RIVER OF DREAMS
Book two of the (McAllister trilogy)
A Novel by Bobby Ferguson
In the footsteps of Fool’s Paradise comes the adventure story of the 20th century, as our dreamer awakens once again to seek the lost fortunes dear to the Russian Imperial Dynasty. The lost treasures of “the Faberge’ Eggs”. One must read “River of Dreams”, to understand the brilliant mind of our hero.
~ SUMMARY-OUTLINE ~
In 1917, in Czarist Russia, revolution is brewing and the country is about to undergo radical change. With the help of the British, Carl Faberge’, the Imperial Jeweller, Flees to exile in Switzerland, leaving behind a fortune in art and raw materials in his Saint Petersburg salon. In the face of an unruly mob, one of the many Faberge’ apprentices makes a bold decision. Young Arkady Deniken will loot the fabulous shop himself before rioting citizens can destroy the store or the provisional government can nationalize the business. The normally honest Arkady hastily loads two boxes of items that, under normal circumstances, would have found their way to the homes of the nobility, as well as a fortune in loose gems and prescious stones waiting to become priceless ornaments for those same clients. Arkady seeks to enlist the help of a one of his old friends to spirit the crates to a secure location, but before he can return to pick them up, both boxes mysteriously disappear.
In modern day Monaco, an obnoxious drunk appears at a formal auction and bids outrageously on a Faberge’ egg. When he leaves the sight of the quasi-charity event, he is accosted by professional thugs. Offering resistance at being robbed, he is severely beaten before being relieved of his recently acquired work of art.
On the other side of the world, five professional burglars close in on the estate of a wealthy South American cattle rancher with more than simple larceny on their minds. Unknown to them, a sophisticated security system thwarts their plan with drastic consequences for the raiding party. This is the third such attempt in recent months and the owner of the estate believes he must turn to the offensive to prevent further incursions.
In the present day, part time author and full time gin mill proprietor, Granger Lawton is lured from his low mountain Arizona home by a summons from his old friend, renowned treasure hunter, Bobby McAllister.
After six years of living in Venezuela, McAllister wishes to return to his hometown of Savannah, Georgia where he plans to enrol his kindergarten-aged twins in an American school. His ulterior motive for returning to the States is to build a base of operations for pursuing matters concerning his latest interest and obsession, Faberge’ eggs. McAllister is convinced there is a sinister plot to flood the art market with counterfeit eggs and specifically blames the Russian government as the origin of this conspiracy. He is also of the opinion that his good friend, Granger Lawton, will assist him in an endeavour to expose this scheme. Citing the mission as potentially dangerous and possibly foolish, Lawton returns to Arizona, and a temporary rift develops between the two men. McAllister’s wife, on her way to a Beverly Hills shopping spree, detours to Lawton’s Payson home to try to convince him to mend the estrangement. Her persuasiveness and charm is successful and the two men meet over the Christmas Holiday to reach a compromise that will please the brash and impulsive McAllister as well as the cautious and conservative Lawton.
A few months later, McAllister and his wife entertain Lawton and his lady-friend aboard McAllister’s luxury yacht as they set sail for Europe. The first stop is France where the ladies spend a few carefree days sightseeing while McAllister and Lawton conduct their business with a Faberge’ art expert through whose writings McAllister became convinced of his conspiracy theory. McAllister is informed that, amongst his small Faberge’ collection, he has two fakes and that information strengthens his resolve to gain the reputation of a serious collector by exposing the seditious cabal that is perpetrating the fraud.
Tragedy interrupts the still innocent investigation and after the small group temporarily returns to their respective homes to bury their dead and recover from their wounds, it is normally moderate Granger Lawton who, surprisingly, takes up the cause, not for the honor or integrity of his friend’s collection, but solely for revenge. They return to Europe where McAllister’s seemingly plodding methods produce little information, prompting Lawton to call in an old favour to be put in touch with someone better qualified to produce results.
Their travels take them from Paris to London to Switzerland to The Netherlands before bringing them to Saint Petersburg, Russia, home of the original Faberge’ salon. While McAllister explores the city as a tourist, Lawton uses his surreptitious connections to ferret out the instigator of the Paris catastrophe. In his usually reckless and brazen manner, McAllister finds out about his friend’s clandestine activities and they combine efforts and resources to probe the significant facts of their, now, two-pronged objectives.
From a surprising source, a startling third element is added to their inquiries; the possible existence of a Faberge’ treasure missing since 1917.