The New World, 1545: Vanquished by the Spanish Empire, little remained of the Aztec and Mayan civilizations. From the ashes of their cities, a unified legend emerged: their conquerors possessed a mysterious object, an artifact so powerful—so deadly—that it came to be known as “the Death Relic."
Yucatan Peninsula, present day: When Maria Pelati’s research team disappears in Mexico, she calls Jonathon Payne and David Jones, who embark on a perilous mission to find the missing archaeologists. They soon realize that Maria’s research may hold the key to solving one of the darkest mysteries of the New World. But their quest to learn the truth about the Death Relic may end up costing them their lives.
Former Special Forces operatives David Jones and Jonathon Payne race to the rescue of Jones's old girlfriend, Italian archeologist Maria Pelati, in Kuzneski's fast-moving seventh thriller featuring the wisecracking duo (after 2012's The Secret Crown). At the invitation of American anthropologist Terrence Hamilton, Maria leaves Rome for Canc n, Mexico, where Hamilton, a Mayan expert, tells her he needs her help with an important discovery he's made. When Hamilton is kidnapped, Maria calls in Jones and Payne, who soon get on the trail of a Mayan super weapon known as "the Death Relic" and a treasure hidden beneath a pyramid. As usual, Jones and Payne joke incessantly with themselves and others, while various scientists and historians recite long swaths of exposition. Readers who find the sophomoric jokes funny will enjoy the hijinks. Those looking for a thriller with action beyond the occasional gun battle should search elsewhere.