Clive Cussler: The Mayan Secrets

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Clive Cussler The Mayan Secrets
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    The Mayan Secrets
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    Putnam Adult
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    Морские приключения / на английском языке
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    New York
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The Mayan Secrets: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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The outstanding new novel from the #1 New York Times — bestselling grand master of adventure. Husband-and-wife team Sam and Remi Fargo are in Mexico, when they come upon a remarkable discovery — the skeleton of a man clutching an ancient sealed pot, and within the pot, a Mayan book, larger than anyone has ever seen. The book contains astonishing information about the Mayans, about their cities, and about mankind itself. The secrets are so powerful that some people would do anything to possess them — as the Fargos are about to find out. Before their adventure is done, many men and women will die for that book — and Sam and Remi may just be among them.

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“I know that, Father,” Tepeu said. “Give me your blessing.” He knelt.

Las Casas placed his hand on Tepeu’s head, and said in Latin, “Lord, let this man’s righteousness be enough. He wants nothing for himself, only to be the preserver of his country’s wisdom for future generations. Amen.” He turned and went to the cupboard, then returned with three gold pieces. He handed them to Tepeu.

“This is all I have. Use it to get what you need on your journey.”

“Thank you, Father.” Tepeu walked toward the door.

“Wait. Don’t go out there yet. I hear them.” Las Casas went to the door and stepped outside. There was a strong smell of burning, and he could hear the shouts coming from the village by the river. He stood with his back to the door while a platoon of soldiers pushed through three of his Dominican monks who were trying to keep them from entering the mission. Four soldiers broke into a storeroom down the gallery to search it.

Las Casas reached behind him, turned the knob, and opened the door of his study. He caught only a glimpse of Tepeu slipping out. He had the water pot on his back, with the strap around his waist and a tumpline over his forehead so much of the pot’s weight rested there. He was across the clearing and into the trees at a run, but he was visible for only seconds, and utterly silent.

Chapter 2


Thousands of silvery fish swam past Sam and Remi Fargo, gleaming, turning this way and that in unison, as though they were all controlled by one mind. The water was clear and warm, and Sam and Remi could see far beyond the steel bars of their cage.

Sam held a three-foot aluminum shaft with a small, sharp barb on the end. It was a tool for the application of tags, and in the weeks since he and Remi had been on this voyage, he’d become adept at using it. He looked at her, and then ahead again, staring into the distance.

As they watched, a darker spot seemed to form itself at the limit of their sight, as though the tiny particles held in the water were coming together to form a solid shape. It was a shark. And as Sam and Remi had known he would, he turned toward them. He came at an angle, drawn, perhaps, by the dense schools of fish that had gathered near the steel shark cage and flitted in and out between the bars. But there was no question the shark was aware of Sam and Remi.

The Fargos were experienced divers, and they were both used to the idea that it was not possible to go into the ocean anywhere in the world without having a shark notice their presence. They had seen many sharks over the years, usually small blues that came close to investigate the wet-suited newcomers diving near the kelp beds not far from their home in San Diego, reject them as prey, and swim off. This shark embodied the other possibility — the nightmare predator, always swimming forward to keep the water moving through its gills, equipped with sight, smell, hearing, a network of nerves running along its body that felt even small vibrations in the water, and the ability to sense minute electrical discharges from the muscle contractions of its victims.

The shark’s large tail gave a series of lazy undulations, and it moved toward them. As its outline became easier to see in the clear water, the shark seemed to grow. In the distance it had seemed large, but now, as it approached them, Sam realized that he had observed it much farther away. The closer it grew, it became immense. It was exactly what he and Remi had come to find — great whites that were over twenty feet long.

The shark swam through a school of fish that separated into two swirling swarms, then reunited into a school again, but the shark paid no attention to them. Its tail gave another undulation, and it glided ahead. The shark, its nose a flattish, pointed protuberance that seemed about four feet wide, moved through the water toward them, then turned again. The shark’s body swung past the steel cage where Sam and Remi were hanging, so close that they could have reached out and touched it. The body was thick, and the pointed dorsal fin above it looked as tall as a man.

The shark didn’t leave. It passed by them again. Sam and Remi remained motionless inside their cage. Even after many dives near the island, Sam found that during these long minutes he became conscious of the steel bars that had been welded into the cage. Were they solid? They had seemed to be when the cage had been lifted into the water by the crane. The welds, he now could see, looked short and hasty — maybe unreliable. The welder couldn’t possibly have imagined the size and power of the creature just now passing by.

This animal was at Guadaloupe Island to find elephant seals and tuna, and Sam and Remi didn’t look much like either. In their black wet suits, though, they looked a bit more like California sea lions, which could make them seem very tasty to a great white. Then, as abruptly as it had appeared, the shark gave a few twitches of its tail and glided away from the cage. For a few seconds, Sam felt intense disappointment. Considering their size and ferocity, great whites were sometimes surprisingly cautious. Had Sam missed his only chance to get this giant on record?

Then, without warning, the shark wheeled about, flicked its tail four or five times, and barreled into the broad side of the steel cage, its huge mouth gaping, revealing the rows of triangular teeth. Sam and Remi clung to the bars on the opposite side of the cage while the shark shook the forward part of its body, working to get its jaws around the cage but unable to accomplish it.

As the shark pushed the cage forward, the cage tilted, and Sam saw his chance. He jabbed the aluminum shaft into the skin at the base of the tall dorsal fin and immediately withdrew it, pulling it back inside the cage. The shark seemed not to have felt it or noticed. The barb was set, and the bright yellow shark tag, with its six-digit number, trailed from the base of the fin, looking tiny on the enormous fish.

The shark swam below the cage, and Sam and Remi waited. They half expected him to turn around, build up even greater speed, and ram the cage again, this time snapping the careless welds and breaking open the cage and spilling them out in front of his big, toothy mouth. But he continued about his business, farther and farther away, until he was gone. Sam reached up and tugged on the signal rope three times, then three more times. Somewhere in the other world above them there was the vibration of a motor, and the cage jerked, then began to rise.

They came up out of the water, lifted entirely up into the air in the bright sunlight, and swung onto the deck of the yacht. Remi took off her mask and mouthpiece, and said to Sam, “So what do you think it was — that we didn’t look appetizing enough for a second try?”

“Don’t worry,” he said. “You look scrumptious. I’ve been practicing looking indigestible to prepare for this.”

“My hero.”

He pulled back the hood of his wet suit, smiling. “That was amazing.”

“Thanks to you, I’ll never run out of subjects for nightmares.” She kissed his cheek as they stepped from the cage and walked toward their cabin to change out of their suits.

A few minutes later, Sam and Remi stood on the foredeck of the chartered seventy-eight-foot Marlow Explorer. It was a modern luxury yacht that could do twenty-four knots wide open, but, in the two weeks they’d been aboard, Captain Juan Sandoval never had the need to open up the twin Caterpillar C30 diesels. They were not in a hurry, crossing stretches of ocean to look for promising spots for finding great white sharks, occasionally putting into pleasant Mexican ports to refuel or buy provisions. The yacht was a bigger vessel than Sam and Remi needed. It had three full staterooms with their own baths, as well as separate quarters for the three-man crew. Captain Sandoval, mate Miguel Colera, and cook George Morales were all from Acapulco, which was the charter boat’s home port. Sam and Remi had chartered the boat to take them to Isla Guadaloupe, about one hundred sixty miles off the coast of Baja California, because it was a well-known spot to see large sharks.

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