in two days. It is about 11-12 hours long, making it well worth your credit, in my opinion. :-) Thank you, Ken Fry! I definitely am looking forward to your next audiobook release!

The narration was fantastic!!! I have never had the opportunity to hear Jack Wynters narrate anything before this book. He was wonderful! I felt his tone, accents, pronunciation, and pace was right on! He was consistent throughout the entire book. I must say I was thoroughly impressed, and began to realize the true dedication and hard work that goes in to being a narrator. I would love to listen to more performances of his in the future. Way to go, Jack!

Overall, I rate this audiobook a 5/5 stars. If you enjoy this type of book, I am confident you will find The Lazarus Succession: A Historical Mystery Thriller by Ken Fry, Narrated by Jack Wynters very appealing! I also recommend it to others who, like myself, are looking to find a different type of listen than what they are used to hearing. I'm looking forward to also reading the Kindle copy I purchased because, as we all know, we tend to have a different experience reading than we do listening, good and not-so-good. I'm sure the second time around will be just as good, if not better because I always come across new discoveries and parts I may have missed or not focused on as much when I went through it the first time. I'm happy I decided to take a step outside of the box...and defintiely pleased with my choice of book with which to do it!

Angelica Kate

First let me say I am a romance writer/reader and thus found this not to be my normal genre. I was intrigued by the content and the high marks this author so gave it a shot - and was not disappointed. He leaped between time periods weaving a very well researched and developed tale of intrigue and mystery. A cast of supremely well-written characters and a story line that kept you guess and moving through this literary work wondering what would happen on the next page. Great job - and for the thriller, mystery or intrigue reader this is a must read (even if that isn't your normal genre like me - give this book a shot)!

Ed Kelly

I really enjoyed this book! The search is on to find a lost painting that may heal a dying woman. The characters in this book are great as is the locations. I liked the storyline a lot. It had plenty of action and is well written. The author does a good job at drawing you into the story. The villain is well played out and is one of my favorite characters. If you're a fan of Dan Brown or James Rollins then you'll love this book. I will definitely be grabbing other works from this author.

Eeva Lancaster

Editor's Review:

First time I read The Lazarus Succession, I knew right away that it had the potential to be a bestseller. It is now a consistent #1 and Top 10 bestseller in its genre on Amazon UK. As a fan of books by Dan Brown, I saw the similarity in the tone. But, Fry's books had more... depth. His writing, lyrical, and a pleasure to read.

I invite you to read it if you love mysteries and conspiracies with a religious undertone, and discover this author. Truly a gem in the indie industry.