A gripping adventure story and a delightful read, particularly for amateur treasure hunters.


In Neissa’s (Dictatorship, 2008, etc.) novel, a researcher makes a startling discovery that leads him on an exciting South American treasure hunt.

In 1533, Inca emperor Atahualpa is being held hostage by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro, and he spends most of one night writing a message for his field commander, Ruminahui. In it, he instructs him to hide the empire’s gold, which is currently being transported through the desert on 11,000 llamas and mules. Soon after, the Incan treasure seemingly vanishes. In the present day, American professor Grant Cole is doing some research in Spain’s archives in Seville when he stumbles upon a letter that could help uncover the gold’s whereabouts. But as he leaves the archives, he’s stabbed by a mysterious stranger, and he later travels to London to recover. A run-in with people posing as FBI agents in Heathrow Airport makes him flee for his life, which leads to a chance meeting with the actress Halston von Thiakopolous. She decides to accompany Cole on his treasure hunt; she also wants to assist Cardinal Merloni of the Vatican in finding the Incan treasure before it falls into the wrong hands. Pretty soon, there’s a race between the corrupt Cardinal Rafael Espinoza, a criminal known as Moncada, the CIA, and a mysterious injured man named Lucas San Lorenzo to find the gold in Ecuador. Neissa makes sure that tensions run high throughout this page-turning novel; for example, he sets the climax in the darkness of a cavern that’s not only inside an active volcano, but also full of poisonous gas. That said, with so many important institutions and their envoys after the treasure, it can be difficult for readers to keep them all straight. However, the author’s doctorate in Hispanic studies adds credibility to the story; for example, at one point, there’s a list of books related to the Incas and their conquests that includes real-life texts, and Cole’s skills at translating 16th-century Spanish and Quechuan, showcased in the narrative, makes him indispensable in the search for the gold.

A gripping adventure story and a delightful read, particularly for amateur treasure hunters.

Pub Date: July 26, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-985787-27-8

Page Count: 248

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Oct. 4, 2018

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While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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Thoroughbreds and Virginia blue-bloods cavort, commit murder, and fall in love in Roberts's (Hidden Riches, 1994, etc.) latest romantic thriller — this one set in the world of championship horse racing. Rich, sheltered Kelsey Byden is recovering from a recent divorce when she receives a letter from her mother, Naomi, a woman she has believed dead for over 20 years. When Kelsey confronts her genteel English professor father, though, he sheepishly confesses that, no, her mother isn't dead; throughout Kelsey's childhood, she was doing time for the murder of her lover. Kelsey meets with Naomi and not only finds her quite charming, but the owner of Three Willows, one of the most splendid horse farms in Virginia. Kelsey is further intrigued when she meets Gabe Slater, a blue-eyed gambling man who owns a neighboring horse farm; when one of Gabe's horses is mated with Naomi's, nostrils flare, flanks quiver, and the romance is on. Since both Naomi and Gabe have horses entered in the Kentucky Derby, Kelsey is soon swept into the whirlwind of the Triple Crown, in spite of her family's objections to her reconciliation with the notorious Naomi. The rivalry between the two horse farms remains friendly, but other competitors — one of them is Gabe's father, a vicious alcoholic who resents his son's success — prove less scrupulous. Bodies, horse and human, start piling up, just as Kelsey decides to investigate the murky details of her mother's crime. Is it possible she was framed? The ground is thick with no-goods, including haughty patricians, disgruntled grooms, and jockeys with tragic pasts, but despite all the distractions, the identity of the true culprit behind the mayhem — past and present — remains fairly obvious. The plot lopes rather than races to the finish. Gambling metaphors abound, and sexual doings have a distinctly equine tone. But Roberts's style has a fresh, contemporary snap that gets the story past its own worst excesses.

Pub Date: June 13, 1995

ISBN: 0-399-14059-X

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1995

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