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Authors: Gregg Loomis

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Gates of Hades

BOOK: Gates of Hades
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PRAISE FOR GREGG LOOMIS!

THE JULIAN SECRET

“I could not put this book down! . . . I was sure I had the mystery figured out, but as usual, Loomis kept me involved and surprised until the end. . . . A highly recommended read.”

—Fresh Fiction

“This is a lively and stimulating thriller you do not want to put down. . . . Dan Brown's fans will find
The Julian Secret
a delight.”

—I Love a Mystery

THE PEGASUS SECRET

“[
The Pegasus Secret
has] more intrigue and suspense than
The Da Vinci Code
!”

—Robert J. Randisi, Bestselling Author of
Cold Blooded

“The Pegasus Secret
is a driving thriller that slams the reader from the first page and doesn't let up until the explosive end. A fantastic novel.”

—Fresh Fiction

“The international setting and fast-paced action grip . . . [Readers] looking to repeat
The Da Vinci Code
experience will be satisfied.”

—Publishers Weekly

“Fans of Dan Brown's
The Da Vinci Code
are going to love
The Pegasus Secret,
an ecclesiastical thriller that is so action-packed that readers will feel they are on a fast-moving rocket ship. Gregg Loomis writes an amazing thriller with more twists and turns than a maze.”

—I Love a Mystery

“With impressive success Loomis has created a highly entertaining mystery. . . . You won't want to miss
The Pegasus Secret
.”

—New Mystery Reader

THE INTRUDERS

Jason could simply flee, disappear into the night. But where? Anyone who had tracked him this far was not going to be discouraged by not finding him at home and the islands presented few hiding places. No, he was going to have to terminate this venture here and now.

Jason sighed. His fight had been from the first very, very personal. He had taken satisfaction from the expression on the faces of men who knew they would be dead within the next second. Satisfaction and a small degree of revenge, a minute reprisal for his loss. Tonight there would only be impersonal killing from which he would derive little vindication.

Well, with one exception.

Jason crept forward on his knees and elbows, the plastic device between his teeth and the shotgun held in both hands. When he was close enough to see the sentry against the sky, he stood.

“Welcome to North Caicos,” Jason said softly. . . .

Other
Leisure
books by Gregg Loomis:

THE JULIAN SECRET
THE PEGASUS SECRET

GREGG
LOOMIS

G
ATES OF
H
ADES

Dorchester
Publishing

Contents

Acknowledgments

Prologue

Part I

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Part II

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Part III

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Part IV

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

Chapter Twenty-Six

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Part V

Chapter Thirty

Chapter Thirty-One

Chapter Thirty-Two

Chapter Thirty-Three

Chapter Thirty-Four

Chapter Thirty-Five

Chapter Thirty-Six

Chapter Thirty-Seven

Chapter Thirty-Eight

Part VI

Chapter Thirty-Nine

Chapter Forty

Chapter Forty-One

Chapter Forty-Two

Chapter Forty-Three

Chapter Forty-Four

Chapter Forty-Five

Chapter Forty-Six

Part VII

Chapter Forty-Seven

Chapter Forty-Eight

Chapter Forty-Nine

Chapter Fifty

Chapter Fifty-One

Chapter Fifty-Two

Chapter Fifty-Three

Chapter Fifty-Four

Chapter Fifty-Five

Epilogue

Author's Note

This book is for Suzanne.
Thank you.

DORCHESTER PUBLISHING

May 2011

Published by

Dorchester Publishing Co., Inc.
200 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10016

Copyright © 2007 by 594, LLC

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, without the written permission of the publisher, except where permitted by law. The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author's rights is appreciated.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

ISBN 13: 978-1-4285-1139-2
E-ISBN: 978-1-4285-0246-8

The “DP” logo is the property of Dorchester Publishing Co., Inc.

Printed in the United States of America.

Visit us online at
www.dorchesterpub.com
.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The common misconception is that writing is a lonely craft. This might have been true when Dickens dipped his quill into an inkwell or even when Mark Twain was the first to use a typewriter to create a novel. Today, with e-mail, phone and fax connections, I'm not only not alone, I have immediate assistance and advice from my ever-patient agent, Mary Jack Wald, and my editor, Don D'Auria, who is both quick and tactful in separating the good ideas from the not-so-good. Without either of these professionals, this book would not have happened.

Thanks also to Suzanne my wife, who loves to poke into the dimmer corners of history.

The scenes and much of the history of the ancient underworld come from my interpretation of Robert Temple's
Netherworld,
a photographically illustrated account of an actual descent into and exploration of the Oracle of the Dead, or Hades, at Baia in 2001. As stated in the book, the site was sealed again after Temple's exploration.

The cave of the Sybil of Cumae, though perhaps requiring a seeress to find, is open to the public.

DISCOVERY OF HADES AT BAIA

In the 1960s, Robert Padget, an amateur archeologist, had retired from his job in England and was living in the Naples area. For unclear reasons, he suspected there was a historical basis for parts of the epics of Homer and Virgil, particularly those dealing with the Sibyl of Cumae and, nearby, Hades.

When a cave that fit the classical description of the Sibyl's was discovered, Padget was certain that Hades must also exist.

In 1962, he found a series of man-made caverns at the ancient resort town of Baia that included sacrificial altars and tunnels that would have allowed the seemingly mystical appearance and disappearance of priests (as described in the classics). And there was a shallow underground river, the Styx. The series of caves had been methodically filled with dirt, rocks and rubble, the latter dated to the last years of Augustus Caesar (27 B.C. – 14 A.D.). There were traces of sulfur gases but none of the potentially poisonous vapors associated with volcanic regions.

Padget scheduled a press conference in London to announce his discovery, but the timing could not have been worse: November 22, 1963 at 6:00 p.m., or early afternoon in Dallas, Texas. Apparently, the conference was never rescheduled and the caves were decreed a hazard by the Italian government and ordered to be sealed.

In 1992, Robert Temple convinced the Italian authorities to let him follow Padget's path. He and his crew took photographs this time, which were reproduced in his book,
Netherworld
.

Again, the Italians sealed the cave, citing the possibilities of poison gases, unstable earth, etc.

 

 

P
ROLOGUE

55 o, 47
',
21
" '
N
173 o, 40
',
14
"
W
North of Atka, Andrean of Islands, Bering Sea
June 12, 0618 Hours

The Russian fishing trawler had to have been the source of the SOS. As big as a WWII aircraft carrier, it was designed to catch, process, and freeze tons of North Pacific cod without leaving the fishing grounds. That was why a number of countries had banned these superships: two or three of them could wipe out a breeding ground in days.

But fishing wasn't what it was doing now.

Captain Edward “Easy” Rumpmiller stood on the small bridge of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter
Reynolds
and studied the massive craft through binoculars. Even in the glare of the subarctic spring sun, he could see there were no nets out. The open hatches to the huge holds were covered in a white cloud of gulls feasting on a catch left available to them. The craft was wallowing in the swell, not under power.

That was the reason for the distress signal, of course.

He grimaced.
Damn Russians.
Fishing illegally within
the two-hundred-mile area claimed by the United States, they had the balls to call the U.S. Coast Guard when something happened to their engines. If the world were a sane place, he'd have authority to at least confiscate their catch to cover the taxpayers' expense in rescuing the bastards.

But it wasn't and he didn't.

So, what good was a territorial limit when it only meant you had to help somebody trespassing in it?

“No response, Cap'n.”

Rumpmiller's thoughts on political complexities scattered like a covey of frightened birds as he put down the glasses and nodded to his radioman, Third Class O. D. Peschky. He'd never asked what the initials stood for.

“Try again, all international frequencies.”

He wasn't surprised when that didn't work, either.

He sighed deeply, a man put to useless effort. “Blast the siren a couple of times. That should wake 'em up.”

Just like the Russians: lose both engines, call for help, and get tanked up on vodka while they waited.

He made a minute adjustment to the binoculars as the shrill clarion echoed across the gray water. Nobody stirring. Bastards must have all passed out. Nothing to do but board, a problematic task since the trawler's deck towered a good thirty feet above his head.

Then he saw it: a rope boarding ladder dangled from just behind the trawler's bow, like the Russkies had anticipated the problem and left it before drinking themselves into a stupor.

“All ahead, prepare boarding party.”

Rumpmiller buckled on the webbed gun belt required for boarding operations. He didn't like this one bit. Climbing up a ladder onto a ship in distress should be all in a day's work, but there was something sinister about the trawler, something he could not have explained.

For the first time in years, he slid back the action of his navy-issue Beretta, making sure he had a full load.

On board, the Russian craft appeared as deserted as it
had from the bridge of the
Reynolds.
Huge hatches yawned open, and the smell of fish about to go bad filled the air, along with the raucous protests of birds frightened away from what was probably the only free meal the Northern Pacific would ever yield them. There was no one on deck, nor could he see anyone through the glass of the bridge above his head.

BOOK: Gates of Hades
8.16Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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