When the sleuthing Mariners pitch in to rescue a crew of trapped submariners, they get entangled in a web of deeper skullduggery.
In the East China Sea, adventuring couple Richard and Robin Mariner (Benin Light, 2008, etc.) get a shock when a giant squid attacks their newly acquired submarine Neptune, which they’re monitoring from their mother ship, the nimble and elaborately equipped Poseidon. Their crane successfully raises the vessel, but the maneuver leads to some squabbling among the Mariners’ Chinese crew, whom Richard has given nicknames like Ironwrist, Steadyhand, Straightline and Fatfist. The political situation in the region remains dicey for Westerners. When a typhoon strikes, Poseidon escapes unscathed, but not Neptune. Efforts to save it lead to a man overboard and another close scrape. All of this is a prelude to the main action—the discovery of a crew of trapped submariners aboard the Romeo Huangpu, a rare diesel-powered submarine whose well-publicized mission is to find the fabled treasure ship of Kublai Khan. The vessel disappeared more than 700 years ago while en route to Japan, carrying, so the legend goes, a massive trove of gold. Employing the Neptune and the equipment the Mariners have used to test it, they set about rescuing the sub and its crew. What they discover astounds them and puts a dangerous and politically sensitive spin on their adventure.
Richard and Robin’s 20th adventure keeps the action high from the opening pages. It’s a bracing tonic for armchair commodores.