"Fine action adventure novel"
Off the Venezuelan coast, local workers of Oilstar Drilling
bore through an underwater ceiling leading to a cavern.
They bring up four stones that seem not of this earth. CEO
Frik Van Alman understands the ramifications of the finding
once his lab concludes that the connecting of the stones
along with a fifth one generates energy that will end oil
Lab chief Paul Trujold worries that the avaricious Frik
do something harmful so he sends the stones to people he
trusts like his daughter Selene, the leader of an
group protesting Oilstar's drilling that is destroying the
ecosystem of Dragon's Mouth Channel. Frik is badly burned
and Paul dies in a lab fire before the CEO learns what
happened to the stones. Frantic to regain the missing
stones and to find the fifth one, Frik secures the help of
his thrill-seeking comrades of the Daredevils Club. Off of
Venezuela, the risk-takers begin the adventure of a
ARTIFACT is a fast-paced, action thriller that never slows
down as the story line moves faster than the speed of
Frik is an interesting character with flaws that endanger
the members of the Daredevils Club, who overall are heroic,
but if readers want a deep character study they need to
elsewhere. Instead the writing quartet of Kevin J.
Anderson, Janet Berliner, F. Paul Wilson, and Matthew
Costello provides a one sitting, on the edge of your seat
tale with critical alien elements but more a fabulous
thriller than a science fiction story.
Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted May 17, 2003
Deep in a tomblike cavern along the ocean floor lies a
secret that has remained hidden from humanity. Until
now. . .
An Oilstar drilling rig off the coast of Venezuela in the
Dragon's Mouth channel has pierced an underwater cavern and
brings to the surface four stones unlike anything on this
earth. Frik Van Alman, the tough-as-nails maverick head of
Oilstar realizes immediately that they represent an
extraordinary opportunity . . .and a terrible danger. His
superstitious native crew, already uneasy working in the
infamous waterway, refuse to dive in search of a fifth
stone, and when Frik's lab chief tests them, the results
confirm Frik's hunch: when these four stones are connected
they hint at a power source that could revolutionize the
world's energy production. And, Frik realizes, such a
revolution would put him and all other oil companies out of
Before he can plot his next move, his lab chief Paul
Trujold, fearing the greed and calculation in Frik's eyes,
sends the stones to safer hands. One of the stones lands in
the hands of Paul's daughter, Selene Trujold, the leader of
an ecological action trying to halt Frik's drilling and the
damage it's causing to the Caribbean ecology.
Frik and Trujold meet in the lab after Paul has sent away
the stones, and an accident badly burns them both, killing
Paul before Frik can find out what he's done with the find.
Desperate to reclaim the stones and determined to find the
fifth piece of the puzzle, Frik enlists the aid of the
Daredevils Club, a select few risk-taking thrill seekers of
whom Frik is one, who meet every New Year's Eve to compare
bold new stories of the past year's exploits. Their members
are a disparate bunch, including a doctor, Arthur
Marryshow, whose greatest risk is healing those who risk
their lives in political hotspots; Ray Arno, a stuntman
turned demolitions expert; Simon Brousseau, an expert deep-
sea diver; and Joshua Keene and Terris McKendry, a
bickering best-buddies tandem experienced in undercover
operations requiring strength, expertise with weapons, and
nerves of steel.
At the next New Year's Eve meeting, Frik proposes a
mission: collect all five stones and return them to him.
Along with the rest of the daredevils is Peta Whyte,
Marryshow's protegé, not officially a member, but more than
qualified by her role in planning and effecting Arthur's
escape from prison on her native Grenada sixteen years
before, when she was but sixteen. She attends in Arthur's
place, for he's been killed, victim of a terrorist bombing
just blocks from their Times Square rendezvous.
The Daredevils embark on an adventure that takes them along
the coast of Venezuela, from stealth jungle raids to deep-
sea dives, from the haunts of Latin American power brokers
to the camp of eco-terrorists. A fast-paced, thrill-a-
minute hunt challenges the loyalties of the daredevils, as
they become pawns in a deadly game of deceit and betrayal.
After all the adrenaline rushes and spilt blood, the
remaining members of the Daredevils Club gather once again
on the following New Year's Eve, this time in Las Vegas,
for one final confrontation, as Frik slips the five stones
into place. . . as the unthinkable is created.