Doomed by a fatal illness, Gideon Crew embarks on one wild, series-ending adventure (Beyond the Ice Limit, 2016, etc.).
Crew has AVM, a brain malformation that will kill him in about two months, although he’ll feel fine until his sudden death. He and his engineer colleague Manuel Garza lose their jobs with no warning when their employer, Effective Engineering Solutions, suddenly stops paying them and shuts down without a word of explanation. While they're cleaning out their desks, they discover that a computer in the office has just finished a calculation that it's been working on for 43,000 hours—almost five years. Garza sticks a USB drive in the computer and downloads the information, which is about a secret project to decipher the ancient Phaistos Disk. Garza proposes that they find whatever treasure it may lead to and sell it “for the most dough we possibly can,” no matter what it turns out to be, even if it’s a “fucking centerfold of the Mona Lisa.” So they trek to the desolate Hala’ib Triangle in southeastern Egypt, a journey involving one blasted thing after another. They ride an ancient ferry that sinks on the Red Sea, drowning hundreds. A woman outbids Crew and Garza when they try to rent camels, their guide cheats them, and they nearly die of thirst in the desert, where they try to survive a haboob—“the worst kind of dust storm”—and find a “mist oasis.” The pace never slackens as they get closer to the GPS coordinates they’re looking for, and they have an encounter that changes everything. Crew’s legerdemain and Garza’s nifty engineering skills get them out of serious jams but may not save them from the one-eyed leopard or the fearsome warrior who is determined to fight Garza to the death. Through all of this, Crew faces the ultimate clock, the one ticking inside his brain. This is a cleverly plotted yarn with some laugh-out-loud twists, the best ones involving Garza’s bravery and ingenuity. There are numerous references to earlier books in the series, and fans might like to read Beyond the Ice Limit first. Still, this book stands alone just fine.
When the end of a book with a dying hero makes the reader laugh, that’s a neat trick. This is a great cap on the series.