When a tsunami hit a Spanish treasure galleon, all trace of a golden hoard greater than that of any pharaoh's vanished into history. Until NUMA agent DIRK PITT dives into an ancient sacrificial pool far into the Andean jungle in order to rescue two archaeologists, and plunges into a vortex of corruption, betrayal, and death. A sinister crime syndicate has traced the long-lost treasure -- worth almost a billion dollars -- from the Andes to the banks of a hidden underground river flowing beneath a Mexican desert. Nothing will stop their ruthless and murderous drive to recover the gold. Nothing, that is, until Pitt and his team place themselves square in the path of danger....
From Publishers Weekly
A chance rescue of two divers trapped in a Peruvian sinkhole leads series hero Dirk Pitt ( Raise the Titanic! ; Deep Six ) into a search for lost treasure that involves grave robbers, art thieves and ancient curses. Cussler's latest adventure novel features terrorists who aren ' t really terrorists and a respected archeologist who is not what he seems; it all boils down to a race between Pitt and some unscrupulous crooks for a cache of Inca gold hidden away from the Spanish and lost since the 16th century. The villains, a society of art and antiquity smugglers called the Solpemachaco, want to get their hands on the Golden Body Suit of Tiapollo, which contains in its hieroglyphics a description of the Inca treasure's hidden burial place. Pitt ends up searching for a jade box containing a quipu, an Inca silver-and-gold metalwork map to the treasure. The box was stolen from the Indians by the Spanish, stolen from the Spanish by Francis Drake and then lost in the South American jungle, but readers who know Pitt know that that a 400-year-old missing clue is only a minor obstacle. Master storyteller Cussler keeps the action spinning as he weaves a number of incredible plotlines and coincidences into a believable and gripping story. It's pure escapist adventure, with a wry touch of humor and a certain self-referential glee (Cussler himself makes a cameo appearance), but the entertainment value meets the gold standard.