For three thousand years, the world's most dangerous treasure has been lost. Now the code that reveals its hiding place is about to be broken ...
Sam Grant is a disgraced ex-SOE soldier and an adventurer by trade. But he has a secret: six years ago, a dying archaeologist entrusted him with his life's work - transcripts of mysterious writing found in a hidden cave on Crete. Deciphered, it could lead to one of the greatest prizes in history.
But the treasure is as dangerous as it is valuable. The CIA wants it; so does the KGB. Helped by a brilliant Oxford professor, and a beautiful Greek archaeologist with her own secrets to hide, Grant is plunged into a labyrinth of ancient cults, forgotten mysteries and lost civilizations. But time is running out.
The secrets of the distant past may hold the key to the newest threats of the modern world...
Fans of Harper's superb historical trilogy set during the Crusades (The Mosaic of Shadows, etc.) are likely to be disappointed by this middling thriller, yet another variation on the Indiana Jones theme. In 1947, the British, Americans and Russians are all looking for the legendary shield of Achilles because it may contain "Element 61," a chemical element then missing from the periodic table that could be used in weapons. C.S. Grant, a British adventurer in need of a government pardon, agrees to help recover a murdered archeologist's notebook that may hold clues to the shield's whereabouts. A number of stock supporting characters, including an attractive female archeologist and an elderly scholar, accompany Grant to Crete in search of answers. While Harper offers some interesting discussions about the origins of Homer's poems, some readers may weary of such formulaic plot elements as a slow-motion romance, gunfights, hairbreadth escapes and the loss of a key clue.