There are many rumors about the bay off Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. Some say it was the site of the lost empire of the Solomon king and that great treasure lies beneath the waters. Others say terrible things happened here, atrocities and disappearances at the hands of cannibal giants. Which is exactly what attracts the attention of husband-and-wife treasure-hunting team Sam and Remi Fargo.
How could they resist? On a hunt from the Solomons to Australia to Japan, what they find is both wonderful and monstrous - and like nothing they have ever seen before.
This couple have the devil's own luck... even their quiet vacations turn into treasure hunts involving chase scenes that would leave Indiana Jones, Judge Dredd and John Connor all running away like screaming high-school girls with brown-stained knickers. The latest instalment is no exception, with plenty of twists - one that even an experienced and jaded reader such as myself didn't spot until much, much later than I should have thanks to some very clever misdirections - and some great 'local colour' thanks to the usual deep research Cussler titles have become known for.
In this case, we have the history-packed and strife-torn Guadalcanal, a lost paradise less than 4,000k from central Auckland - closer to us than half of Australia. Set in the present day, our intrepid protagonists are exploring what appears to be some ancient underwater ruins that are almost impossible to fit into modern archaeological theories of the region. So, naturally, they end up fighting for their very lives while a shadowy puppetmaster yanks strings around the world to cause such treats as supernatural disappearances, quiet murders, civil unrest, assassinations of all and sundry, and the usual complement of underhanded devilry that seems to follow the Fargos like a doting demon hound.
The depth of the characters is, as to be expected, deep enough to provide that reassuring ring of reality without waffling off into pointless details that bear no significance to the plot development or character evolution. While Russell Blake is a new collaborator in my experience, he seems to be as adept as any previous Fargo co-writer in crafting a world that I would fully expect to walk into, should I ever visit the Solomon Islands any time in the coming years. Which, in the case of this tale, actually puts me right off any desire to visit this tropical destination.
Overall, a wonderful read, and despite receiving this book well past publication date, I still wish I had been able to get stuck into a lot sooner - it would have provided a wonderful diversion. While not my favourite - due mainly because of the high level of realism scaring me off any travel plans - it is certainly a worthy addition to the Fargo story lineage.
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