Ben Pastor is the pen name of a famous Italian author named Maria Volpi Verbena. She is popular for writing thriller, mystery, and historical fiction novels. Author Pastor is particularly well known for writing the Captain Martin Bora, Aelius Spartianus, and the Solomon Meisl book series. Pastor was born on March 4, 1950, in Rome, Italy. Currently, she is holding the dual citizenship of the United States and Italy. Author Pastor completed her graduation from the La Sapienza University in Rome in the field of archaeology. Following this, she shifted to the US and took the job of teaching. Pastor was involved in teaching at a number of universities in Vermont, Ohio, and Illinois. The writing career of author Pastor began in 2000 with the release of her first book called Lumen. This book also marks the beginning of Pastor’s successful Martin Bora series. Lumen is also the first novel that features the character of detective Martin Bora that author Pastor has created. Pastor has described Martin Bora as a tormented officer-investigator from Germany. The character of Martin Bora is inspired from the life of Claus von Stauffenberg, who was the executor of the murder attempt on the life of Hitler in 1944. The first in the successful series of novels features the life of Martin Bora throughout the military career as well as through the World War Two in Ukraine, Italy, and Poland.
Author Pastor has penned a second mystery/thriller series featuring Aelius Spartianus as the main lead. Aelius is shown as a soldier from Rome during the 4th century, who also serves as a detective. In addition to these two mystery series, author Pastor has also written a couple of standalone books that feature Solomon Meiso and Karel Heida as the lead characters. Meisi and Heida come across each other in Prague during the time of the World War One. Author Pastor’s books feature the recurring themes of the love of the classical antiquities along with the painful exploration of the condition of the humans in the war times. Pastor’s works are often characterized by the strong postmodernism influence, in which the rules of classic mystery are mixed with the psychological and historical novels. The literary style of Pastor seems to be complex and sophisticated. It seems the result of the passion of author Pastor for the prominent authors like Yukio Mishima, Toni Morrison, Georges Simenon, Herman Melville, Joseph Roth, and Nikos Kazant. Additionally, her stories are influenced by the Hans Hellmut Kirst and Raymond Chandler. When author Pastor was involved in her teaching job, she had to manage her time between Italy and America. As of today, Pastor is living in Italy and doing research on her next project. The novels and stories written by her are released in Germany, Poland, Spain, Czech Republic, and Italy other than the United States. The language used by her for writing her books is English. And as far as the publications in the other countries are concerned, the books are first translated into a particular language and then released in the country of that particular language. Pastor is regarded as one of the best authors of historical fiction in the modern times. In 2008, Pastor was awarded with the prestigious award, the Premio Zaragoza.
The Captain Martin Bora series written by Ben Pastor is comprised of a total of 11 books, which were released between the years 1999 and 2015. All the books of this series feature the lead character as Martin Bora, who is depicted as an anti-Nazi Anglo German officer living in Europe at the time of the Second World War. The first book of this series is entitled ‘Lumen’. It was released by the Bitter Lemon publication in the year 1999. The main characters of this novel include Martin Bora, Kazimiera, Father Malecki, Ewa Kowalska, etc. The book shows a wartime psychological thriller, political intrigue, religious mystery, and detective story. Captain Bora is shown teaming up with a Chicago based priest named Father Malecki for carrying out an investigation of the murder case of a nun in Poland. At the start of the book’s story, it is shown that Martin Bora finds Mother Kazimierza shot dead while sitting in the garden of her convent in 1939. She was believed to have found power of seeing the future and it had brought her some devoted following as well as several enemies. When Father Malecki learns about the special powers of Mother Kazimierza, he comes to investigate about its reality while attending the bidding of the pope in Cracow. The Vatican government orders Father Malecki to stay for some more days and assist Martin Bora in the investigation. Bora seems stunned by his colleagues’ ideology and the occupation violence. A point comes when he feels tested up to his breaking point. The seductive actress, Ewa Kowalska, interferes with the investigation to help Martin Bora get some relief. But, that also does not work. Malecki and Bora continue to investigate and try to find out who killed Mother Kazimierza.
The next book of this series is called ‘Liar Moon’. It was also published by Bitter Moon in 2001. Author Pastor has set this story in Italy at the time of the year 1943. The book features the primary characters as Martin Vora and a widow named Clara. At the beginning of the story of the book, it is depicted that the government of Italy decides to switch sides and launches an attack on Germany. Italy’s northern region lies in the control of the puppets of the German fascists, while the southern region is liberated with the help of the Allied forces, who fight all the way up to the peninsula. After the aristocrat Baron and Wehrmacht major Martin Bora survives hell in the Russian controlled region, he is ordered to visit Verona. Martin is given the order of investigating the brutal killing of a popular local fascist. This bizarre death of the fascist threatens to discreet the public image of the regime. When Martin Bora arrives in Verona and begins his work on the case, he comes to know that the prime suspect in the murder of the fascist is his own 28 year old widow known as Clara. Bora seems to have a record of opposing the SS policies in the Soviet Union and is extremely haunted by it. Therefore, he knows that he must take each step carefully or else he might land in trouble in the foreign country. Soon, a breathless chase starts against the Holocaust tragedy’s backdrop and the relentless warfare of the anti-partisan.
Books in order of publication:
Martin Bora Books
|A Dark Song of Blood||(2014)|
|Road to Ithaca||(2017)|
|The Horseman’s Song||(2019)|
|The Night of Shooting Stars||(2020)|
Aelius Spartianus Books
|The Water Thief||(2007)|
|The Fire Waker||(2008)|