"There was no such thing as an honest fortune," Sam and Remi Fargo are reminded as they undertake another treasure-hunting adventure in Cussler’s (The Eye of Heaven, 2014, etc.) latest.
The Fargos, multimillionaires-turned–treasure hunters blessed with Tracy-and-Hepburn dialogue, have flown to Guadalcanal at the behest of Leonid Vasyev, a Russian who explores lost civilizations. He’s found something odd beneath a forgotten bay. The Fargos were only supposed to be funding Vasyev, but soon they’re caught up in the mysteries he’s uncovered. To their surprise, they find themselves coping with local superstitions and civil unrest. And crocodiles. When one of Vasyev’s native workers gets bitten, the Fargos meet a local medico, Dr. Vanya, who later introduces them to Orwen Manchester, a member of Parliament. With the help of Manchester's contacts and of Selma, a genius researcher on the satellite phone, the Fargos learn Vasyev has found the Guadalcanal palace of King Loc, 12-century ruler of the entire Solomon Island group. The Fargos tap their pocketbook to finance Vasyev a new research ship, but meanwhile they gadabout Guadalcanal, being run off the road, shot at, getting caught in riots, and discovering caves holding countless skeletons, some too recent to be POWs killed by Imperial Japan’s notorious medical experimentation. They also uncover evidence the Japanese looted gold from King Loc’s submerged palace, but the real villain may be linked to pharmaceutical companies’ refusing to be "hamstrung by arcane rules and regulations." Scenes, settings, and action are graphic-novel worthy, from sweat-stained jungle treks to bad-guy confrontations, all laced with historical factoids and a soupçon of fantasy for across-the-board appeal.
Cussler and Company continue the winning formula, and this jungle episode, featuring exotic locales and an interesting back story, will satisfy the cravings of every fan.