Drugs, politics, a bit of sex, and a lot of archaeology provide the international thrills in an international thriller by the author of The Missing Sixth (1992), etc. Crossing the English Channel on a clapped-out ferry, mysterious pilot and international femme fatale Jaymin Bartel is witness to highly suspicious behavior on the part of a Middle Eastern passenger. The young man accosts an attractive preteen and forces her to accept a metal cylinder, which, following orders, she tucks into her backpack. Following that odd bit of business, the potential terrorist proceeds to sink the ferry by opening the doors several hundred yards short of Dover. After dramatically rescuing numerous passengers, Jaymin pairs up with renowned American archaeologist Stephen Kaine, the understandably distressed father of Angela, the girl with the metal tube in her backpack. Together, Stephen and Jaymin and a gruff but kindly Scottish tugboat skipper effect the rescue of Angela from the ferry's submerged loo. In the beginning of a seemingly endless string of eerie coincidences, it turns out that Jaymin, to whom Stephen is powerfully attracted, is working for people who want very much for Stephen not to have that metal tube that was rescued along with Angela. The tube contains an ancient map of the long-lost Turko-Persian city that Stephen found and from which he was removed under shocking circumstances. If the map is to be believed, Stephen could clear up some 3000-year-old hanky-panky on the part of the Persian monarchy. But any clearing up of mysteries will be dependent on Stephen and Angela's survival in the face of relentless, murderous pursuit by Jaymin's employers- -a team of wickedly bent American spies and diplomats who have been working a deal to swap antique gold for present-day opium. Jaymin's flying skills will eventually become crucial. A rousing beginning degenerates into a long and not very exciting series of well-timed and eventually predictable coincidences amidst some attractive scenery.
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