The Eye Of Heaven (Fargo Adventures #6)
Clive Cussler and Russell Blake
Penguin Books AUS
Copy courtesy of the publisher
Husband and wife treasure hunting team Sam and Remi Fargo are on an environmental expedition off north western Canada. To the surprise of everyone, the expedition discovers a perfectly preserved Viking ship. But that’s not the most surprising thing – the fact that the ship is filled with pre-Columbian artifacts from Mexico could change what is known and taught about history.
After they have secured and photographed the scene and stayed with it until the Canadian government is able to dispatch a research team, Sam and Remi fly home and begin their research. They find a link between the Vikings and the feathered serpent god Quetzalcoatl of the Toltecs. They also find evidence of an object known as the Eye of Heaven….a emerald about the size of a man’s fist. Sam and Remi want to finish the job and prove definitively that the Vikings did visit Mexico and they’d also like to locate the Eye of Heaven in order to have it preserved and able to be enjoyed. But they’re not the only ones who are on the trail and there are others out there who would do anything to possess these incredible historical artifacts, but for the ability to sell them to the highest bidder. There’s a huge black market in trading antiquities and soon Sam and Remi will be fighting not just for the right to keep the Eye of Heaven from falling into the wrong hands, but also for their lives.
I have to admit, I have a bit of a soft spot for this series. I’ve only read books 4-6 but it really doesn’t matter. You don’t need to read all of them, or even read them in order. They’re all basically the same – Sam and Remi are incredibly wealthy (due to Sam inventing something and selling it for megabucks) and they spend their time trotting around the globe hunting treasure for the altruistic reasons of turning it over the authorities. It’s the thrill of the chase, the excitement of the discovery and uncovering a mystery that excites them. They both have lots of skills and they’re attractive and generous with their money. These books always involves lots of interesting locations and a good mystery with some action, usually them fighting off bad guys who want the treasure for profiting purposes.
The two previous Fargo Adventure books I read had a different writer involved – I have to admit, I’m not entirely sure about the role that the other writer plays in the writing of the book. Do they write the entire thing, taking only the creation of Sam and Remi Fargo from Clive Cussler? All of the books have had an “assistant” writer, Russell Blake is the third author to step in on this series. There’s little that changes perceptibly from the books I read previously except that this one does tend to lay off the filler that I complained about in my last review, describing Remi’s designer clothes and shoes although the devotion to describing their elaborate meals out at restaurants and the wines that are chosen to go with them stays. I tend to find this very jarring because it feels out of place. I’m tipping that most readers of these books don’t care whether or not Remi wore Dior or Chanel. I noticed that in this book, Sam has added a Gulfstream G650 to his assets, enabling them to fly around the world at a moment’s notice much more simply than when their assistants had to book them onto commercial flights! These will set you back around $65m US although Sam was thrifty and picked up a repossessed one or something, so I’m imagining that he got a bargain!
These books are pure escapism although I don’t actually want to be Sam or Remi. I actually would prefer to work for them, helping them with their research and learning interesting things! They have a very small team that they place their utmost trust in – in this novel, one of their team brings in someone new and Remi in particular has quite a negative reaction to this, convinced for most of the book that the new person can’t be trusted and is possibly betraying them. I felt as though this wasn’t resolved very satisfactorily and there was little to suggest why Remi, otherwise intelligent and rational, might feel this way.
In terms of the actual mystery and treasure, I have to admit it wasn’t the most exciting one I’ve read. However what I like about these is that they’re really easy reads that just keep you turning the pages, waiting for the inevitable moment when Sam and Remi get the treasure, thwart the bad buy and live happily ever after, ready for the next mystery they can sink their teeth into. This one was interesting in that it paired Vikings with Mexico but I found the actual searching for the treasure to be a bit lacklustre and it seemed like they did little in the way of protecting the dig, even though they knew that someone was following them and attempting to find the Eye of Heaven before they could. It seemed like Sam could’ve dropped some of his extensive fortune on security officers to secure the site who wouldn’t be bribed so easily by the person chasing them. But I enjoyed the cat and mouse games, the attempt to stay one step ahead of the bad guys or regain ground lost, which is part of the fun of these. You always know who is going to win in the end, but first you have to get there.
Not my favourite of these but definitely still a pretty good read.
Book #212 of 2014