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A State of Sin

Amsterdam Occult Series Book Two

Mark Hobson

Harcourt Publishers

Copyright © 2021 Mark Hobson

All rights reserved

The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.

No part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without express written permission of the publisher.

ISBN-13: 9798724812566

Cover design by Ken Dawson at Creative Covers

To Sophie, Emily, Jacob and Leo


Title Page




Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16


South Africa


Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Author’s Note

Real-Life Terror in Amsterdam


Books by Mark Hobson




Chapter 1

The Afrikaner

Following the narrow hiking trail, Johan Roost slowly wound his way down from the high mountain pass. The steep, switch-back course zig-zagged back and forth, its descent marked by huge slabs of rock. To his left a waterfall fell in narrow ribbons, throwing up a fine white mist, and he paused momentarily to enjoy the cool water droplets.

Shrugging off his small backpack, Johan found a spot on the nearest boulder and sat down with a sigh, taking the weight off his tired legs. Today’s hike had been a long one, about fifteen miles, much of it over rough terrain and through the high mountain pass at a height of over 3000 metres, and even though he had lived in this region of South Africa for most of his life, those kind of altitudes were starting to take their toll on him these days. After all, he was in his late fifties now, and although still physically very fit and well-toned, the thinner air was bound to have an effect.

Reaching into his backpack, he took out his water bottle and took a long swig, and then chewed on the last of his biltong, turning to look up at the mountain range behind him.

The Drakensberg Mountains. In Zulu, they were known as uKhahlamba, or Barrier of Spears, and the name was apt. The range stretched from horizon to horizon, an immense grey wall that separated KwaZulu-Natal from Lesotho, and they dominated the region for hundreds of miles around. The view never failed to bring a lump to his throat even though he saw it every single day from his lodge on the outskirts of the tiny community of Elandskop. And in the midday sun in early December, the height of summer, they looked especially magical.

Johan turned his gaze downwards, past the fast-moving stream, towards the smaller hills below, their smooth shapes stretching away eastwards in a series of green waves. He could just make out his home where the land flattened, the lodge perched above the cultivated pastures of his farm.

His family had owned land here for the best part of two hundred years, ever since the Great Trek of 1836-38 when his Dutch ancestors, the Boers, had descended through these very mountain passes in their search for new land away from British rule. It was hard to picture their journey, travelling as they did in small covered carts and wagons pulled by teams of oxen and mules, their passage blighted by disease and injury, by thunderstorms, flood and drought, travelling through a hostile land. Their journey, and the subsequent struggle they had endured ever since, was what had shaped the Afrikaner mentality over the centuries. And although the modern world was changing, the Dutch descendants of those original trekkers were still a hardy bunch to this day, with a few diehards – like himself – still refusing to drop their old values and ways. The political landscape may have changed in South Africa, but here, far from the big cities of Pretoria and Johannesburg, the old Boer dominance, like the geography, was constant and untouched by the twenty-first century.

Johan remained sitting on his rock for another five minutes, romanticizing about the past, and then packed up his few things and readied himself for the final leg of his hike. It was all downhill from here and another hour, or two at the most, should see him back home.

Just as he was about to push on a faint noise came to him. His keen ears filtered it out from the natural sounds, and he turned his head, trying to pinpoint its source. It came to him as a faint pulse, almost a thrumming of the air, which gradually grew in volume and pitch, becoming deeper the louder it became. Then it echoed down from the mountains behind, bouncing in a concussive wave, and Johan spun in time to see what had caused it.

The helicopter flew directly overhead, its rotor blades slapping at the air, and although it passed a good fifty or so feet above him, he involuntarily ducked and cringed. He watched as it flew on, the pilot probably unaware of him just below, now dipping lower and hugging the hills, sometimes seeming to skim the tall grass at head height.

Johan followed its course, the engine noise becoming a faint high-pitched tone that gradually faded away, and he soon lost sight of it in the summer haze.

He scowled heavily and kicked at the ground, a dejected feeling weighing him down.

Johan headed home.

It was mid-afternoon with the sun past its blazing peak by the time he reached his lodge. Walking along the dusty track that led around the side of the main building, Johan stopped dead when he saw the chopper parked in the empty paddock beyond the fence. The pilot was still seated inside, ear mufflers clamped over his head and wearing aviation sunglasses, looking smart in his freshly-ironed white shirt. He turned to look at Johan briefly, before turning back to his instrument panel,

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