On the bottom of the icy sea off Nantucket lies the battered remains of the Italian luxury liner, Andrea Doria. But few know that within its bowels rests a priceless pre-Columbian antiquity - a treasure that now holds the key to a puzzle that is costing people their lives.
New Pocket Books
Published June 5, 1999
NUMA Files Character Studies
6' 1". 200 pounds. Broad shoulders, husky. Piercing light blue eyes, the color of a coral reef beneath smooth water. Though he is pushing 40, Austin’s hair has turned prematurely platinum, a steel grey color. Austin was raised in and around the sea. His father is the wealthy owner of a marine salvage company based in Seattle. Austin could sail almost from the day he could walk. Acquiring a taste for speed, he raced boats from the time he was ten. His big love on his time off is still racing boats.
He lives in a boathouse below the palisades on the Potomac River in Fairfax, Virginia, less than a mile from the CIA at Langley, and near several large mansions that sit on the crest of the palisades. His only exercise is sculling early mornings in the river. Unlike Pitt, he doesn’t own a car but drives only National Underwater & Marine Agency vehicles. Though he is not a serious collector, he owns four different boats. The big racer, a smaller outboard hydroplane, a small 20 foot sailboat and his scull. Austin, unlike Pitt, studies philosophy and collects cased dueling pistols. His collection numbers around 200 sets. He listens to progressive jazz.
While studying for his masters in systems management at the University of Washington, he also attended a high rated dive school in Seattle and trained as a professional diver, attaining high proficiency in a number of specialized areas. After working on the oil rigs in the North Sea for two years, he returned to his father’s marine salvage company for six years before being lured into government service by a little known branch of the CIA that specialized in underwater intelligence gathering. He was assistant director on the secret raising of a Russian submarine, the salvage and investigation of an Iranian container ship carrying nuclear weapons that was sunk clandestinely by an Israeli submarine. He also conducted several investigations into commercial airliners that had been mysteriously shot down over the sea, locating, salvaging and investigation the incidents.
After the end of the cold war, the CIA closed down the undersea investigation branch and Austin was hired by Admiral Sandecker of the NUMA for special undersea assignments that often took place secretly outside the realm of government oversight. As NUMA special undersea investigator, Austin formed a team of experts, including Joe Zavala and the Trouts and over the next ten years they conducted many successful probes into strange and sinister enigmas on and under the world’s oceans.
JOSE (JOE) ZAVALA
5' 10". 175 pounds. Age about 35. Large soulful dark brown eyes. Thick straight black hair always combed straight back. Dark complexion. Humorous, a slight smile always cracks the ends of his lips. Personality is on the gregarious side yet Zavala is soft spoken. Flexibility muscular, he financed his way though college by boxing professionally as a middleweight, winning 22 fights (12 by knockouts) and losing 6. Graduate of the New York Maritime College as a marine engineer. He possesses a mechanical mind that borders on brilliance. Was recruited by Admiral Sandecker of NUMA right out of college.
Professional in every kind of propulsion, he can repair, modify, or restore any engine be it steam, diesel or electric and whether it is in an automobile, ship or aircraft. Zavala never hesitates to get his hands greasy when confronted with a mechanical problem. He has designed and directed construction of numerous underwater vehicles, manned and unmanned. He has 2000 hours as a pilot in helicopters, small jet and turbo prop aircraft.
His mother and father, born and raised in Morales, Mexico, waded across the Rio Grande River west of El Paso in the late sixties. His mother was seven months pregnant and Jose was born and grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where his parents settled, his father being a carpenter who built furniture. Charming with women, he is in demand by many of the single women around Washington for his Ricardo Montalban good looks. He lives in a small building that once housed a district library in Arlington, Virginia, outside of Washington. The basement is where he spends much of his spare time, resorting any number of mechanical contrivances or creating new technical underwater devices. His living quarters on the main floor are decorated in a southwest flair with much of the furniture built by his father. For exercise and to keep fit, Zavala works out at a boxing gym. He drives a 1961 Corvette, mostly because it was the model with a trunk.
5' 10". 135 pounds. Slim for her height. Small hips with medium bust, say 34B. Hair is dark red, the reason her father, a wine connoisseur, named her after the grape of Beaujolais. She generally wears her hair long and swirled up. Gamay is an attractive woman, nor gorgeous or overly sexy, but appealing to most men. She has a flashing smile with a slight gap in her upper front teeth like actress/model Lauren Hutton. More open and vivacious than her husband, she moves among men well because she has a talent for thinking like they do. She was a tomboy when a girl, always running with a gang of boys, building tree houses, playing baseball in the streets of Racine, Wisconsin, and taught by her father to shoot skeet. She is, by the way, an excellent marksman.
Her father, a successful developer, always owned yachts and sailed the Great Lakes. Gamay learned to scuba dive on a trip to Hawaii and was hooked. She became an expert diver, diving on many of the known wrecks on Lakes Michigan and Superior. She received a degree in Marine Archaeology from the University of North Carolina before changing her field of interest and enrolling in Scripps Institute of Oceanography where she eventually attained a doctorate in Marine Biology. Two years younger than Paul, she met him while on a field trip in La Paz, Mexico. They fell in love and were married the following year.
Gamay is a fitness nut, eating nutritious foods, deeply into holistic medicine, and running and bicycling and hiking during family four-wheeling trips into the Virginia countryside when she isn’t working on remodeling projects around their townhouse.
6' 8". 220 pounds. Hazel eyes. Hair light brown, parted down the middle as was the style during the Jazz age and combed back on the temples. Age about 32. His head seems constantly dipped in deep thought and he usually speaks with head lowered and eyes peering upward as if over glasses. Actually, he wears contacts. Always impeccably dressed and is addicted to large, colorfully designed bow ties.
Paul was born and grew up around Cape Cod. His father was a fisherman. He spent much of his boyhood hanging around Woods Hole and was offered odd weekend and summer jobs by the scientists who went out of their way to be friendly to a young boy who was so fascinated by what lay hidden under sea. He was offered scholarships at several universities to play basketball, but because of his love of the sea he attended Scripps Institute of Oceanography where he eventually received his PhD in Ocean Science, specializing in deep ocean geology. It was at Scripps where he met his wife and married her after graduation. An old friend from his high school days, Rudi Gunn, assistant director of NUMA, persuaded Paul to come on board and become a member of a special team being put together by Admiral Sandecker. Paul accepted, but only on the term that his wife went with him. Delighted that he was getting two top notch people in their field together, Sandecker readily accepted.
Trout is usually serious, but often displays a sly sense of humor. He is proficient at using computer graphics for his various undersea projects. He and his wife live in a brick townhouse in Georgetown D.C. that they are endlessly remodeling. Because he and his wife like to drive off road in rural areas around the east, they drive a Hummer.
In the Micronesian Islands, a top secret, U.S. government–sponsored undersea lab conducting vital biomedical research on a rare jellyfish known as the Blue Medusa suddenly... Disappears. At the same time, off Bermuda, a bathysphere is attacked by an underwater vehicle and left helpless a half mile below the surface, its passengers—including Zavala—left to die. Only Kurt Austin's heroic measures save them from a watery grave, but, suspecting a connection, Austin puts the NUMA® team on the case.
New York:G. Putnam’s Sons © 2009
PublishedJune 2, 2009
Polar shift: It is the name for a phenomenon that may have occurred many times in the past. At the very least, it disorients birds and animals and damages electrical equipment. At its worst, it causes massive eruptions, earthquakes, and climatic changes. At its very worst, it would mean the obliteration of all living matter, and if that happens-exit Earth.
New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons © 2004
Published August 30, 2005
Hailed as a hero for the new millennium, Austin is the leader of NUMA's Special Assignments Team-and the threat before him now is definitely special. A confrontation between a radical environmentalist group and a Danish cruiser has forced Austin and colleague Joe Zavala to come to the rescue of a shipful of trapped men, but when the two of them investigate further, they discover that something far more sinister is at work.
New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons
Published July 2003
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From deep within the Venezuelan rain forest emanates the legend of a white goddess and a mysterious tribe with startling technical accomplishments. Few believe the tribe exists - and even fewer suspect its deity may hold knowledge that can change the course of history.
New York: Pocket Books
Published August 1, 2000
An enzyme that will dramatically prolong life has been discovered two thousand feet down in the North Atlantic, in an area known as "Lost City." But why are the people attempting to harvest it getting killed?
New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons
Published July 28, 2004
Years ago, an ancient Phoenician statue known as the Navigator was stolen from the Baghdad museum, and there are men who would do anything to get their hands on it. Their first victim is a crooked antiquities dealer, murdered in cold blood. Their second very nearly is a UN investigator who, were it not for the timely assistance of Austin and Zavala, would now be at the bottom of a watery grave.
New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons © 2004
Published June 5, 2007
In the heart of the old Soviet Union, a mining tycoon has proclaimed himself czar of Russia. Claiming Romanov ancestry and backed by billions of dollars, he is determined to overthrow the already shaky Russian government - and U.S. opposition doesn't bother him one bit.
New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Published June 3, 2002