Lost City of the Condor
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by Loretta Jackson, Vickie Britton
Description: Arla Vaughn: Pre-Columbian Treasure Series -- the Inca. While traveling on a local bus in Chinchero, Peru, Arla is approached by a mysterious female peddler who shows her a small, silver warrior. The statue is identical to those found only in rare Inca tombs located high in the Andes. Arla suspects this is a genuine artifact, perhaps stolen from the same Capacocha burial site her co-worker, Lance Hayden, is seeking. When the woman tells her she has many more items for sale, Arla follows her to an abandoned house. Too late, Arla realizes she has fallen into a trap! Arla gets kidnapped by a group of ruthless thieves who are holding Lance Hayden hostage. They believe Arla's in possession of a journal, which is the final link to the Lost City and the secret it holds? Death lurks, biding its time? This is a race against time that takes Arla to a snowy mountain peak and a clash with the looters for the most priceless treasure of all -- the golden condor! The second book in the series begun with The Mayan Mask of Death.
eBook Publisher: Solstice Publishing/Solstice Publishing, 2012
eBookwise Release Date: April 2012
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [381 KB]
Reading time: 236-331 min.
"You must be Dr. Arla Vaughn." The words were drawn out between labored breaths, thick with medication, racked with pain. A large suntanned hand lifted, then fell back against the bedsheet in a weary gesture that brought a lump to Arla's throat.
She had lost no time getting to Chicago Memorial Hospital in response to an urgent message that Ted Langston had been in an accident and was requesting to see her. The nurse at the station had informed her that he had been involved in a tragic hit-and-run, and she could tell by her tone of voice his condition was serious. But she had not expected this.
His bruised face, the only part of his body not swathed in casts and bandages, bore the pallor of death. Why had he summoned her, a total stranger?
"Lance Hayden has told me all about you," he said. He closed his eyes momentarily, battling to hold on to his fast waning strength. "That's why I've called you here."
She drew the white curtain between their small cubical and the large intensive care unit. She pulled a chair close to his bed and waited. The silence was filled with the impersonal droning of machines and the hushed voices of doctors and nurses. She had to lean forward to hear his words.
"Have you heard from Lance?"
Lance headed the archaeology department at the Chicago University where she was an assistant dean. She planned to join him in Peru at end of the month. She had attempted to reach him numerous times in the last few weeks. At first, she hadn't been overly concerned when told he was working in a remote location and unavailable, even though it was unlike him not to keep in close touch. Being summoned here by Lance's coworker deepened her fears for his safety.
"I've tried to contact him." Ted Langston said, his rugged face lined by wind and sun. "But I've lost hope of ever reaching him."
Did he know that what happened to him was no accident, that he hadn't been struck down by a reckless driver, but by an assailant carrying out a deadly purpose? The dark undertone beneath his words frightened her. He knew that Lance was also in danger, she was sure of it.
"I must tell someone." His gray eyes shone in an irrational way and held hers. "I have knowledge, knowledge that in itself is worthless. But joined with what Lance found out, it's absolutely priceless."
"Lance hasn't discussed his recent project with me," Arla said. He had been very secretive about his mission in Peru, saying he would fill her in once she joined him.
"He's been searching for the site of an ancient Inca city." Ted Langston's eyes closed in tight, pained lines. "My father called it The Lost City of the Condor."
She stared at him. All this time, Lance had been off searching for still another lost city of the Incas, a Machu Picchu, a Vilcabamba; another elusive site hidden by jungle, by mountains and mist.
"Dad's life's work, his obsession, was to locate this sacred city. That is the legacy he left to me." Ted drew a ragged breath. "This is the legacy I'm entrusting to you."
She gazed at him in disbelief -- a deathbed torch passing to a total stranger?
"My father knew beyond doubt that this lost city lay somewhere high in the Andes surrounding Cuzco. But now, for the first time, this city and all that it means is within our grasp. And with it, a treasure more fabulous than any you can ever imagine: the Golden Condor!"
She drew in her breath. "Do you think it's possible Lance has located this lost city?"
"I know he has recently found ruins in the area. I was supposed to join him in Cuzco as soon as I returned to Peru. This accident...I believe was no accident."
At that moment the curtain slid open and a formal voice stated, "Mr. Langston must rest now."