Clive Cussler debuted his new series, The Oregon Files, with the incredible adventure of Golden Buddha. Now he follows that triumph with Sacred Stone, a rollicking new tale featuring the enigmatic captain of The Oregon, Juan Cabrillo.
In the remote wastes of Greenland, an ancient artifact possessing catastrophic radioactive power is unearthed. But the astounding find puts the world at risk.
Caught between two militant factions bent on wholesale slaughter, Juan Cabrillo and his network of spies known as The Corporation must fight to protect the stone-and prevent the outbreak of World War III.
Eric the Red's A.D. 1000 discovery of a radioactive meteorite has present-day life-or-death ramifications in Cussler and Dirgo's second novel (after Golden Buddha) featuring the Oregon, a state-of-the-art warship disguised as a rusty tramp steamer and manned by some of the world's finest ex-military and intelligence operatives. Known collectively as the Corporation, the men and women of the Oregon-"mercenaries with a conscience"-offer their services to various countries and individuals with specialized security and military needs. The Corporation's chairman, series hero Juan Cabrillo, has several pressing concerns: supply security for the emir of Qatar, who is attending a conference in Iceland; track down a nuclear bomb that has gone astray; and pick up the aforementioned meteorite, which has just been found ensconced in a mysterious shrine. These jobs become dangerously complicated when industrialist Halifax Hickman, a man fueled by revenge and hatred, enters the picture. The meteorite, the atomic bomb and a vial of plague are to be used in attacks on holy sites-Israel's Dome of the Rock and Saudi Arabia's al-Haram mosque-and at an Elton John concert. It's a deadly game, but the brilliant Cabrillo is a master player, moving his pieces at lightning speed on several boards until he outmaneuvers his opposition in this action-packed page-turner. (Oct.) Forecast: This series will become a permanent and productive cog in the Cussler machine. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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March 03, 2008
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Excerpt from Sacred Stone by Clive Cussler
LIEUTENANT CHRIS HUNT rarely talked about his past, but the men he served with had gathered a few clues from his demeanor. The first was that Hunt had not grown up in some backwoods hillbilly haven and used the army to see the world. He was from Southern California. And, if pressed, Hunt would volunteer he was raised in the Los Angeles area, not wanting to disclose that he grew up in Beverly Hills. The second thing the men noticed was that Hunt was a natural leader-he was neither patronizing nor put on an air of superiority, but neither did he try to hide the fact that he was competent and smart.
The third thing the men found out today.
A chill wind was blowing down from the mountains into the Afghanistan valley where the platoon under Hunt's command was breaking camp. Hunt and three other soldiers were wrestling with a tent they were folding for storage. While the men were bringing the ends together longways, Sergeant Tom Agnes decided to ask about the rumor he had heard. Hunt handed him the side of the tent so Agnes could fold it into halves.
"Sir," Agnes said, "rumor has it you graduated from Yale University-that true?"
All the men were wearing tinted ski goggles but Agnes was close enough to see Hunt's eyes. A flicker of surprise, followed by resignation, flashed quickly. Then Hunt smiled.
"Ah," he said quietly, "you've found out my terrible secret."
Agnes nodded and folded the tent in half. "Not exactly a hotbed for military recruiting."
"George Bush went there," Hunt said. "He was a navy pilot."
"I thought he was in the National Guard," Specialist Jesus Herrara, who was taking the tent from Agnes, said.
"George Bush Senior," Hunt said. "Our president also graduated from Yale, and yes, he was a National Guard jet pilot."
"Yale," Agnes said. "If you don't mind me asking, how did you end up here?"
Hunt brushed some snow from his gloves. "I volunteered," he said, "just like you."
"Now let's finish breaking down this camp," Hunt said, pointing to the mountain nearby, "and head up there and find that bastard who attacked the United States."
"Yes, sir," the men said in unison.
Ten minutes later, with fifty-pound packs on their backs, they started up the mountain.
IN A TOWN where beautiful women abound, at age forty-nine Michelle Hunt still caused men to turn their heads. Tall, with hazel hair and bluegreen eyes, she was blessed with a figure that required neither constant dieting nor endless exercise to appear trim. Her lips were full and her teeth straight, but it was her doelike eyes and flawless skin that gave the strongest visual impression. And while she was a beautiful woman, that was as common in Southern California as sunshine and earthquakes.
What drew people closer to Michelle was something that cannot be created by a surgeon's knife, honed through dress or manicure, or developed through ambition or change. Michelle had that thing that made both men and women like her and want to be around her-she was happy, content and positive. Michelle Hunt was herself. And people flocked to her like bees to a flower in bloom.
"Sam," she said to the painter who had just finished the walls in her art gallery, "you do such nice work."
Sam was thirty-eight years old and he blushed.
"Only my best for you, Ms. Hunt," he said.
Sam had painted her gallery when it had opened five years before, her Beverly Hills house, her condo in Lake Tahoe and now this remodel. And every time she made him feel appreciated and talented.
"You want a bottle of water or a Coke or something?" she asked.
"I'm okay, thanks."
Just then an assistant called from the front of the gallery that she had a telephone call, and she smiled, waved and began to walk away.
"That's a lady," Sam said under his breath, "a lady."
Walking to the front of the gallery, where her desk faced out onto Rodeo Drive, Michelle noticed that one of the artists she represented was coming through the front door. Here her amiability had also paid off in spades-artists are a fickle and temperamental lot, but Michelle's artists adored her and rarely changed galleries. That and the fact that she had started her business fully funded had contributed greatly to her years of success.