CARTER'S CASTLE by Wilbur Wright

CARTER'S CASTLE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Months after a commercial flight crashes, never to be found, somewhere between Singapore and Hong Kong, four survivors from that disaster crash-land on the Malaysian coast in a long-missing DC-3. What happened? Well, as survivor Donald Carter, a 57-year-old ex-RAF man, recuperates in the hospital, the story emerges in teased-out flashbacks. The four survivors: lonely widower Carter; gorgeous Cambodian stewardess Liane; and two British teenagers, Colin and Debby, who were en route to join their families for the holidays in H.K. The group stumbles through Cambodian rain-forests, coming upon a deserted air-strip, huts with food supplies, even an old, probably unflyable DC-3. But, though they can thus survive, there seems to be no way out of the valley they've landed in. So everyone gets itchy--while Colin and Debby discover sex together, Carter is drawn towards Liane. . . and Liane is drawn towards an elephant who happens by. What is the mystical connection between Liane and this valley? Could she be a reincarnation of some long-ago Siamese princess? So assorted hints suggest--including a dream which leads the group to discover the vast lost treasure of the ancient kings of Angkor. Then, however, the survivors are threatened by the arrival of a murderous ex-CIA man and his Vietnamese confederates--who have come to retrieve a fortune in dirty CIA money, hidden in the DC-3: all the bad guys are promptly killed, thanks to some grenades and that friendly elephant. Finally, then, when Carter eventually agrees to try flying the old plane, the group is ready to leave the valley; they set off once Liane (now returning Carter's love) recovers from a nasty snakebite. And they make it to Malaysia after an air/gun battle with Migs (young Colin is the heroic trigger-man)--though Carter and Liane vow to return for the Angkor treasure, to ""use it to raise money to help the people of Cambodia out of the unholy mess their governments have got them into."" Despite the fussy, flashback format, Carter's moody soul-searching, and dollops of graphic sex: a very old-fashioned, very implausible little adventure story in the H. Rider Haggard tradition.

Pub Date: Sept. 7th, 1984
Publisher: St. Martin's