||March 17, 2006
The team from NWIDI is at it again! This time, a trip to southern Japan to investigate a mysterious underwater pyramid off the coast of Yonaguni.
Barnes & Noble.com
The four friends from NWIDI are involved in a case of murder and international kidnapping. The maiden voyage of the team's newly acquired Learjet begins with a dramatic landing in Alaska's Aleutian Islands and, after a run-in with the Department of Justice in Tokyo, the team begins to think they should never have left home. When they finally touch down on Yonaguni, a Japanese-American exchange student befriends them and helps them get to know the tiny island of 1,200 people — and the dark secret being protected there. A tsubute discovered outside the NWIDI headquarters in Seattle reappears on Yonaguni and leads the team to a startling discovery about the true nature of the island and its original inhabitants.
[A tsubute is an ancient Ninja throwing weapon.]
Chapter 1 (January 19, 2002)
The ground shook for the third time in as many minutes and Ichiro looked up from his work in anger. The single light fixture suspended over his bench was swaying again and the motion made it very difficult to concentrate on the delicate task at hand. There had been so many of these small after-shocks in the two months since the earthquake that he no longer feared being trapped underground but the interruption annoyed him anyway.
Ichiro steadied the fixture and returned to his work. Using a tiny brush, he continued copying ancient symbols onto a small eight-sided disk before him. Several minutes later he leaned back and smiled. This was his finest—and deadliest— tsubute so far! * * *
Half a world away, Dr. Frank Morton heard a car door slam and glanced up from the book he was reading to see his friends, Tony Nicoletti, Jim Barnes and Linda McBride, getting out of Linda’s car. As he opened the hangar’s office door to greet the trio, he realized that it had been more than five months since he had last seen his old Viet Nam buddy Tony. Linda lived next door to Frank in a downtown Seattle high-rise and Jim was a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Washington, but Tony had been bouncing back and forth between his home in Atlanta and a friend’s place in the Caribbean ever since the four had met here last August.
A lot had happened in the five and half months since that meeting. The tragic events of September 11 had changed the world forever, of course. Today, four months after the attacks on New York and Washington D.C., air travel was just getting back to normal. Temporary airport closures due to security breaches were still frequent occurrences and Frank often reminded himself of just how fortunate he was to have acquired the Learjet 60 aircraft currently parked out in the hangar, just on the other side of the office wall.
Frank opened the door and greeted his friends with hugs and warm handshakes.
"Come on in, guys! Tony, you look like a walking advertisement for a tanning salon. I take it you’ve been back to the Caribbean since we last met?"
"Several times! In fact, I just flew in from there this morning. I got stuck down there for two weeks after the 9-11 attacks but fortunately Jill let me hang out at her place. She sends her best, by the way. Those attacks were something, weren’t they? Can you believe the nerve of those bastards?" Tony huffed, shaking his head as he crossed the threshold and entered the well-appointed office. "Man, this place sure looks different."
When the four had met in this building back in August, it had been in a serious state of disrepair. It had been vacant for several years before Frank bought it and it had cost him a fortune to have it cleaned and renovated. In the reception office where they were now standing, for instance, an old wooden desk and the smell of grease had been replaced by high-tech black furniture and the soft fragrance of fresh cut flowers on a filing cabinet in the corner.
"I’m glad you like it," smiled Frank, "but I think you’re going to like the changes I made out in the main part of the hangar even more. The renovations were delayed more then a month due to the terrorist attacks, but the last of the office furniture finally arrived yesterday, so we timed this meeting perfectly. Let me show you what I have done to that dirty old airplane hangar you saw a few months ago."
The meeting back in August had been called by Frank one month to the day after the termination of an impromptu investigation that had started with a mysterious black sphere and ended with some startling discoveries about the origin of Mexico’s Maya natives and their predecessors, the Olmec. Due to the fact that the spheres could potentially rewrite anthropology, Frank had taken to calling that investigation the Tractrix Project because a tractrix is the mathematical equivalent of a sphere that’s been turned inside out.
During the course of that short, three-week investigation, Frank and Jim had crawled through ancient caves in the Yucatan Peninsula and Tony had traveled to the bottom of a thousand foot deep tunnel built by the U.S. Government on the edge of the infamous Nevada Test Site, northwest of Las Vegas.
Before being run off by agents of the Department of Energy, Frank, Tony, Jim and Linda had managed to decipher ancient Mayan hieroglyphs, solve an international murder and learn some startling facts about a recovered flying saucer—from a Department of Defense researcher who had actually examined it!
But that was then, and this is now. Back in August, Frank had proposed that the four join together and form a non-profit research organization for the purpose of investigating other mysteries of history and science. Today Frank had invited his three friends to the hangar to show off the new headquarters of the Northwest Institute of Discovery and Investigation (NWIDI) and to convince the trio to abandon their current jobs and join him.
Since winning an $86 million lottery jackpot last June, Frank had completely transformed his life. Just before Tony acquired the mysterious sphere Frank had retired from his position at Boeing Aerospace, where he had been a senior team leader for the International Space Station project. Ever since the conclusion of the Tractrix Project, Frank had devoted all his energies to the creation of NWIDI. Frank’s wife, Donna, had been killed in a freak automobile-pedestrian accident a little over a year earlier and the total immersion in the NWIDI project had been good therapy for him.
Frank indicated a door in the back corner of the office and waved everybody through into the main part of the hangar, where the Learjet was parked.
Settle in and fasten your seat belt
"Settle in and fasten your seat belt. You're about to take off on an adventure of action and international intrigue. Your host, R. J. Archer, will be your diving guide and your local expert on Japanese culture. His pulse-pounding plot suggests an island's incredible secret. Most amazing of all, this tale is based on a real island and stunning recent archeological findings."
--Richard Jones, feature writer for El Hispanic News, Portland, OR
Continues the adventure
Tsubute continues the adventures of the NWIDI team where Tractrix left off. Frank Morton and his collegues this time journey to Japan, with the initial intent to investigate a mysterious pyramid off the island of Yonaguni, the westernmost island of Japan.
As with his last novel, Archer interweaves facts with his fiction: in the late 1980's, divers found underwater archeological ruins similar to the pyramids of Egypt, Maya and other ancient civilizations, much older than previous indicators of ancient civilizations in this area. In Tsubute, the NWIDI team's investigation of this phenomena is mixed with an attack on one of their own, where they discover a tsubute, an ancient Japanese ninja weapon, that appears to have originated from the same island of Yonaguni.
Tsubute continues to follow the theories of Graham Hancock (Fingerprints of the Gods, etc.) but that is not the main theme of the story, as it was in Tractrix. These theories are integrated in with the action, investigation and subversive plot.
The book establishes more of the characters of the team members, and has quite a bit more action than the previous book. I thought it ended too soon though, with some loose ends not quite tied up (why was the fake PI spying on the team? what happened to Aya?)....and there is a nice setup for book three, where perhaps all will be answered.
Again, highly recommended for Clive Cussler fans, and all fans of Graham Hancock's theories.
--Larry Ketchersid, author, Amazon reviewer
The long anticipated sequel
The long anticipated sequel to Tractrix is finally here, and once again, RJ Archer lays a foundation of rich detail that subtly builds into a runaway train of action, treachery and discovery. Tractrix offered a glimpse at a vision of history ignored by contemporary scholars; Tsubute rips down the curtain and sets it on fire." Sean Ellis, author of Magic Mirror and The Clive Cussler Code
--Sean Ellis, author Shroud of Heaven
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