'A brilliantly written thriller' Parmenion Books
'The diving sequences are marvellous ... there isn't another thriller hero like Jack Howard and I treasure him' For Winter Nights
'Marine archaeologist Jack Howard stared down into the abyss, hearing nothing but the hiss of his oxygen rebreather as he floated in the deep ocean swell. Somewhere down there, somewhere in the inky blackness below, lay a prize beyond the dreams of most deep-sea salvors, a king’s ransom in gold resting unclaimed in international waters. But at the moment, Jack was far less concerned about the gold than about the diver who had just preceded him. Costas had plummeted in his usual fashion like a sack of lead, weighed down by the array of tools on his belt. As their rebreathers produced no bubbles, he had disappeared almost without trace, barely leaving a quiver in the shot line that anchored them to the wreck. After more than twenty years of diving together, Jack had seen his friend disappear down more black holes than he cared to remember, but this time, more than fifty miles from shore in the forbidding waters of the South Atlantic, it had been particularly unnerving. They had the experience to confront virtually anything the oceans had to offer, but Jack knew that what sailors used to call divine providence would always have the final say. Not for the first time over the last few years he shut his eyes and mouthed the words he always did before a perilous dive into the unknown: "Lucky Jack."
585 BC The ancient world is in meltdown. The Babylonians have ravaged the Holy Land, and Jerusalem has fallen. In desperation the priests of the Temple look to the greatest navigators the world has ever known to save their treasures, to take them to places of concealment where they will await the time of revelation. On a far distant shore, after a voyage more astonishing than any ever undertaken before, a Phoenician named Hanno flees for his life from a terrifying enemy, hoping against hope that his extraordinary cargo will reach the mountain fastness in time, the place the prophets called the Chariot of Fire …
1943 In the darkest days of the Second World War, Allied codebreakers play a game of life and death with merchant shipping and Nazi U-boats in the north Atlantic. For a select few under the direct command of Churchill, the stakes are even higher, a top-secret exchange of deadly materials between the Nazis and the Japanese that must be stopped at all costs. Yet even they know nothing of the ancient artefact hidden on board a ship whose fate they have just sealed …
Present-day Marine archaeologist Jack Howard and his friend Costas undertake one of the most perilous dives of their lives, hunting for Nazi gold in a wreck perched on the edge of the continental shelf. What they glimpse there, in the moments before a cataclysm that nearly destroys them, sets Jack on one of the most extraordinary trails he has ever followed – to a Phoenician shipwreck off England, to a Second World War codebreaker with an amazing story to tell, to the ruins of ancient Carthage – where Jack’s colleague Maurice Hiebermeyer has made one of the most bizarre discoveries of his career – and to the account of a Victorian expedition against a mad king in the mountains of Ethiopia. He pieces together the truth of one of the greatest ancient voyages of discovery, one whose true purpose he could scarcely have imagined.
Yet none of that can prepare Jack for the shocking modern-day reality he encounters when he seeks the prize – in a place of desolation where life is worth no more than the value of a ransom, but where the quest leads him on another mission, to a deadly Nazi cargo that must be kept from the terrorists at all costs. In a world where the shadow of war is as dark as it was when the Babylonians ravaged the land, Jack must fuse past and present as he never has done before in a terrifying final showdown where the future of humanity itself is at stake.
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