The Golden Spike: A Novel by

Ted Morrisby, Author Taplinger Publishing Company $14.95 (235p) ISBN 978-0-8008-3335-0
Award-winning former BBC-TV journalist Morrisby's first novel is an entertaining page turner. Australian TV reporter John Barr sails the South Seas in search of buried treasure: nine tons of gold bullion worth $80 million, lost off the coast of New Zealand in 1866. Only 14 people survived the real-life wreck of the U.S.S. General Grant, including the Hemingway-esque Irish sailor James Teer. While filming the search for the treasure, Barr succumbs to ""gold fever'' himself. He falls in love with a beautiful Maori girl, Wiki, and together they fight off Thai pirates, dodge New Zealand government agents, and spar with their anti-Communist Chilean backer who wants the gold to depose Castro. Moreover, Barr and Wiki become convinced that Teer's ghost is invading Barr's body. This cleanly written adventure novel excels in its evocation of such exotic locales as Fiji and Taiwan, and the seagoing sections would do Conrad proud, even if the characters are a little thin and the ending somewhat predictable. (July)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
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