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By Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child

A luxurious ocean liner on its maiden voyage around the North Atlantic, awash in wealth and decadence...

An historical Tibetan field, its contents unknown, sealed with a terrifying warning...

An FBI agent destined to confront what he fears most--himself...

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Yet then, what do you do with a passenger checklist that's virtually 3 thousand names lengthy, unfold over 8 eating rooms and 3 seatings? Mayles had fussed and fussed. First he had selected the eating place: it might be Oscar’s, the movie-themed eating room. It used to be a incredible paintings deco room, one wall a unmarried curtain of Venetian reduce crystal, with a waterfall in the back of, the whole lot backlit. The whisper of water was once designed to elevate the ambient white noise, which had the curious influence of decreasing the obvious quantity of sound. different partitions have been of actual gold leaf, and the ultimate one used to be of glass, searching into the darkness of the sea. It wasn’t the largest eating place at the ship—that was once the King’s hands, with its 3 opulent levels—but it had the neatest decor. convinced, Oscar’s it'd be. moment seating, certainly. the 1st seaters have been to be refrained from in any respect charges; they have been mostly cretins who, irrespective of how wealthy they have been, had by no means controlled to shed the barbaric behavior of consuming prior to seven. Then got here the query of the desk itself. it will, after all, be one of many “formal” tables—the huge ones the place visitors may well, on request, nonetheless notice the old school culture of assigned seating, within which they'd be mingled with strangers, as within the glory days of ocean liners. Formal gown, in fact. To so much, this intended black tie. yet Mayles used to be very fussy approximately such issues and he regularly wearing a white dinner jacket. subsequent, he’d needed to decide upon the visitors at his desk. Roger Mayles used to be specific and he had many deepest, admittedly vicious prejudices to fulfill. His checklist of visitors to prevent used to be an extended one: topping it have been CEOs, somebody excited about the inventory markets, Texans, fats humans, dentists, and surgeons. His most popular record incorporated actresses, titled the Aristocracy, heiresses, tv speak exhibit hosts, airline stewards, mobsters, and what he referred to as “mysteries”—people who defied placing—as lengthy as they have been interesting, very wealthy, and X-class. After hours of poring over the visitor lists he had get a hold of what he thought of to be a super celebration for First evening. He might prepare tables for himself each evening of the voyage, after all, yet this one was once particular. this could be a dinner to recollect. It used to be absolute to turn out a great diversion. And Mayles used to be regularly wanting diversion at sea, because—and this was once his largest mystery between many—he had by no means discovered to swim and was once deathly frightened of the open ocean. And so it used to be with nice anticipation and never a bit trepidation that he arrived on the gold-leafed front to Oscar’s, wearing a thousand-dollar Hickey Freeman dinner jacket bought specifically for the voyage. He paused on the door, letting all eyes fall on his impeccably adapted shape. He beamed a gracious smile on the room and made his method to the pinnacle formal desk. because the site visitors arrived he seated them with handshakes, hot phrases, and diverse gestures and prospers. final to reach have been the 2 “mysteries”—a gentleman named Aloysius Pendergast and his “ward,” a designation that during Mayles’s brain conjured up all kinds of deliciously salacious rules.

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