The official novel of Naughty Dog's award-winning videogame franchise!
In the ancient world there was a myth about a king, a treasure, and a hellish labyrinth. Now the doors to that hell are open once again.
Nathan Drake, treasure hunter and risk taker, has been called to New York City by the man who taught him everything about the "antiquities acquisition business." Victor Sullivan needs Drake's help. Sully's old friend, a world-famous archaeologist, has just been found murdered in Manhattan. Dodging assassins, Drake, Sully, and the dead man's daughter, Jada Hzujak, race from New York to underground excavations in Egypt and Greece. Their goal: to unravel an ancient myth of alchemy, look for three long-lost labyrinths, and find the astonishing discovery that got Jada's father killed. It appears that a fourth labyrinth was built in another land and another culture--and within it lies a key to unmatched wealth and power. An army of terrifying lost warriors guards this underground maze. So does a monster. And what lies beyond--if Drake can live long enough to reach it--is both a treasure and a poison, a paradise and a hell.
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October 04, 2011
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Excerpt from Uncharted: The Fourth Labyrinth by Christopher Golden
Tropical birds scattered as Drake veered the Jeep onto an old rutted track, snapping branches and tearing away vines, plowing through the rain forest with killers in pursuit, bullets flying, a gorgeous but pouty girl in the passenger's seat, and a bitch of a headache. With only one of his arms on the wheel, the Jeep slewed to the left, and the pouty girl screamed as he forced the vehicle back onto the trail just before they would have crashed into a felled tree.
Nathan Drake was beginning to hate the jungle.
He glanced in the rearview mirror an instant before a bullet shattered it, forcing him to risk glancing back over his shoulder. There were three vehicles in pursuit, a lumbering truck that had fallen to the rear and two Jeeps just like the one he was driving; which made sense considering that this one had been parked next to them when he'd stolen it.
The jungle had closed in around them, a wild tangle of rain forest the people of Ecuador called El Oriente, which seemed to him a pretty ordinary-sounding name for a place full of things that could kill you--like brutal sons of bitches employed by pissed-off South American drug lords.
The rutted track he'd taken forced the three vehicles into single file; which was good since it meant only one carload of them could be shooting at him at any given time. Bullets tore at leaves and cracked branches, the Jeep juddered up and down, rattling his teeth, and Drake kept his head down.
"This is your idea of a rescue?" the girl shouted.
He glanced at her wide eyes and her pretty mouth and her soft skin the color of cinnamon and decided he didn't like cinnamon. It ruined a good piece of toast as far as he was concerned.
"What the hell makes you think this is a rescue?" he snapped.
She blanched a little at that, and then her eyes narrowed. "Maybe the fact that here you are, rescuing me."
Drake laughed, but then his smile vanished as he heard bullets plink into the metal rear of the Jeep. The spare tire bolted to the back blew, but that was a damn sight better than losing one of the tires he was actually using.
"Does this look like a rescue?" he asked. "You're along for the ride by accident, sweetheart."
In truth, it hadn't been entirely by accident. He'd infiltrated the rain forest compound where Ramon Valdez tended to hide out from the rest of the world, running his drug cartel from a place so remote that nobody wanted to go hunting for him there. No one with half a brain, Drake thought. That hadn't stopped him from tracking Valdez down twice in three years.
He didn't like jobs that involved outright theft, for reasons that were best explained by the situation unfolding around him that very moment. But in the case of Ramon Valdez, he'd made an exception because he had a prior claim on the item he'd been hired to steal. He'd stolen it once before.
The girl had been a wrinkle in his plan. He'd found her trussed up in Valdez's bedroom and had intended to leave her there until her efforts to free herself gave him the idea that maybe she wasn't a willing participant in her bondage. That had complicated matters significantly, because timing was vital to his plan. For a few seconds he had tried to persuade himself that he wouldn't regret leaving her there--that her struggle was some kind of playacting she'd rehearsed for Valdez's benefit--but as he had started to walk away, he'd known he was lying to himself. Drake knew a prisoner when he saw one.
"What were you doing there, anyway?" he asked, jerking the wheel to the right.
"Vacation," she said bitterly in that aren't-you-a-dumbass tone young women seemed to perfect so early. "What do you think?"
"Not really the question," Drake said.
A burst of gunfire tore up the trees to his left; the last few bullets stitched the side of the Jeep and then blew out a taillight. A macaw exploded in midflight in a bullet-riddled burst of blood and feathers.
"Maybe you should focus on driving?" the girl asked, panic in her eyes as she ducked lower in her seat. "How can you be so calm?"
"Oh, this isn't calm," Drake said, twisting the wheel to veer around a felled tree. The Jeep rumbled over brush and roots and sideswiped a giant kapok tree. "This is me terrified. I can tell by the white knuckles and the way my jaw hurts from clenching."
The girl glanced at his hands on the wheel. She must have noted the whiteness of his knuckles, because she went a shade paler than before.
"You going to tell me who you are?" Drake demanded.
"My father really didn't send you?" she asked.
Her disappointment softened him as much as a guy driving through the jungle pursued by people trying to kill him could be softened. He saw the split-trunk tree he'd been watching for, the only kind of landmark that could be expected out here, and cut the wheel to the left, crashing the Jeep through a curtain of hanging vines and onto a trail that had been trodden by hooves but rarely by tires. The Jeep bucked like crazy; it felt like it would shake apart in his hands, leaving him sitting on the driver's seat and holding the steering wheel with no car around him.
"Sorry, kid. I don't have a clue what you're talking about."
She lifted her chin, trying too late to hide her withered hope. "My name is Alex Munoz. My father is mayor of Guayaquil. He's been fighting a war against drugs in the city, and he can't be bought."
She said this proudly, and Drake didn't blame her. For the mayor of a major South American city to take on the drug cartels, he had to be either courageous as hell or absolutely nuts. Alex didn't have to tell him the rest of the story, either. Beautiful girl, no more than nineteen, bound and gagged in a drug lord's bedroom? She had been a hostage, a negotiating tactic, and probably about to become the victim of something worse.
How do I get into these things? Drake thought.
But then, it wasn't Alex Munoz's fault that he was being shot at. Sure, untying her and getting her out of the compound had given him away and slowed him down, but it had been a risky plan to begin with, and in his experience risky plans almost always ended up in him being shot at--and sometimes actually shot.
"So if Papa didn't send you, who are you?" Alex asked, her pouty look returning. "What are you going to do with me?"