The Mayan Secrets (Fargo Adventures #5)
Clive Cussler and Thomas Perry
Penguin Books AU
Copy courtesy of the publisher
Husband and wife team Sam and Remi Fargo are taking part in an expedition off the coast of Mexico tagging Great White sharks when there’s an earthquake in Central America that devastates a great area. Using their hired boat to ship in medical supplies, food and water, they eventually make a remarkable discovery whilst trekking to some of the more remote, affected locations. The earthquake has revealed the perfectly preserved skeleton of a man along with a Mayan pot that contains a Mayan book safely sealed inside. Due to so many Mayan books and relics being destroyed, burned for being items of the devil, it’s clear that this discovery will be immensely important for the academic circles and also immensely desirable among collectors, especially the more untrustworthy ones.
Sam and Remi get the book safely down the mountain but it isn’t long before they notice that they are being tracked already, thanks to someone in their party releasing the find to the press. They ship the book back home to safeguard it from theft which also gives them and a renowned academic time to study the book. It details Mayan cities, which the academic is certain are undiscovered to this day. When a nefarious attempt to steal the book is successful, Sam and Remi try to stay one step ahead of the thief, mapping and locating the Mayan cities mentioned in the precious book, attempting to reach them first and stake a claim so that any relics and riches may go to the appropriate authorities rather than into a private collection or sold on the black market.
It turns out to be a dangerous game and Sam and Remi will need to stay one step ahead, use everything in their enormous arsenal and even call on some old friends to try and get out of this one alive.
This is the fifth novel featuring insanely rich and resourceful diving team Sam and Remi Fargo but it’s only the second novel that I’ve read (the other being The Tombs). There’s no denying that the two of them do have a pretty amazing life: they jet around the world working/diving in glamorous locations and almost always get pulled into some sort of dangerous mission featuring valuable artifacts, etc. I actually forgot how they originally got all of their money because it isn’t referenced in this book but thankfully, the review I wrote for The Tombs last year magically cleared me up on this account! Sam invented some amazing engineering thing which he then sold for squillions of dollars allowing them to build their ginormous house with all its safety features (which in this book they’re totally renovating/rebuilding after it was shot to pieces in The Tombs. I can’t be sure how much their insurance covered a shoot-out featuring semi-automatic weapons!). They’re also super glamorous with skills in just about everything: Remi is a former champion pistol shooter, Sam has some sort of mysterious armed forces past (presumably before he was rich), they’re both diving and boating experts, they’re always fabulously dressed and are physically attractive and madly in love with a successful company staffed by incredibly brilliant and loyal employees who can get them out of anywhere in a jiffy. Basically, it’s good to be either Sam or Remi.
I found a lot of the stuff in this book rather interesting, the bits about the Mayan civilisation and the way in which it was steadily wiped out by the Spanish, the information on their books and how so much has been lost. It always seems like a lot of research goes into these books which is always good because although these books are serious fluff and action with lots of people attempting to kill Sam and Remi but failing abysmally, I always feel like I’m learning things whilst reading them. However this one is disappointingly bogged down with an awful lot of filler. There’s too many descriptions on what designer dresses Remi is wearing, what shoes she has on, what they’re eating in fabulous 5-star European restaurants, what expensive wine they’re choosing to go with this meal. For a book that’s written by two blokes, they know an awful lot about designer dresses and shoes. More than I do. I know that they obviously research everything they put into the book but I didn’t really care if Remi’s outfit was by Chanel or Dior or if her shoes were Manolo Blahniks or Louboutins. I cared about whether or not anyone would manage to steal the Mayan book from them (and then, when someone did) how on Earth Sam and Remi were going to go about getting it back and making sure they didn’t end up getting themselves arrested for smuggling an antiquity out of the country of its discovery. And actually, I’m not sure why but the book doesn’t answer that last question.
Clive Cussler novels aren’t the type I seek out but I’ve read several for review now and enjoyed them all however I didn’t enjoy this one as much as previous books. The story wasn’t as strong as it could’ve been because it focused too much on Sam and Remi’s wealth and the trappings of it all. Hopefully the next book about Sam and Remi focuses more on their adventures and a bit less on what they’re wearing and eating.
Book #237 of 2013