In award-winning reporter Pilgrim’s (The Explorer’s Code, 2011) latest mainstream adventure, the social register’s big names walk the red carpet at the Ancient Civilizations Ball at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. There, the glitterati witness the theft of some precious antiquities.
One guest is the intriguingly handsome John Sinclair, a titan amongst archaeologists and a man with a reputation for skillful recovery of stolen antiquities. In a high-dollar narrative rife with stops at the Carlyle, Mayfair, and Balmoral and laced with superlatives about the rich-and-famous lifestyle—think Maybach sedans, Gulfstream jets and oceangoing yachts—Sinclair is hired to recover the Sardonyx Cup, carved in Alexandria’s Ptolemaic era and later used in Communion at the wedding Mass of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Louis VII. The Sardonyx Cup’s legend says it imparts long life and prosperity. The cup belongs to mega-rich Ted VerPlanck, whose wife, Tipper, is addicted to alcohol, drugs, rock stars and film directors. Her weaknesses come into play, as do the missteps and ultimate financial ruin of Charlie Hannifin, a museum official easy to corrupt. The stolen art also provides cult-leader terrorist Moustaffa Gemeyal with financial resources, which are laundered by the Manucci crime family. In the complex and confused operation that purloined the cup and the Museum of Art's antiquities, the Brooklyn Museum also lost the Fayoum mummy of Artemidorus, a theft engineered by the half-Egyptian Lady Xandra Sommerset, Moustaffa’s sometime lover. That plops Dr. Holly Graham, Sinclair’s former lover, into the middle of his recovery adventure, which in turn lures Carter Wallace, a young assistant with a crush on Holly, into the mix. Holly’s presence doesn’t sit well with Cordelia Stapleton, Sinclair’s new flame, who tags along only to be kidnapped by Lady Sommerset. The cup is found and the mummy too, and then Sinclair takes time to prevent Moustaffa’s bioterrorist attack on an international conference at Sharm el Sheikh.
Entertaining escapist fare via crime fighting from New York to London to Venice via private jets, luxury hotels and yachts at sea.