Return to Atlantis by Andy McDermott is the eighth thriller in the archeologist Nina Wilde and her husband, ex-SAS bodyguard Eddie Chase series (available August 28, 2012).
Nina Wilde and Eddie Chase have stunned the world with their discoveries, from the legendary sword Excalibur to the golden city of El Dorado. Now, by bringing together three ancient statues from three different continents, Nina is about to tap into a colossal energy source—one not felt since the days of Atlantis.
But when the statues are stolen and Eddie is falsely accused of murder, forcing him to go on the run to hunt the man responsible, a violent struggle erupts among a secret, vastly powerful group that wants to control Nina and the earth energy. From a glittering, high-tech skyscraper in Japan to a harrowing chase beneath the Vatican and an underground military vault in Nevada, Nina and Eddie must piece together an astounding puzzle. For Nina Wilde is the key to a plot that will change the world forever. And Eddie is the key to keeping her alive.
This is what I mean when I talk about action: superb storytelling; breathtaking aerial, mountain, and underwater battles; fabulous villains; and stubborn as hell heroes. What a mix!
Andy McDermott is a new discovery for me and in my opinion he is (readers’ alert) a new and improved version of Wilbur Smith, as he manages to include so many action sequences, so many twists and turns, and so much traveling in just one novel, that his mastery seems simply unsurpassed.
The story begins in Zimbabwe and soon moves to New York. Not long after, it takes a return ticket to Mozambique and then reroutes for Hong Kong, before setting sail for a brief and dangerous break in Japan, with Rome to follow, and so forth.
The heroes travel all the time, and so do the villains, and believe it or not the reader comes to like them all, because they are so good at what they’re doing: Nina is a genius of a woman who works at the U.N. and struggles to save world heritage; Eddie is a man wanted for a murder he says he didn’t commit, and who, despite his harshness, is someone who would do anything for his family and friends; Stikes, Eddie’s nemesis, is a man without a conscience, a mercenary of mercenaries and as stubborn as they come; Sophia, Eddie’s ex-wife is a fallen aristocrat, an opportunist and a criminal mastermind who’s more interested in ruling over people than in people themselves; Travis Warden, who’s the head of The Group, a come-together of rich people who want to play gods, is a man with a purpose but blind when it comes to the realities around him.
Put all these people together and add to the mixture a powerful weapon of old and what you get, according to Larry, Eddie’s father, is something not so easy to comprehend: “Complicated! That’s an understatement. Strange powers, levitating statues, a cabal of billionaires trying to take over the world . . . it all sounds like Indiana Jones meets James Bond.”
It does, doesn’t it? But the truth is that there are so many things going on in here that a movie could never do this book any justice; a trilogy maybe could.
Another explosion, much closer. The sub rang like a gong as it lurched sideways, smashing against the ruins. Nina screamed as the impact threw her across the cabin. The lights flickered before coming back on—noticeably dimmed.
Alarms shrilled, numerous indicators on the instrument panels flashing a warning red. “Is the hull breached?” Nina asked frightened.
“If it was, we’d be dead,” Matt replied. “We’ve lost main power, though—we’re on the reserves. And there’s a lot of other damage.”
“We need to surface,” said Eddie urgently.
“Too bloody right we do! Hold on, I’ll dump the emergency ballast.” He reached up to a large, red-painted lever on the ceiling and pulled it.
There was a deep thump from beneath them, the sub shuttering . . . but nothing else happened. Matt pulled the lever again. Still no result. “Aw, shit . . .”
“What?” Nina demanded. “What’s wrong?”
“The ballast’s not dropping, that’s what’s bloody wrong . . .”
Will they survive this underwater adventure? And if they do where will they head next? And do they even have the means to succeed in their goal which is nothing more than stopping some people from becoming the absolute rulers of mankind?
In a world where you can never really tell who’s your friend and who’s your enemy, in which there’s no one you can really trust but your man or your woman, Eddie and Nina will try to do the impossible, but sooner or later they will come to realize that some powers are better kept hidden and some truths should remain untold.
When they started on their journey they didn’t know where it would lead them. Now that they know their destination, they are not at all certain whether they will survive their quest and go back home. Their power is the love that binds them together. There’s nothing they wouldn’t do for each other and that exactly is their ultimate weapon.
I don’t think I could write anything more without betraying the plot. I guess it would be fair enough to say though, that if you like adventures, conspiracy theories, tight plots, and non-stop action, this is the book for you.
See all our coverage of new releases in the Fresh Meat series.
Lakis Fourouklas has published four novels and three short-story collections in Greek. He’s currently translating his work into English and blogs at Fiction & More. He also keeps a few blogs in Greek regarding general fiction, Japanese literature, and crime fiction. Follow him on Twitter: @lakisf. He lives in the wilderness of Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Read all posts by Lakis Fourouklas for Criminal Element.