Gold of Kings: A Novel

Gold of Kings: A Novel

4.2 23
by Davis Bunn
     
 

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The first in an exciting new adventure series from the award-winning and internationally bestselling author of The Presence whose books have sold more than 6 million copies—Indiana Jones meets The Venetian Betrayal in this thrilling, rollicking read!

Storm Syrell sells antiques in Palm Beach, Florida. An art historian, Storm arranges her life as

Overview

The first in an exciting new adventure series from the award-winning and internationally bestselling author of The Presence whose books have sold more than 6 million copies—Indiana Jones meets The Venetian Betrayal in this thrilling, rollicking read!

Storm Syrell sells antiques in Palm Beach, Florida. An art historian, Storm arranges her life as she does her work—into neat, orderly categories. However when her grandfather dies under suspicious circumstances, she struggles to uncover clues he left behind in a frayed leather journal. Leaving behind Palm Beach for the untamed wilds of Cypress, Africa, and beyond, Storm is joined by one Harry Bennett—a scruffy, professional treasure hunter (aka, ex-con) who claims he must be the one to help solve her grandfather’s murder. Can Storm trust Harry? Does she have a choice? Before long the two form an unlikely alliance as they dash across the globe to figure out what Storm’s grandfather had been working on before his death…and get tangled up in a quest for secret historical writings that could spark a new crisis in Middle Eastern politics. Racing from the teeming gold markets of an Arabian souk to the highest ranks of European governments—and even to the depths of the Mediterranean Sea—Storm and Harry set out to find the documents before they fall into the wrong hands. Clearly they’re up against some formidable enemies, shady characters who will kill with impunity… and who won’t hesitate to kill again. And now Storm senses that someone is watching her very closely. With seconds to spare, the CIA, FBI, and then Interpol become involved in this hotblooded game of international intrigue, but Storm and Harry may learn the hard way that the only ones they can rely on are themselves. Gold of Kings is an exhilarating, atmospheric read. Like the best of James Rollins, Dan Brown, and Steve Berry, Davis Bunn combines an intoxicating blend of adventure and romance to keep readers gripping their seats and yearning for more.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

The first of a new adventure series for this three-time Christy Award winner brings together an odd couple for an international trail of clues and near-death experiences. Grieving Storm Syrell, an antiques dealer and art historian, must fathom the circumstances behind her grandfather's death. She and ex-con treasure hunter Harry Bennett team up to uncover a conspiracy that led to the demise of the old treasure trader. For readers interested in politics in the Middle East, travel in the Mediterranean and the biblical and historical ruminations in the story, this Oxford University writer-in-residence has plenty to offer in a smooth blend of romance, biblical historical archeology and murder mystery. Christian fiction readers will enjoy a more evangelically orthodox story than Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code; they will get a similarly long string of clues and a command of this genre mix as well. With this adventure, Bunn should win another crown. (June)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781439163962
Publisher:
Howard Books
Publication date:
05/12/2009
Sold by:
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
278,557
File size:
437 KB

Read an Excerpt


ONE

The rain pelting Seventh Avenue tasted of diesel and big-city friction. Sean Syrrell stared out the limo's open window and let the day weep for him.

Sean gripped his chest with one hand, trying to compress his heart back into shape. His granddaughter managed to make the end of the block only because her aunt supported her. They turned the corner without a backward glance. Not till they were lost from view did Sean roll up his window.

Storm's survival demanded that she be cut loose. He had fired her because it was the only way he could protect her. Sean knew the enemy was closing in. He had felt the killer's breath for days. Storm was his last remaining hope for achieving his lifelong dream, and establishing his legacy.

But the knowledge he had been right to fire her did little to ease the knife-edged pain that shredded his heart.

The driver asked, "Everything okay, Mr. Syrrell?"

Sean glanced at the young man behind the wheel. The driver was new, but the company was the only one he used ever since the danger had been revealed. If the enemy wanted a way to monitor his movements in New York, he'd handed it to them on a platter. "Why don't you go for a coffee or something. I'd like a moment."

"No can do, sir. I leave the wheel, they pull my license."

Sean stared blindly at the rain-streaked side window. He could only hope that one day Storm would understand, and tell Claudia, and the pair of them would forgive him.

Unless, of course, he was wrong and the threat did not exist.

But he wasn't wrong.

"Mr. Syrrell?"

Sean opened his door and rose from the car. "Drop my bags off at the hotel. We're done for the day."

Sean passed the Steinway showroom's main entrance, turned the corner, pressed the buzzer beside the painted steel elevator doors, and gave his name. A white-suited apprentice grinned a hello and led him downstairs. Sean greeted the technicians, most of whom he knew by name. He chatted about recent acquisitions and listened as they spoke of their charges. The ladies in black. Always feminine. Always moody and temperamental. Always in need of a firm but gentle hand.

Among professional pianists, the Steinway showroom's basement was a place of myth. The long room was clad in whitewashed concrete. Beneath exposed pipes and brutal fluorescent lights stood Steinway's most valuable asset: their collection of concert pianos.

All but one were black. The exception had been finished in white as a personal favor to Billy Joel. Otherwise they looked identical. But each instrument was unique. The Steinway basement had been a place of pilgrimage for over a hundred years. Leonard Bernstein, Vladimir Horowitz, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Leon Fleisher, Elton John, Glenn Gould, Alfred Brendel, Mitsuko Uchida. They all came. An invitation to the Steinway basement meant entry to one of the world's most exclusive musical circles.

Sean Syrrell had not been granted access because of his talent. As a pianist, he was mechanical. He did not play the keys so much as box with the music. He lacked the finesse required for greatness. But fifteen years ago, he had done Steinway a great favor. He had located and salvaged the grand that had graced the White Palace, summer home to the Russian czars.

After the Trotsky rebellion, the piano had vanished. For years the world believed that Stalin had placed it in his dacha, then in a drunken rage had chopped it up for firewood. But Sean had found it in a Krakow junk shop the year after the Berlin Wall fell, just one more bit of communist flotsam. He had smuggled it west, where Germany's finest restorer had spent a year returning it to its original pristine state. It was now housed in the Steinway family's private collection.

The basement was overseen by Steinway's chief technician. He and an assistant were "juicing" the hammers of a new concert grand. Sean spent a few minutes listening and discussing the piano's raw tones. Then he moved to his favorite. CD18 was more or less retired from service after 109 years of touring. Occasionally it was brought out as a favor to a special Steinway client. The last time had been for a voice-piano duet -- Lang Lang and Pavarotti. For fifteen years, Van Cliburn had begged Steinway to sell him the instrument. Yet here it remained.

Sean seated himself and ran through a trio of exercises. His hands were too stubby for concert-quality play, his manner at the keys too brusque. Added to that were his failing ears, which had lost a great deal of their higher-range tonality. And his strength, which these days was far more bluster than muscle. And his heart, which still thudded painfully from firing Storm.

This time, it took a great deal longer than usual to leave the world behind. He hovered, he drifted, yet he was not transported. The tragic elements of his unfolding fate held him down.

When peace finally entered his internal realm, Sean switched to an étude by Chopin. It was a courtly dance, even when thumped out by his bricklayer's hands. The instrument was bell-like, a radiant sound that caused even his antiquated frame to resonate.

Between the first and second movement, his playing transported him away from the realm of business and debt and his own multitude of failings. He knew others believed he harbored an old man's fantasy of playing on the concert stage. But that was rubbish. He was here because twice each year, for a few treasured moments, an instrument brought him as close to divinity as Sean Syrrell would ever come. At least, so long as he was chained to this traumatic ordeal called life.

Sean detected a subtle shift in the chamber's atmosphere. He was well aware of what it probably meant. He shut his eyes and turned to his favorite composer. Brahms was so very right for the moment, if indeed he was correct in thinking the moment had arrived.

Brahms above all composers had managed to form prayer into a series of notes. Yet Brahms had always been the hardest for Sean to play. Brahms required gentle eloquence. Normally Sean Syrrell played with all the gentleness of a drummer.

Today, however, Sean found himself able to perform the melody as it should be performed, as a supplicant with a lover's heart.

Then Sean heard a different sound. A quiet hiss, accompanied by a puff of air on his cheek.

Sean opened his eyes in time to see a hand reflected in the piano's mirrored surface, moving away from his face. It held a small crystal vial.

Sean's cry of alarm was stifled by what felt like a hammer crashing into his chest. He doubled over the instrument, and his forehead slammed into the keyboard. But he heard none of it.

His entire being resonated with a single clarity of purpose, as strong as a funeral bell. He had been right all along.

Sean did not halt his playing. Even when his fingers slipped from the keys, still he played on.

His final thought was of Storm, which was only fitting. She was, after all, his one remaining earthbound hope.

He was carried along with notes that rose and rose until they joined in celestial perfection, transporting him into the realm he had prayed might find room for him. Even him.

Gold of Kings © 2009 by Davis Bunn

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Meet the Author

Davis Bunn is the author of numerous national bestsellers in genres spanning historical sagas, contemporary thrillers, and inspirational giftbooks.  He has received widespread critical acclaim, including three Christy Awards for excellence in fiction, and his books have sold more than six million copies in sixteen languages.  He and his wife, Isabella, are affiliated with Oxford University, where Davis serves as Writer In Residence at Regent’s Park College.  He lectures internationally on the craft of writing.
Davis Bunn is the author of numerous national bestsellers in genres spanning historical sagas, contemporary thrillers, and inspirational gift books. He has received widespread critical acclaim, including three Christy Awards for excellence in fiction, and his books have sold more than six million copies in sixteen languages. He and his wife, Isabella, are affiliated with Oxford University, where Davis serves as writer in residence at Regent’s Park College. He lectures internationally on the craft of writing.

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Gold of Kings 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
RonnaL More than 1 year ago
GOLD OF KINGS by Davis Bunn is an historical treasure hunt thriller. Gold and treasures from the Second temple in Jerusalem are the center of the hunt. A threesome of a bereaved daughter who was given information about a treasure from her recently deceased grandfather; a treasure hunter who was mysteriously released from a Barbados prison where he was imprisoned without cause; and a US Treasure and Interpol Agent travel in search of answers and the treasure. The treasure hunt centers around the Copper Scroll in Quran as told about by the ancient Jewish Historian, Josephus, and treasures that had been in the Second Temple. The history of the Jews, the first Christian Jews, and the Romans in the first few centuries AD is fascinating. The interaction between those in search of the treasure keeps changing and makes the reader want to be in the action - faster and faster. There are twists and turns between those who honestly want to find historical artifacts and those who just want to get rich quick. This book is for all readers who enjoy a great fast passed adventure. My only complaint is that is the first in a trilogy and I want to read parts two and three NOW!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another excellent book from Davis Bunn. The research and delivery with a few chuckles thrown in with a dump truck made a perfect read. Well done Mr. Dunn, you did it again. Keep up the wonderful writing.
RLubow More than 1 year ago
In this captivating treasure hunt novel, Davis Bunn causes readers to consider priorities, legacy, and loyalty. Bunn's writing is refreshing and restrained. While reading Gold of Kings, I often paused to consider artful structure, masterful phrases, and strong word choice. Both scenes and characters are vivid and memorable, and the story is not overly emotional, dramatic, or cliche. I also appreciated the characters' imperfections and the novel's ending, which was satisfying yet not too tidy.  I recommend Gold of Kings to readers searching for a fresh, mature, fast-paced novel written by a Christian who tastefully communicates important themes.
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jrwitty55 More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent book. Great thriller. Love the team of Harry Bennett and Emma Webb. Started reading and could not put it down.
rodman2735 More than 1 year ago
Good read, ending was a bit predictable but overall well done.
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I really liked this book. It wasn't an 'edge of your seat' book but it was very interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I would recommend for anyone who likes treasure hunting tales. --K--
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cherryblossommj More than 1 year ago
Now this was a fun book! "Gold of Kings" is quite adventurous and easily can be visualized as an action film much like National Treasure or the Da Vinci Code films in theory. The reading of this book gives off a similar vibe to Matt Bronleewe's August Adams series, although it is not quite as cool in my opinion as I just loved those books, but really like this one. There are really three main characters that you are following through out the book in their physical, mental, and spiritual battles. The adventure is laid out for the reader to enjoy right along with the characters. The only flaw points that draw me back are the parts where a character figures something out, but it is hidden from the reader. That makes me feel like an outsider, and I love the stories that are as if you are right along side them, and not viewing from a window, you know? One of the best parts about this book are the historical facts and images that are brought to life and explained through out. As the characters are learning some historical pieces of the puzzle the explanations are given to the reader as well in an intriguing manner. Maybe it is because I have a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies and this is just my thing, but over all I was thoroughly impressed and plan to look for more titles like this from Davis Bunn in the future.
ChristyLockstein More than 1 year ago
Gold of Kings by Davis Bunn is a fast-paced suspenseful thriller about the quest for an ancient treasure. Storm Syrrell's world has fallen apart. Her grandfather Sean fired her from the family business of selling rare and high priced pieces of art just before dying of a heart attack. To make things worse, she's not even mentioned in the will. Harry Bennett has spent the last three years of his life wasting away in a jail cell in Barbados for a crime he didn't commit. Sean's actions in his last days will bring them together, along with federal agent Emma Webb on a search for treasures from the Second Temple in Jerusalem that sends that traveling across the globe and fighting for their very lives. In the growing genre of treasure hunting books, Gold of Kings is unique in its various subplots of family betrayal and international money laundering. Harry and Emma are a interesting, romantic couple who seem to have too many differences to ever overcome their chemistry, and Storm is the emotional touchstone of the book with her grief over Sean's death and her struggle to understand his life. There's a lot of suspense, double-crosses, and treasure, and it would make a fantastic movie. My one quibble with the book, is that I never felt emotionally connected with the characters. I didn't feel Storm's grief or the romantic sparks between Emma and Harry. Even the nail-biting scenes were a bit removed. I'm not sure why I didn't connect with this book, but if Bunn writes a sequel (as the ending seems to imply), I'll definitely check it out to give the characters who have so much potential another chance.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In Palm Beach Sean Syrrell owner of Syrrell's Galleries knows that killers are after him; this is why he suddenly fires his beloved granddaughter Storm. He proves right the hard way when someone snuck into his basement of Steinway's and sprayed him with a toxin that killed him. Shortly after his death, events he anticipated and planned for resulted in the release from a Barbados prison of treasure hunter Harry Bennett. His instructions include protecting Storm, who has found some interesting odd items in her grandfather's safe deposit box. Combined with what Harry knows, they conclude Sean has sent them treasure clues from the grave. ------------- When ancient Jewish historian Josephus' Copper Scroll of Qumron is found in Israel; it includes a list of Temple treasures not previously seen on Titus' Roman arch. They are joined by US Treasury agent and INTERPOL agent Emma Webb on a quest to find the GOLD OF KINGS even as governments, religious groups, and others try to prevent their success any way they can including assassination if need be.----------- GOLD OF KINGS is a seat of your pants thriller mindful of Indiana Jones; filled with false leads and non stop action, readers will enjoy the escapades of the lead trio as survival is not enough any longer with each having a touch of biblical gold fever. Since the threesome quickly learns friends prove false, they trust no one except the "guiding" spirit of Sean who each feels is with them somehow as everyone else has an agenda. That agenda is a key ingredient to the plot with some wanting to claim the treasure and others wanting it destroyed before it becomes publicly known. Fans will enjoy joining the global treasure hunt for the Temple's gold.-------- Harriet Klausner