George V. Reilly

Review: The Vivero Letter

The Vivero Letter
Title: The Vivero Letter
Author: Desmond Bagley
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Fontana
Copyright: 1968
Pages: 253
Keywords: thriller
Reading period: 13–14 December, 2008

Jeremy Wheale is ‘a grey little man in a grey little job’ who doesn’t fit in well in swinging London. His brother is murdered and he finds himself embroiled in the search for a lost Mayan city in the Yucutan peninsula. His companions are a rich old ar­chae­ol­o­gist, a paranoid young ar­chae­ol­o­gist, and his attractive wife. Somewhere out in the jungle is a Mafia don who’s convinced that there’s a hoard of gold in Uaxuanoc.

Wheale is an ordinary man who rises to the occasion. As the tension grows, he finds un­sus­pect­ed reserves within himself, leading to a daring standoff with the don.

This is a classic adventure story, well told, written by one of the great British thriller writers of the Sixties and Seventies. More modern books would have strung the action out over five hundred pages; Bagley told his story in 250.

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