This “swashbuckling, spine tingling, bloody good masterpiece of an adventure novel” (James Patterson, #1 New York Times bestselling author) about a man who follows in the footsteps of his pirate forebears to solve the mystery of his parents' murders and find the greatest treasure in the world.
On a yacht in the warm blue waters of the Caribbean, a little boy named Alex Hawke, hidden in a secret compartment, witnesses the brutal murder of his parents at the hands of two strange men. The only survivors of the attack, Alex and his father’s black parrot, Sniper, are sent back to the island off the coast of England where his family had lived and where generations of Hawkes have called home ever since their pirate forebear, the legendary Blackhawke, was betrayed and hung by the British.
Decades later, the boy, now a grown man and a naval hero, returns to the Caribbean on a special mission for the United States and Great Britain. His task is to find a secret Stealth submarine that has mysteriously disappeared and the men responsible for the theft. Once there, however, Hawke begins to have flashbacks about the night of his parents’ murder. He has also brought along with him a piece of paper his father had pressed into his hands before locking him into the compartment—an ancient treasure map.
Hawke begins to puzzle through his own tragic history and the meaning of the map, even as the search for the submarine intensifies. As Hawke nears the end of his search for his parents’ killers and the men who stole the submarine, he begins to realize that they are one and the same and that to the victor not only will go unimaginable military power but also one of the greatest treasures in the world.
Bell's action-adventure novel actively courts comparisons to Ian Fleming's James Bond novels, even touching down on Thunderball Atoll in the Bahamas, in a nod to Fleming's 1961 Thunderball. Bell's hero is Alex Hawke, a jet-set business mogul who does "highly secret freelance work for the governments of the United States and Britain." Thirty years before the story begins, seven-year-old Alex Hawke watches from a hiding place as his mother and father are slaughtered by three modern-day pirates. The adult Hawke, descendant of the famous English pirate, Blackhawke, owns the finest of the world's goods, makes love to the most beautiful women and defeats the world's most heinous villains. He is, in short, a cartoon. When his friend and ex-lover, Consuelo de los Reyes, the beautiful and foul-mouthed secretary of state, asks him to save America with a difficult and exceedingly dangerous piece of derring-do, he leaps at the chance. The assignment involves a cabal of Cubans who have deposed Castro, bought themselves a secret submarine from the Russians and are preparing to launch 40 nuclear missiles at the United States. Hawke assembles an arsenal of cool weapons and exotic machinery, calls in a squad of deadly ex-SEAL anti-terrorist pals and saves the world. Along the way, he avenges his parents' brutal murder. Bell's first effort, Nick of Time, was a well-received pirate book for boys. This novel is a pirate book for adult boys. It's a fast, fun read, but the elaborately constructed homage to the master Fleming and the inimitable Bond tips over into unintentional parody more often than it should.
I have read only two novels featuring Alex Hawke so far, but I intend to read more. The combination of suave sophistication and brutal violence puts one in mind of Ian Fleming's best Bond
tales. In Hawke's rare circle of friends both elegant butler Pelham and streetwise SEAL Stokely are as valued as the U.S. Secretary of State, or, for that matter, the Prince of Wales.
I love all of hawks books. They include so much of the ocean and pirate life along with the modern terror issues today. Riveting and grabbing. Can't stop reading!
Ted Bell has once again managed to draw the reader in with a wonderfully entwined plot, colorful yet tangible characters in locations and circumstances that are reminiscent of an Errol Flynn drama. It's a story that has it all; swashbuckling sea-bound English billionaire saves the day (and damsel in distress) with a wonderful gang of international mercenaries that are vividly embellished. Well done Ted, yet another Hawke Hero action-packed, screenplay waiting for the right cast, director and producer to enthrall audiences all around the world!