Black Pearl (A Richard Mariner Adventure)
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An incalculable fortune in conflict minerals lies on the bed of a lost lake. The lake lies in the middle of a jungle hardly changed since the age of the dinosaurs, while the jungle stands on the slope of an active volcano which has destroyed the only civilisation nearby. The volcano serves as a border between two warring central African nations. And an uncontrolled, murderous guerrilla army claims the territory for its own, using a combination of modern terrorist techniques and timeless black magic to keep strangers out.
Richard Mariner is leading a team into the heart of it all, seeking the lake and the fortune it contains – his only clues a half-forgotten legend and a huge black pearl that is so much more than it seems . . .
bustling with river craft, some freighters, more dredgers and a pair of the neat little Fast River patrol boats. And a marina, filled with pleasure craft of all sorts, from pirogues to gin palaces, that could have been transported here directly from San Francisco or St Tropez. Straight ahead, on the far bank, the jungle of the delta itself swept out across the bay. But where in the old days that had been an environmental disaster of oil-polluted mangroves peopled with restlessly dissatisfied
towards the first floor. As the deck beneath her levelled and settled, vibrating with suppressed power, Max came bustling on to the bridge. The instant he arrived he seemed to take charge. ‘Full ahead, Captain Zhukov,’ he ordered officiously, and the silver bear of a commander nodded. ‘Pulniv piot,’ he said quietly – or something approximating to that; Robin’s Russian was a little rusty and the captain’s accent was unfamiliar. The helmsman’s hands pushed the throttles forward, however, so the
chance would have it, Ivan and the corpse bearers came face-to-face with Anastasia first, and the huge Russian stopped, shocked at having confronted his childhood friend with so much bloody brutality. Ignorant, as yet, of how much horror she had already had to face this evening. But then he stepped back, his open gaze clouding with confusion, at the simple rage in her expression. At the tenseness of the finger curled around the trigger of the assault rife that pointed at him with the same steely
ten minutes. ‘Go!’ he shouted to the man at the motor. ‘Go! Go! Go!’ But he knew they were probably too late. As the sun set and the sudden twilight swept across the mountain slopes, only the big Mil helicopters, still up in the sunshine, continued working. The last of the Russian prisoners were herded lethargically towards their gulag. And as they staggered wearily across the central compound past the listless figure of the crucified Mako, so the Army of Christ moved out of the jungle and
slowly dragged free of the clinging mud and back towards the cool, sweet, life-giving air of the shore. Ironyen Ten minutes later, Richard was watching the puking wreck hanging between two of Anastasia’s biggest Amazons come whimpering back to life. They had dragged Odem out of the mud and halfway to the compound before there was any real certainty he would survive. And now that he was showing signs of life, Richard broke into a trot while the Amazons carried their captive towards the