- Author: Clive Cussler
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Table of Contents
THE PROLETARIAT’S ARTILLERY
THE FAVORED FEW
DIRK PITT® ADVENTURES BY CLIVE CUSSLER
(WITH DIRK CUSSLER)
Treasure of Khan
(WITH DIRK CUSSLER)
(WITH DIRK CUSSLER)
Raise the Titanic!
The Mediterranean Caper
KURT AUSTIN ADVENTURES BY CLIVE CUSSLER
WITH PAUL KEMPRECOS
OREGON FILES ADVENTURES BY CLIVE CUSSLER
WITH JACK DU BRUL
Corsair Skeleton Coast
Plague Ship Dark Watch
WITH CRAIG DIRGO
FARGO ADVENTURES BY CLIVE CUSSLER
WITH GRANT BLACKWOOD
OTHER FICTION BY CLIVE CUSSLER
NONFICTION BY CLIVE CUSSLER AND CRAIG DIRGO
The Sea Hunters
The Sea Hunters II
Clive Cussler and Dirk Pitt Revealed
G. P. PUTNAM’S SONS
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Copyright© 2009 by Sandecker, RLLLP
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
The wrecker / Clive Cussler and Justin Scott.
eISBN : 978-1-101-15148-8
1. Private investigators—Fiction. 2. Sabotage—Fiction. 3. Railroad trains—Fiction.
4. West (U.S.)—History—20th century—Fiction. I. Scott, Justin. II. Title.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
While the author has made every effort to provide accurate telephone numbers and In ternet addresses at the time of publication, neither the publisher nor the author assumes any responsibility for errors, or for changes that occur after publication. Further, the publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
DECEMBER 12, 1934
ABOVE THE SNOW LINE, THE GERMAN ALPS TORE AT THE SKY like the jaws of an ancient flesh eater. Storm clouds grazed the wind-swept peaks, and the jagged rock appeared to move, as if the beast were awakening. Two men, neither young, both strong, watched from the balcony of a ski hotel with quickening anticipation.
Hans Grandzau was a guide whose weathered face was as craggy as the mountaintops. He carried in his head sixty years of traversing the wintery slopes. Last night, he had promised that the wind would shift east. Bitter Siberian cold would whirl wet air from the Mediterranean into blinding snow.
The man to whom Hans had promised snow was a tall American whose blond hair and mustache were edged with silver. He wore a tweed Norfolk suit, a warm fedora on his head, and a Yale University scarf adorned with the shield of Branford College. His dress was typical of a well-to-do tourist who had come to the Alps for winter sport. But his eyes were fastened with a glacial-blue intensity on an isolated stone castle ten miles across the rugged valley.
The castle had dominated its remote glen for a thousand years. It was nearly buried by the winter snows and mostly hidden by the shadow of the peaks that soared above it. Miles below the castle, too long and steep a climb to be undertaken lightly, was a village. The American watched a pillar of smoke creep toward it. He was too far away to see the locomotive venting it, but he knew that it marked the route of the railroad that crossed the border to Innsbruck. Full circle, he thought grimly. Twenty-seven years ago, the crime had started by a railroad in the mountains. Tonight it would end, one way or another, by a railroad in the mountains.
“Are you sure you are up to this?” asked the guide. “The ascents are steep. The wind will cut like a saber.”
“I’m fit as you are, old man.”
To assure Hans, he explained that he had prepared by bivouack ing for a month with Norwegian ski troops, having arranged informal attachment to a United States Army unit dispatched to hone the skills of mountain warfare.
“I was not aware that American troops exercise in Norway,” the German said stiffly.
The American’s blue eyes turned slightly violet with the hint of a smile. “Just in case we have to come back over here to straighten out another war.”
Hans returned an opaque grin. The American knew he was a proud veteran of the Alpenkorps, Germany’s elite mountain division formed by Kaiser Wilhelm in the 1914—1918 World War. But he was no friend of the Nazis, who had recently seized control of the German