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- AutorClive Cussler,Dirk Cussler
- VerlagPenguin LCC US
- Seiten464 Seiten
- Gewicht310 g
February 15, 1898
Sweat flowed down the exhausted man's face, cascading
in heavy drops off his unshaven cheeks. Pulling a pair of
thick wooden oars toward his chest, he tilted his head
and rubbed a soiled sleeve across his forehead. He ignored the
pain in his limbs and resumed a slow but steady stroke.
The exertion alone didn't account for his perspiration, nor
did the muggy tropical climate. The sun had barely cleared the
horizon, and the still air hanging over Havana Harbor was cool
and damp. It was the strain of pursuit that kept his pulse rapid.
With vacant eyes, he stared across the water, gesturing with his
head to the man behind him in the boat.
It had been nearly two weeks since the Spanish militia first
tried to appropriate his discovery, forcing him to flee. Three of
his comrades had already died defending the relic. The Spaniards
had no qualms about killing and would gladly murder
him to get what they wanted. He would have been killed already,
except for a chance encounter with a ragtag band of
armed Cuban rebels, who provided him safe passage to the outskirts
He glanced over his shoulder at a pair of warships moored
near the harbor's commercial anchorage.
"Al estribor," he rasped. "To the right."
"Sí," replied the squat Cuban seated behind, wielding his
own set of oars. He was similarly attired in torn and soiled
clothes, his face shaded by a weathered straw hat.
Together, they maneuvered the leaky longboat toward the
modern steel warships. The old man scoured the harbor for
threats, but he seemed to have finally eluded his pursuers. A
safe haven was within his grasp.
They rowed slowly past the smaller warship, which carried
a Spanish flag hung from its stern mast, and approached the
second vessel. An armored cruiser, it featured twin gun turrets
that protruded awkwardly over either side rail. The deck
and topsides were painted a straw yellow, offset against a clean
white hull. With lanterns still aglow in the dawn's light, the ship
sparkled like an amber diamond.
Several sentries patrolled fore and aft, watching over the
ship in a high state of readiness. An officer in a dark uniform
appeared on a superstructure walkway and eyed the approaching
He raised a megaphone. "Halt and state your business."
"I'm Dr. Ellsworth Boyd of Yale University," the old man
said in a shaky voice. "The American Consulate in Havana has
arranged for my refuge aboard your vessel."
"Stand by, please."
The officer disappeared into the bridge. A few minutes later,
he appeared on deck with several sailors
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