This is a treasure-hunting man and wife adventure; a Sam and Remi Fargo story, No. 8. I doubt that there is a Cussler book that one can easily put down. This is the first in the Series co-authored by Robin Burcell.
This is another exciting, fast-paced thrill-ride and I have yet to read one that was not enjoyable, but I have got wary of the factory production-line thrillers produced by the authors that have made it. They tend to lose the shine polished up by the authors’ sole earlier works.
Besides the fact that this is more about non-pirates, the setting descriptions were not always convincing, e.g. travelling by car from London to Bristol: left the city behind, sped through green fields… I get the feeling that whoever wrote this, and other descriptions of the UK, either has never been there or has not got a good feel of locale. And I can’t believe that, in this instance, it is Clive Cussler.
Back in 1216 England, we have King John and his entourage, plus treasure, fleeing for their lives. Poisoned and dying, and concerned for the life of his son, John is advised to ditch the treasure to take the heat off; to make his son less likely to be a target. A riddle is passed on through the generations as to where the treasure was actually secreted… The key to the riddle appears to be a cipher wheel.
Present day, a ruthless distant relative of the traitor in the king’s group is after the treasure, convinced that he is the rightful owner. He is a rich man with vast resources and a team of equally nasty murderous henchmen pursuing the riddle which is hidden in a rare book, the cipher wheel and, of course, the goodies…
The Fargo team, fortunately equally well heeled with a jet at their disposal, are one step ahead, or sometimes one behind, in the race to secure the loot for their charity and for the relatives of the good guys.
So, from an antique book dealer in San Francisco, to Arizona, to Jamaica, Brazil and various cities on the British Isles, we follow the frantic chase, from one scrape to another. All good readable fun, if you can keep your tongue firmly in your cheek.
There are about fifty characters to get a handle on, though, which can be a tad confusing, but our clever, tough beautiful pair make it through alright, of course, and I expect we’ll meet them again in The Fargo Series no. 9…
Thank you to the Penguin Random House SA promo team for this review copy.