A Kurt Austin Adventure
In Serpent, his New York Times bestseller, Clive Cussler introduced Kurt Austin, a hero for the new millennium, and "created a new bunch of NUMA supersleuths who infused his work with a...jolt of energy" (The Denver Post). Now Austin and his crew slake their thirst for action as they attempt to drown an eco-extortionist's plan to control the world's freshwater supply.
A Novel from the NUMA Files
From deep within the Venezuelan rain forest emanates the legend of a white goddess and a mysterious tribe with startling technical accomplishments. Few believe the tribe exists -- and even fewer suspect its deity may hold knowledge that can change the course of history.
For National Underwater & Marine Agency crew leader Kurt Austin, an investigation into the sudden deaths of rare whales leads him to the Mexican coast, where someone tries to put him and his mini-sub permanently out of commission. Meanwhile, in South America's lush hills, a specially assigned NUMA crew turns up the white-goddess legend -- and a murderous cadre of bio-pirates intent on stealing medicinal secrets worth millions. Soon Austin and his crew realize they're working the opposite ends of the same grand scheme. A billionaire California tycoon is poised to rise to power by monopolizing the earth's vastly depleted freshwater reserves and ultimately dominate the world.
Austin has a hunch Venezuela's mythical tribal goddess has some real roots in science, and may be the key to locating a secret formula that could turn vast amounts of seawater into fresh. But with each step into the bush, he and his NUMA team feel like fish out of water -- and must fight a deadly, twisting trail of enemies through a dense jungle of treachery, blackmail, and murder.
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July 31, 2000
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Excerpt from Blue Gold by Clive Cussler
So Paulo Airport, Brazil, 1991
WITH A POWERFUL kick from its twin turbofan engines, the sleek executive jet lifted off the runway and shot into the vaulted skies above So Paulo. Climbing rapidly over the biggest city in South America, the Learjet soon reached its cruising altitude of thirty-nine thousand feet and raced toward the northwest at five hundred miles an hour. Seated in a comfortable rear-facing chair at the back of the cabin, Professor Francesca Cabral peered wistfully out the window at the cottony cloud cover, already missing the smog-cloaked streets and sizzling energy of her hometown. A muffled snort from across the narrow aisle interrupted her musings. She glanced over at the snoring middle-aged man in the rumpled suit and wondered with a shake of her head what her father was thinking when he assigned Phillipo Rodriques as her bodyguard.
Extracting a folder from her briefcase, she jotted notes in the margins of the speech that she planned to deliver at an international conference of environmental scientists in Cairo. She had gone over the draft a dozen times, but her thoroughness was entirely in character. Francesca was a brilliant engineer and a highly respected professor, but in a field and society dominated by males, a female scientist was expected to be more than perfect.
The words blurred on the pages. The night before Francesca was up late packing and pulling together scientific papers. She had been too excited to sleep. Now she cast an envious glance at the snoozing bodyguard and decided to take a nap. She set the speech aside, pushed the back of her thick-cushioned seat into its reclining position, and closed her eyes. Lulled by the throaty whisper of the turbines, she soon dozed off.
Dreams came. She was floating on the sea, gently rising and falling like a jellyfish buoyed by soft billows. It was a pleasant sensation until one wave lifted her high in the air and dropped like a runaway elevator. Her eyelids fluttered open, and she looked around the cabin. She had an odd feeling, as if someone had grabbed at her heart. Yet all seemed normal. The haunting strains of Antonio Carlos Jobim's "One Note Samba" played softly over the sound system. Phillipo was still out cold. The sense that something was amiss would not go away. She leaned over and gently shook the sleeping man's shoulder. "Phillipo, wake up."
The bodyguard's hand went to the holster under his jacket, and he came instantly awake. When he saw Francesca he relaxed.
"Senhora, I'm sorry," he said with a yawn. "I fell asleep."