Sea Gold

Sea Gold

by Ian Slater
Sea Gold

Sea Gold

by Ian Slater

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“A first-rate, crisply told adventure story” of espionage, murder, and intrigue on the high seas from the bestselling author of the WWIII novels (The Globe and Mail, Toronto).
The great gold rushes of history pale in comparison to the vast mineral deposits that await discovery below the Pacific Ocean, just off the coast of Vancouver. As adventure- and fortune-seekers flock to the area, their lives intertwine in a perilous game of greed and ambition. Some want glory, others wealth. But for all of them, the pursuit of sea gold has become an obsession.
Against a raging sea storm, the crews of three ships resort to espionage, sabotage, and murder, each hoping to claim the ore that is so vital to America’s aerospace industry. Who will survive the storm? And who will win the race when coming in second means coming in dead?
"As impelling a storyteller as you're likely to encounter." —Clive Cussler, New York Times-bestselling author of Havana Storm

“Thrilling, fast-paced . . . Sea Gold combines a high sense of adventure with excellent character and story development. . . . An out-and-out winner.” —The Hamilton Spectator

“Full of furious action.” —Quill and Quire

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781626811805
Publisher: Diversion Books
Publication date: 02/06/2019
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: eBook
Pages: 319
Sales rank: 463,079
File size: 7 MB

About the Author

Thriller writer Ian Slater lives in Vancouver, Canada. He is married and has two children. Born in Australia in 1941, he has worked for the Australian navy, as a cipher clerk in that country’s Department of External Affairs, and as a defense officer for Australian Joint Intelligence Bureau. After leaving Australia, he became a marine geology technician with New Zealand’s institute of Oceanography, undertaking many voyages in the southwest Pacific and Sub Antarctic, and later in the northeaster Pacific for the Institute of Oceanography at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. In 1977 he earned his Doctor of Philosophy in political science and, as author and lecturer, has taught a wide variety of course in the humanities.

He is the author of twenty-three adventure thrillers, which include his best-selling FIRESPILL; SEA GOLD; AIR GLOW RED; STORM; DEEP CHILL; FORBIDDEN ZONE; MACARTHUR MUST DIE; SHOWDOWN; BATTLE FRONT; MANHUNT; eleven stand-alone books of the WORLD WAR III series, including his latest novel WW III DARPA ALPHA. His non-fiction book ORWELL: THE ROAD TO AIRSTRIP ONE, a study of George Orwell’s social and political thought, has been acclaimed from the Times Literary Supplement to the Washington Post, which wrote, “It is doubtful that any book provides a better foundation for a full understanding of Orwell’s unique and troubling vision.” ABC Book World states, "In Slater's revised version, his new preface contains a true story that Slater was part of and which is at once so moving about the power of one good, brave man and the power of literature to change events that it alone is worth the price of the book." Dr. Slater served as editor of the academic quarterlyPacific Affairs for twelve years, and has written book reviews for major North American newspapers as well as being a film critic and a writer of radio dramas and short stories for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He also wrote the screenplay for the National Film Board’s animated film, “Flash Point.”

Read an Excerpt


Northeast Pacific. July 2, 4:00 a.m.

Latitude: 49° 50? N; Longitude: 129° 58? W

"I know it's down there." Joe Crane's voice was barely audible above the howling of the forward starboard winch. "It's got to be there."

He walked quickly back to the ship's lab and opened the trunk marked "Dr. Joseph Crane, Maritime Institute (Geology), University of British Columbia," pulling out a parka as protection against the unusually cold summer wind. Despite his forty-six years the marine geologist was moving his six-foot frame with the agility of a much younger man. But it was the agility of tension — not fitness; Joe's middle-aged paunch showed even beneath the parka. His intense brown eyes darted from the recorder's jagged profile of the ocean's bottom out toward the black sea and back. He looked across at Frank Hall, his technical assistant, twelve years younger and working with the unhurried assurance of long experience. "I know it's there, Frank."

Though he was five feet ten, Frank had to strain his neck as he looked up at the cable jerking the davit. The arc light caught the rugged, sunburned cheeks beneath a shock of light brown hair, and the imperturbable blue eyes. "I hope you're right," he said.

"I'm right."

It was their last chance this voyage, and if they didn't find it Joe Crane knew it could be his last chance ever to be acclaimed as the discoverer of the world's last great treasure. Soon the bottom sampler would be aboard and they would know.

Frank watched the cable racing up from the sea, spitting and crackling as it ran over the block, down to the winch drum. Without taking his eyes off the meter wheel that was frantically spinning backwards, showing the rate of the sampler's ascent from the ocean canyon over six thousand feet below, Frank switched on the deck-bridge intercom. "Twelve minutes to surface."

Crane focused on the white apron of light that, cast from the deck, was now sliding up and over the quick succession of swells like a sodden sheet, holding the cable in view one minute, losing it the next. Suddenly the winch stopped and the shadow of an arm moved across the lighted deck like a spear as the winchman changed down gears for the final hundred-meter pull. The winch dropped from a whine to a steady groan and the five-eighths-inch cable that moments ago had been a long, thin blur now rose so slowly that Joe Crane could see its individual strands.

The cable's angle to the ship was wide and, like a fishing line being slowly pulled away by its quarry, it was dragged out of the dancing disc of light into the blackness. Every thirty seconds or so the cable would reappear in the light, only to slide out of view again as the ship dipped into another trough.

"It's got to be there," said Crane, pushing the parka hood off and running anxious fingers through his thinning gray hair. "It's got to be there. Before the others beat us to it."

The wire came back in sight, then disappeared again.

"What others?" Frank inquired, without taking his eyes off the meter wheel. "Some other university?"

"Whoever else wants to be first," said Crane. "Whoever else wants to make a billion."

"Or two," added Frank.


"Ten minutes to surface!" called Frank. Now his eyes moved from the meter wheel to the sea.


Zurich. July 2, 1:00 p.m.

"It's a little ..." Andrea Nolan stopped talking as a stranger passed them on the quay bridge, hurrying across the gray span toward the polished green of the trees fronting the Burkliplatz.

Her companion, a tall, lean, angular man in his early sixties, looking as if he might be a Zurich banker, finished the sentence for her: "A little unorthodox?"


Klaus kept looking straight ahead, toward the edge of the lake. The cold asceticism of his eyes was perfectly matched by his uncompromising tone. "Perhaps, Miss Nolan, but the alternative is highly unprofitable. The oceans are the new Africa." He brushed a piece of fluff from the sleeve of his steel- gray suit as if it were a gross impertinence. "If we can maintain and secure a relatively inexpensive supply of metals and other minerals — the raw materials for the manufacturing companies we plan to acquire — we can expand into becoming one of the ten richest corporations in the world. Richer than half the countries in the world. Nickel for one. The United States uses nickel for the manufacture of everything from can openers and sinks to automobiles and missiles, but has to import ninety-eight percent of all the nickel it uses. Ninety-eight percent. And that is only one of the minerals at stake." He deftly flicked the remainder of his cigar in front of him onto the pavement, crushing it under his heel without the slightest change in pace. "I am a conservative man, Miss Nolan. I do not exaggerate. The riches in the oceans are enormous. Nothing like them has ever been seen on land. Next to them, the 'great' gold rushes — your Yukon, the Californian and the Kalgoorlie — will pale into insignificance."

Andrea Nolan was an attractive woman — she looked closer to twenty-five than to her thirty-five — with a firm, petite figure and pale blue eyes that seemed flecked by gold whenever the turn of soft auburn hair changed the light on her cheeks. Klaus' North American directors had sent her over, claiming she was one of the best acquisition managers in the mining business. And Klaus was hungry for acquisition. But he was growing impatient with her.

Andrea knew that thanks to Klaus' nerve in expanding into high-risk investment areas, his S.R.P. empire (Swiss-Rhine Petrochemicals) was now the fourth most powerful industrial complex in Europe, after Royal Dutch Shell, British Petroleum, Unilever and Phillips, with employable assets of 11.3 billion dollars. He'd just displaced Phillips and was now marshaling his forces for a bid at first place via the North American market. Andrea also knew that his recent takeover of CANORE (Canadian Ore), the company she worked for, would be only the first step, a beachhead for an all-out assault on North America, and it wouldn't end in Canada. Next he'd try to get a stronghold on mineral supplies to the United States.

There'd be many more deals like this one, and each one would put her deeper into the murky waters of conglomerate intrigue. But she'd finally made it in a tough, competitive male-run industry. To bail out now would mean more than losing a job — it would be a grating personal defeat. She looked out at a pedal boat idly making its way into the floating dock across the Limmat.

The dock owner was standing impatiently by the water's edge glancing pointedly at his watch, but the young couple in the boat didn't even notice. The woman was a blonde in her early twenties and the man perhaps a little younger. His arms were draped lazily about the girl's shoulder and were covered by a cascade of long blonde hair each time she laughed. The laughter came drifting across the water and for a moment Andrea envied the girl. Spoilt-little-rich-girl, she thought, American by the looks of her, over in Europe on holiday — probably Daddy's graduation gift. Andrea Nolan reflected how she'd never had time for that kind of thing. She'd never been rich and she'd never even known who her Daddy was. But she'd survived — and for a moment that turned her envy for the blonde girl into contempt. The only people worth anything, as far as Andrea Nolan was concerned, were those who had had to work and fight for what they got. And she'd worked and fought, out of the dark terrors of a battered childhood in Vancouver's east end — waitress, typist, secretary, night school, and then more recently up the ladder at CANORE, showing them that she could equal any man when it came to acquiring new claims to exploit. There hadn't been time for pedal boats, or for anything like what was called a "permanent relationship." Her relationships had all been temporary and she'd ended them all because they threatened to hold her back from gaining a foothold in a successful career. She glanced at the blonde again. Now they were kissing. Andrea quickly looked back at Klaus. The moment Vancouver had told her that Klaus wanted to see her, she knew that this would be her big chance. She'd come too far to give it up now.

Klaus flipped open the menu, and the lanterns hidden among the decorative shrubbery suddenly came alive, throwing a golden glow over the olive slate of the Limmat. Andrea had the distinct impression that the lamps had been lit solely on Klaus' cue. He ordered beer and Rüeblichueche, the local carrot cake.

Andrea didn't want beer but she didn't speak Schwyzertüütsche and she was in no mood to dicker over food. "The same," she said, making a note that she'd better learn Swiss-German as soon as possible. Another language automatically gave you more power and authority. She watched Klaus closely. He wore authority like a model wears a coat, except that he wasn't just wearing it — he owned it. He lit up another slim Dutch cigar, then took a small, white box from his pocket and offered it to Andrea. "While we wait for the cake. Chocolates, from Sprungli's. They calm the stomach."

"No, thank you." She smiled, then realized he was in earnest.

"I firmly believe it," he went on, still holding out the package. "You should take one. I am never without them. They are much better than all those pills I hear you take in America."

She took a soft cream. "I don't take pills."

"Then you are not worried — about my plan for CANORE?"


"Good. It is the only way. We must secure Canadian rights to whatever deposits are discovered. CANORE must be the first to announce the discovery, with the sample in hand, plus exact latitude and longitude. Before, with only a three-mile fishing limit and a twelve-mile mining limit, it was Captain Blood, right?"

"I beg your pardon?"

"Captain Blood — a pirate was he not?"

"Oh, yes."

"Yes. Well, until a little while ago it has been — how do you say it? — grab as grab can?"

"It still is," said Andrea.

Klaus smiled. "Yes. But now that the world has finally awakened to the fact that we are running out of raw materials, your government — no different from the rest, I must admit — has extended its territorial claim beyond the continental shelf to two hundred miles — for Canadian companies only. Now, Swiss-Rhine Petrochemicals needs, how shall I put it, a Canadian advantage."

"Government protection from competition," said Andrea.

Klaus smiled appreciatively at her. "Just so. It's as simple as that."

"So now you have CANORE, a Canadian company," said Andrea. "All you need do is equip CANORE with research ships of its own to work the two-hundred-mile limit. It would be expensive but ..."

Klaus waved her suggestion impatiently aside with his cigar. "You miss the point, Miss Nolan. It is not a question of the money. Certainly it would be expensive to buy and equip our own research ship, very expensive. Thirty million dollars, perhaps. But for SRP it would not be hard. The real difficulties lie in hiding it from our competitors. If Mr. Howard Hughes could not protect the identity of the Glomar Challenger even with the help of the CIA, it is unlikely that we would be able to camouflage a ship of our own." Klaus surveyed the lake, its dark waters dotted here and there with the bobbing lights of boats. "No, let the Canadian government do it for us. After all, they have built the research ships. Let them finance the university men to do the looking. Let them take the risk," he said, smiling. "That is what they are for, is it not, so they can serve the tax paying public? Correct?"

"But they may not find anything," ventured Andrea.

"They may not," agreed Klaus. "All the more reason for not financing the ship on our own. You agree?"

"Yes," Andrea conceded.

Klaus inhaled deeply. "But if they do find it, we must be the first to know. We must be out there with them."

"We will be."

The financier paused, blowing a long stream of smoke over Andrea's head. "I hope so. It is solely to make that point, Miss Nolan, that I have asked you to fly all the way to Zurich. Telephones, telexes and the like are not to be trusted."

Klaus stubbed out the cigar and pushed the empty plate aside. "It is not only SRP who are seeking new mineral deposits, Miss Nolan. I need hardly tell you that. No, the race is on. The vast unknown regions are on the verge of exploitation. It is a decisive moment in history. Believe me."

He took out a fresh cigar, licked it, and stabbed it toward her. "And you will need information. Who knows where it will come from? Some laboratory, an angry graduate student perhaps, some assistant getting even with a greedy professor, a fishing boat even, with something caught in the net? Keep your ear to the ground, Miss Nolan." He looked out at the night. "We are at the new frontier — the last frontier." He turned back to Andrea. "We have to beat Inco, Noranda and the other companies who control the remaining Canadian land deposits. They will fight like the terror."


"Yes, exactly, devil. They will fight like the devil to get hold of it. Not to sell, but to stockpile, to protect their land deposits. They want to —" he hesitated, searching for the words, "they want to corner the market like the gold people in Johannesburg. And so you must watch." He waved the unlit cigar. "Vigilance, Miss Nolan, vigilance. This mining exhibition in Vancouver. It opens shortly?"

"In a few days."

"Good. You may pick up something there. What is the name of that company in Vancouver with its foot in the door?"

"That subsidizes research at the Maritime Institute?"


"Vancouver Oceanics."

"Try to find out where they get their information. How they decide what research to support."

"All right."

"And remember, it is just as important to learn where not to search. Knowing that a hundred-square-mile area has been pored over could save us valuable time."

Andrea was impressed. No wonder Klaus had already made so much money.

"I'll remember," she said.

"They tell us that in English Columbia —"

"British Columbia."

"Exactly. They tell me you are one of the best acquisition managers there." He drained his beer. "You may have to go beyond cocktail parties to get the information." He gave the cigar a final lick and flipped open the Dunhill lighter. "I expect you to do that."

Andrea nodded.

"Of course, if you have certain difficulties you must realize that it is SRP policy never to become involved in illegal activities. I hope you understand."

"I understand."

The cigar was fading and Klaus relit it, the tongue of flame giving his face the same yellow glow as a lantern nearby. "Naturally," he said, "there will be bonuses — if you succeed."

Back on the ship the cable angle was almost zero, running straight down the side of the ship, and the water was erupting in giant bubbles. Ten more seconds and the shark-shaped mouth of the big pipe dredge broke surface. Another ten seconds and it was at eye level, bumping the rail.

"Watch it," called Frank, and just as the ship rolled he grabbed the meshed bottom with his bare hands.

"Be careful, Frank. It'll tear your arms off."

Bracing his legs against the roll, Frank held the ten-foot-high dredge hard against the ship's side until the swell had passed and they could lift it higher over the rail and quickly lower it before the next roll. As it was lowered to the deck like some great glistening prehistoric animal, the seawater poured out in torrents. When it was all gone Frank and Joe Crane knelt down to peer inside. It was empty!


Frank's small cabin cruiser, moored at the Burrard Dock Club, was ten years old and badly in need of repairs, all twenty feet of it, but he should never have hinted, even jokingly, that he could do with a raise, at least not to Joe Crane. Not after the empty dredge. His boss had merely grunted that he'd be lucky to get any more money for research, let alone pay people raises. Frank was about to explain that he'd only been kidding but he was too tired. He'd spent all afternoon, from the moment the ship docked at Ballantine pier, supervising the unloading of the oceanographic gear from the ship to the truck and then from the truck to the storage shed at the Maritime Institute, checking that the multifarious grabs, dredges, reversing thermometer bottles, current meters, underwater flash camera unit and piston corers were all intact. It was one of those days when Frank wished that instead of finishing his education with a B.Sc. in science he'd gone ahead and gotten his doctorate like Crane — then he'd be the boss.


Excerpted from "Sea Gold"
by .
Copyright © 1979 Ian Slater.
Excerpted by permission of Diversion Publishing Corp..
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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