The Pyramid of Doom (Nina Wilde/Eddie Chase Series #5)by Andy McDermott
Archaeologist Nina Wilde and her bodyguard, Eddie Chase, are back-and their adventures are more dangerous than ever!
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Archaeologist Nina Wilde and her bodyguard, Eddie Chase, are back-and their adventures are more dangerous than ever!
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The Pyramid of DoomA Novel
By Andy McDermott
BantamCopyright © 2010 Andy McDermott
All right reserved.
New York City
Three Days Later
Nina Wilde struggled to wakefulness, fighting simultaneously through the smothering sheets and the remnants of a cloying alcoholic fog to look at the bedside clock. It was well after ten am. “Crap,” she mumbled, about to chastise herself for oversleeping . . . before remembering that she had nothing to get up for.
She almost pulled the sheets back up in the hope of returning to sleep, but even a brief glimpse of the small and ugly bedroom was enough to make her want to get out of it. Not that the rest of the apartment was much better, but it represented a least-worst option.
She put on a tank top and a pair of sweatpants, ran her fingers through her unkempt hair, then padded into the other room. “Eddie?” she called, yawning. “You here?”
No reply. Her husband was out, though he had left a note on the small counter separating the kitchen area from the rest of the cramped living room. As usual, it was as terse as a military communiqué. Gone to work. Will call later. Probably out until late. Love Eddie x. PS We need more milk.
“Great,” she sighed, picking up the small pile of mail beside the note. Credit card bill, probably large. Other credit card bill, almost certainly even larger. Junk, junk—
The last envelope had the name of a university printed in one corner.
Despite herself, she felt a flutter of hope, and hurriedly tore it open. Maybe this one was the way out of their miserable life of the past several months . . .
It wasn’t. She only needed to see the words We regret to know it was another rejection. The academic world had turned its back on her. Once someone was labeled a crank, it was a tag that was almost impossible to remove—even if that person had been right all along.
Nina put down the letter, then slumped on the creaking couch and sighed again. A smear campaign by a powerful enemy had not only cost her her job, but also left her regarded as a nut, on the same level as those who claimed to have found Noah’s Ark or El Dorado or Bigfoot. Her previous world-shaking finds—Atlantis, the tombs of Hercules and King Arthur—suddenly counted for nothing, academia as prone as any other field to having only a short-term memory: What have you done for us lately?
So now she was out of a job, out of prospects . . . and perilously close to being out of money. All she had was Eddie.
Except she didn’t, because the demands of his work meant he was almost never there.
A baby started crying in one of the neighboring apartments, the thin walls doing little to muffle the noise. “Goddammit,” she muttered, putting her hands over her face.
Eddie Chase emerged from the East Side brownstone building, glancing up and down the street before descending the steps.
“I saw that,” said a woman’s voice behind him.
Eddie looked around at her. “Saw what?”
“You, checking there wasn’t anybody outside who might know you.” Amy Martin came down the steps, her dark bob bouncing, and squeezed the balding En- glishman’s waist. “You’re so cute.”
“It’s not exactly something I want getting back to Nina, is it?” he told the younger woman. “I’ll tell her myself, when the timing’s right. And I don’t want anyone else to find out either.”
Amy grinned. “You enjoy it, though. Don’t deny it.” She went to the curb, looking for a cab. “So, you wanna do this again tomorrow?”
“Yeah, if I can make it,” Eddie told her. “Depends if Grant Thorn needs me or not.”
She grinned again, shaking her head. “I still can’t believe you get to hang out with a movie star.”
“I’m not exactly ‘hanging out’ with him. I’m his bodyguard, not his best mate. And he’s, well . . . kind of a prat.”
“But one with a Lamborghini, right? That’s pretty cool.”
“Bit of a waste, though. He never drives it faster than ten miles an hour, ’cause he wants everyone to see him inside it.”
“You guarding his body today?” She waved down an approaching cab.
“Yeah, picking him up in a bit. He wants to buy a suit for some charity bash this evening, so I’ve got to keep an eye on him. ’Cause Fifth Avenue’s such a dangerous place.”
The cab stopped just as Eddie’s phone rang. He looked at the screen: Nina. “Well, have fun with your Hollywood buddies!” Amy said as she got in.
“I’ll try,” he replied, answering the phone. “Hi.”
“Hi,” said Nina. “Where are you?” He had become all too familiar with her leaden tone over the past months, but this morning it had a little extra sprinkle of gloom.
“I’m . . . just at the gym with Grant Thorn.”
A pause. “Oh. When will you be able to come home?”
“See you tomorrow!” Amy called as the cab pulled away.
He gave her a slightly annoyed wave. “Not for ages, sorry. I’m with him all day.”
A second disappointed “Oh.” Then: “Who was that?”
He shot the departing taxi a guilty look. “Someone in a cab.”
“I thought you were at a gym?”
“I’m waiting outside. What’s wrong?”
She sighed. “Nothing. It doesn’t matter.”
“It matters to me. Look, I can call Charlie, see if someone can cover for me.”
“No, it’s . . . it’s okay. I mean, ha, we need the money, right?” The laugh came across as more desperate than amused.
“You sure? If you want, I can—”
“It’s okay, Eddie. It’s okay.”
His phone chirped. A glance at the screen told him it was his client calling. “Sorry, but I’ve got to go. Oh, did you get my note about the milk?”
“Yeah, I did. I’ll see you when you get back. I love you.”
“Love you too,” he said as she disconnected. Great. Now he felt even worse about lying to her.
He switched to the incoming call. “Hello?”
“Hey, the Chase-ster!” came the laid-back voice of Grant Thorn. “Where you been, man? Your phone was busy.”
“Yeah, my wife called.”
“The old ball and chain, huh? Just kidding, man. Not saying she’s old at all. Hey, why don’t I take you two out to dinner sometime? How about that?”
“Sounds like fun,” Eddie answered noncommittally, secure in the knowledge that all memory of the offer would have vanished from the actor’s mind by the time they met. “You still want me to meet you at your apartment?”
“Yeah. There’s this chick here, give me twenty minutes to get rid of her. Okay, two chicks. Make that thirty minutes. Oh, and can you pick me up a carton of OJ? Got a serious case of dry-mouth.”
“I’m your bodyguard, not your butler, Mr. Thorn,” Eddie reminded him. His job might be to look after his clients, but that didn’t include wiping their arses for them, and he always made sure they knew it. “Maybe you could get one of your chicks to go out for it.”
“Oh, dude! I don’t want them to come back! I mean, they’re hot and all, but once the box is opened there’s a no-return policy, right? Look, I got five hundred bucks in my wallet here. It’s yours if you bring me a carton of OJ. Like a bonus. Huh?”
“I’ll see what I can do,” Eddie told him before ending the call. Unlike the dinner, he was definitely going to remind Grant about that offer.
Nina sat morosely at the living room table, nursing a black coffee. Her laptop was open, awaiting her command, but so far she hadn’t even checked her email.
She took an experimental sip from her mug. Without milk, the coffee had been too hot to drink immediately; now that it had cooled, it was too bitter. She grimaced, wondering if she could drum up the energy to go to the store for milk. The more she considered it, the less likely it seemed.
Her phone rang, startling her. She picked it up. “Hello?”
“Hello, Nina.” A familiar voice—Professor Roger Hogarth, an associate from her university days. They had been in occasional contact over the past months, but mostly by email.
“Roger, hi! What can I do for you?”
“Always business first with you, isn’t it?” His chiding was delivered with amusement. “I’ll get to that in a minute. But how are you?”
“I’m . . . fine,” she said flatly.
“And the new apartment? Liking it any more than when you moved in?”
“The less said the better, I think.”
A small chuckle. “I see. Don’t worry, things will improve, I’m sure. Probably when you least expect it. And on the subject of unexpected things . . . first, you remember that I was trying to meet Maureen to complain about that ridiculous sideshow she’s got going on at the Sphinx?”
“Yes?” said Nina, feeling a stab of anger at the mere mention of the name. She’d had plenty of reasons to dislike Professor Maureen Rothschild even before the woman became one of the principal architects of her fall from grace.
“Well, she finally agreed to see me. Tomorrow, in fact.”
“Really? That’s great.”
“Took a lot of persuading, as you’d imagine. But unfortunately, the second unexpected thing is . . . I can’t go.”
“Slipped on the stairs, and now I’m sitting here with my foot bandaged up like a mummy.”
“Are you all right?” she asked, concerned.
“Just a sprain, thank God. The perils of old age are ridiculous, though—I did the pole vault and high jump when I was young, never so much as stubbed a toe. Now I drop six inches and I’m out of action for a week!” He tutted.
“So what are you going to do about Maureen?”
“Well, that’s why I’m calling. I was hoping you might go in my place.”
“Are you serious?” Nina said, surprised. “She’s the person who fired me!”
“Okay, it could be . . . awkward. But what she’s doing is a travesty of archaeology. It seems that every time I turn on the TV there’s another commercial for this circus.”
“Yeah, I’ve seen them,” Nina muttered. The promos for the live opening of the Hall of Records had been omnipresent for the last couple of weeks, irritating her more with each repeat.
“It’s shameless commercialism, not science. And if there’s nothing in there, it’ll make the entire archaeological profession look like utter fools by association. I doubt it’ll make any difference, but somebody at least has to say these things to Maureen.”
“And you want me to do it? Sorry, Roger. Maureen Rothschild is one of the last people I want to see.”
“I understand,” Hogarth said after a pause. “I thought you probably wouldn’t, but I had to try. Someone of your standing would have more chance of getting the point across.”
Nina tried to hold in her bitterness. “My standing’s not very high with anyone right now.”
“Don’t underestimate yourself, Nina.” This time, the chiding was more pointed. “One setback doesn’t end a career. I’ve had more than a few myself.”
“Not on my scale, though.”
“Oh well,” Hogarth said with a sigh, accepting defeat, “we’ll just have to pray this whole affair doesn’t turn into a disaster.”
“Let’s hope. Get well soon, Roger.”
“Thank you. And I’m sure things will get better for you too.”
She said good-bye then hung up, blowing out a glum breath. The coffee had gone cold, but she was now even less enthusiastic about leaving the apartment than before.
Excerpted from The Pyramid of Doom by Andy McDermott Copyright © 2010 by Andy McDermott. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Meet the Author
Andy McDermott is a former journalist and movie critic who now writes novels full-time following the international success of his debut thriller, The Hunt for Atlantis,which has been sold around the world in more than twenty languages. He is also the author of The Tomb of Hercules, The Secret of Excalibur, The Covenant of Genesis, The Pyramid of Doom, The Sacred Vault, Empire of Gold, Return to Atlantis, The Valhalla Prophecy, and The Shadow Protocol. He lives in Bournemouth, England.
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As an international TV audience waits for the archeologists to open a recently discovered vault under the Great Sphinx, student Macy Sharif has found the excavation and Egypt boring as the leader Dr. Berkley detests debutants being fostered on him due to favors and donations. Upset as she is a serious student who wants to contribute, Macy considers leaving until she overhears a discussion about another dig behind schedule. Apparently in an upper newer chamber of the Great Sphinx, led by Shaban, a splinter group is looking for a map that leads to the mythical lost pyramid of Osiris. They see her so she flees for her life. However, on Shaban's team are corrupt government officials like Hamid so they arrange for Macy to be declared a criminal while they hunt her down for execution. Macy contacts the only person she trusts with her life, defrocked American archaeologist Nina Wilde; whose reputation has been shredded in a garbage disposal by the Eden fiasco (see The Covenant of Genesis). With former SAS operative Eddie Chase at her side the pair begins a search for the Pyramid of Osiris while trying to keep Macy safe from a fanatical cult and their Diamondback bodyguard. The fifth Wild Chase thriller is at its best when the focus is on the race to find The Pyramid of Doom; when the tale centers on the relationship between the lead adventurers it loses steam as the quarreling bantering after four previous escapades of this makes them for the most part seem childish and petty. Still the fast-paced action is fun to follow and the prime villain ultra chilly. Andy McDermott provides an exciting entry in his enthralling saga. Harriet Klausner
The first book of Andy McDermotts I read was The secret of Excalibur. After reading that I had to backtrack and read the rest of the books about this duo. This book was just as good as the first.Eddie Chase and Nina Wilde keep up their jokes in this action packed book with a very good twist I didn't see coming in the end. Be sure to read on the week-end because you won't be able to put it down until the end.
Another solid Eddie and Nina outing, this one with an Egyptian flare. Still suspended from IHA and fighting depression Nina is contacted by a young archaeology student, Macy concerning a Pyramid that is about to be robbed. With little to do and bad guys trying to kill them Nina, Eddie and Macy begin their journey taking the to Egypt, Paris, Switzerland. Lot's of twists and turns revolving around many Egyptian treasures mixed with some lunatic zealots. Fast paced with a good and happy ending for all 3 main characters.
Dr. Nina Wilde and her husband, Eddie Chase, continue to astound archeologists and the world, by uncovering yet another unknown treasure. This one leads to the possibility of the existence of the fabled Pyramid of Osiris and a conspiracy the goes far beyond archeology. We are introduced to college student Macy Sharif, who is bored with her summer job on the project in Egypt. In just eight days, the leader of the expedition promises to reveal the existence of the Hall of Records, long thought to be mythological. Her boredom vanishes when she realizes some of the project members are plotting to remove treasures without the knowledge of the International Heritage Agency sponsors. Macy turns out to be resourceful as well when she escapes from the thugs who are inexplicably trying to kill her. She appeals to her idol, Dr. Nina Wilde for help. Nina, who has been suffering from depression after being "suspended" from IHA because of her disgrace in the Garden of Eden disaster, meets with Macy in a New York coffee shop called 52 Perk Up, and they're off! A quest to uncover the secrets of an Osiris cult leads to a romp from Egypt to Paris, on to Switzerland and even Monaco. A handsome, vacuous, action movie star, Grant Thorn, gets mixed up in the adventure, along with a pair of murderous Egyptian brothers and an American named Bobby Diamondback who favors snakeskin jackets. This eventually ties in with a plot that could kill millions. The car chases and shoot-outs go on a little too long and are sometimes a little too contrived for this reader, but fans of Nina and ex-SAS bodyguard Eddie will certainly expect them and will willingly suspend disbelief. Amid the action and double-crossing, shoot-em-up excitement are the serious themes dealing with the relationship of Nina and Eddie, Nina's suffering self-esteem and Macy's voyage of self-discovery. And, most satisfying for the fans of this series, the future is left up in the air at the end. Another wild ride is surely coming right up! Reviewed by Kaye George, Author of "A Patchwork of Stories" for Suspense Magazine