Adventurer Richard Mariner battles terrorists and forbidding natural elements in his quest for fortune in a land that time forgot.
Back in 1973, Mizuki Yukawa, of the Yakimoto Freshwater Pearl Company, died mysteriously in the jungles of Benin La Bas in central Africa. Decades have passed, erasing all trace of the young woman and her boss, Dr. Koizumi, who was beheaded. Indigenous fauna have died out or been killed by rebels. Now, in 2013, months of torrential rains wash the skull of Koizumi out of the region, along with enough of the invaluable oysters unique to the region to pique interest in a new expedition. At the forefront are Richard and his wife, Robin, as well as a pair of Russian business partners, Maximilian Asov and Felix Makarov, and their team of Russian mercenary muscle. Max's daring daughter Anastasia, who first brought him evidence of the priceless resource, is along as well. Working with the country's president, Julius Chaka, they follow Koizumi's maps, underestimating the danger posed by a regiment of locals who have seized the region, a divider between Benin La Bas and its unfriendly neighbors. Small wonder that Chaka was less than forthcoming. Anastasia's recklessness, born of her damaged relationship with Max, makes matters even worse when the group is trapped and endangered.
Mariner's 19th adventure, revisiting many characters and places from his 17th (Dark Heart, 2012, etc.), sometimes bogs down in the details of allegiances and political minutiae. But Tonkin delivers dependable, authentic thrills on treacherous land, in turbulent waters and even aboard hovercrafts.