By Jack Higgins
Release Date: September 1, 1994
Ebook Available from WV Reads!
3.5 Stars - Escapist fiction at its best. Sean Dillon is at the start of his lengthy book series and intriguing as ever. He's got that broody bad boy side down to an art and it's hard to tell what he's thinking. Half this book takes place on the island of St. John which makes it perfect for a day at the beach or on the couch. While a bit plodding and repetitive, this old-fashioned little action thriller was a lot of fun.
Jack Higgins is up there with Clancy, Cussler, and Ludlum as some of the most noteworthy globe-trotting story authors of the late 20th century. I've read the fewest of Higgins books but he still has a great style all his own and a fascinating main man in Sean Dillon. Dillon's background is uniquely crafted to make him stone cold yet likable. Every great assassin has a backstory that makes him already suited to the spy game and his is acting. But he wasn't an actor for long before the IRA managed to snatch him up. Now he's in a bind and forced to work for the government.
The side characters here are simpler but fun as well. Poor Henry is a diver in the wrong place at the right time. He finds a remarkable discovery in the clear Carribean waters that sets everything in motion. It's not a treasure per se. But a lot of people want it. Enter his friend Jenny, a roommate he more less rescued that fills the heroine roll. Her part probably leaves a bit to be desired by modern feminists but I thought she was likable and had a redeeming grit. Ferguson and Carney end up as Dillon's crafty and amusing sidekicks for most of it, even if Dillon isn't technically the boss. This isn't a mystery as much as a straightforward treasure hunt, fight, and race type of story. Some aspects of the plot you can see coming but are none the less entertaining. Despite it being a relatively short book, there is a little skimming and it wouldn't made a great audiobook. For example, Dillon lights up a cigarette for something to do countless times and a few sections are more info dumps than research discoveries. Overall all though, it's an exciting little sea worthy tale that's worth the trip into the past.
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