The gray ghost, p.1

The Gray Ghost, page 1

 

The Gray Ghost
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The Gray Ghost


  TITLES BY CLIVE CUSSLER

  DIRK PITT® ADVENTURES

  Odessa Sea (with Dirk Cussler)

  Havana Storm (with Dirk Cussler)

  Poseidon’s Arrow (with Dirk Cussler)

  Crescent Dawn (with Dirk Cussler)

  Arctic Drift (with Dirk Cussler)

  Treasure of Khan (with Dirk Cussler)

  Black Wind (with Dirk Cussler)

  Trojan Odyssey

  Valhalla Rising

  Atlantis Found

  Flood Tide

  Shock Wave

  Inca Gold

  Sahara

  Dragon

  Treasure

  Cyclops

  Deep Six

  Pacific Vortex!

  Night Probe!

  Vixen 03

  Raise the Titanic!

  Iceberg

  The Mediterranean Caper

  SAM AND REMI FARGO ADVENTURES

  The Gray Ghost (with Robin Burcell)

  The Romanov Ransom (with Robin Burcell)

  Pirate (with Robin Burcell)

  The Solomon Curse (with Russell Blake)

  The Eye of Heaven (with Russell Blake)

  The Mayan Secrets (with Thomas Perry)

  The Tombs (with Thomas Perry)

  The Kingdom (with Grant Blackwood)

  Lost Empire (with Grant Blackwood)

  Spartan Gold (with Grant Blackwood)

  ISAAC BELL ADVENTURES

  The Cutthroat (with Justin Scott)

  The Gangster (with Justin Scott)

  The Assassin (with Justin Scott)

  The Bootlegger (with Justin Scott)

  The Striker (with Justin Scott)

  The Thief (with Justin Scott)

  The Race (with Justin Scott)

  The Spy (with Justin Scott)

  The Wrecker (with Justin Scott)

  The Chase

  KURT AUSTIN ADVENTURES

  Novels from The NUMA® Files

  Nighthawk (with Graham Brown)

  The Pharaoh’s Secret (with Graham Brown)

  Ghost Ship (with Graham Brown)

  Zero Hour (with Graham Brown)

  The Storm (with Graham Brown)

  Devil’s Gate (with Graham Brown)

  Medusa (with Paul Kemprecos)

  The Navigator (with Paul Kemprecos)

  Polar Shift (with Paul Kemprecos)

  Lost City (with Paul Kemprecos)

  White Death (with Paul Kemprecos)

  Fire Ice (with Paul Kemprecos)

  Blue Gold (with Paul Kemprecos)

  Serpent (with Paul Kemprecos)

  OREGON® FILES

  Typhoon Fury (with Boyd Morrison)

  The Emperor’s Revenge (with Boyd Morrison)

  Piranha (with Boyd Morrison)

  Mirage (with Jack Du Brul)

  The Jungle (with Jack Du Brul)

  The Silent Sea (with Jack Du Brul)

  Corsair (with Jack Du Brul)

  Plague Ship (with Jack Du Brul)

  Skeleton Coast (with Jack Du Brul)

  Dark Watch (with Jack Du Brul)

  Sacred Stone (with Craig Dirgo)

  Golden Buddha (with Craig Dirgo)

  NONFICTION

  Built for Adventure: The Classic Automobiles of Clive Cussler and Dirk Pitt

  Built to Thrill: More Classic Automobiles from Clive Cussler and Dirk Pitt

  The Sea Hunters (with Craig Dirgo)

  The Sea Hunters II (with Craig Dirgo)

  Clive Cussler and Dirk Pitt Revealed (with Craig Dirgo)

  G. P. PUTNAM’S SONS

  Publishers Since 1838

  An imprint of Penguin Random House LLC

  375 Hudson Street

  New York, New York 10014

  Copyright © 2018 by Sandecker, RLLLP

  Penguin supports copyright. Copyright fuels creativity, encourages diverse voices, promotes free speech, and creates a vibrant culture. Thank you for buying an authorized edition of this book and for complying with copyright laws by not reproducing, scanning, or distributing any part of it in any form without permission. You are supporting writers and allowing Penguin to continue to publish books for every reader.

  Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

  Names: Cussler, Clive, author. | Burcell, Robin, author.

  Title: The gray ghost / Clive Cussler, Robin Burcell.

  Description: New York : G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2018. | Series: A Sam and Remi Fargo adventure ; 10

  Identifiers: LCCN 2018012901| ISBN 9780735218734 (hardcover) | ISBN 9780735218741 (epub)

  Subjects: | BISAC: FICTION / Action & Adventure. | FICTION / Suspense. | FICTION / Thrillers. | GSAFD: Adventure fiction. | Suspense fiction.

  Classification: LCC PS3553.U75 G73 2018 | DDC 813/.54—dc23

  LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2018012901

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the authors’ imaginations or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

  Version_1

  CAST OF CHARACTERS

  Reginald “Reggie” Oren—a cousin of Jonathon Payton

  Charles Rolls and Henry Royce—owners, Rolls-Royce Limited

  Jonathon Payton, 5th Viscount Wellswick

  Elizabeth Oren—Reginald’s wife

  THE PAYTON HOME FOR ORPHANS

  Toby Edwards—an orphan

  Chip Edwards—an orphan

  Will Sutton—a private detective from Manchester hired by Rolls-Royce Limited

  Isaac Bell—an American private detective, the Van Dorn Detective Agency

  Miss Lydia Atwater—a schoolteacher at the Payton Home for Orphans

  Byron, Lord Ryderton—Jonathon Payton’s friend

  Mac—a car thief

  Eddie—a car thief

  Finlay—a car thief

  Barclay Keene—owner, Barclay Keene Electric Motor Works

  THE PRESENT DAY

  Sam Fargo

  Remi Fargo

  Eunice “Libby” Fargo—Sam’s mother

  Albert Payton, 7th Viscount Wellswick

  Oliver Payton—Albert’s nephew

  Kimberley—concierge, the Inn at Spanish Bay

  Selma Wondrash—the Fargos’ head researcher

  Zoltán—the Fargos’ German shepherd

  Professor Lazlo Kemp—a Fargo researcher and cryptologist

  Pete Jeffcoat and Wendy Corden—Selma’s assistants

  Geoffrey Russell—the Fargos’ personal banker

  IN MANCHESTER

  Arthur Oren—a very distant cousin of the Paytons

  Colton Devereux—ex–Special Forces, works for Oren

  Frank—works for Oren

  Bruno—works for Oren

  Mrs. Beckett—housekeeper, Payton Manor

  Allegra Payton Northcott—Oliver’s sister

  Trevor Payton Northcott—Allegra’s son

  Dex Northcott—Allegra’s ex-husband

  David Cooke—Albert Payton’s solicitor

  Bill Snyder—a private detective working for Cooke

  Chad Williams—mechanic, the Gray Ghost

  IN ITALY

 
John and Georgia Bockoven—photographers for Sports Car Market, owners of a vineyard and B and B

  Paolo Magnanimi—owner, Hostaria Antica Roma

  Luca—an acquaintance of Lorenzo Rossi

  Lorenzo Rossi—a broker of stolen goods

  Marco Verzino—the owner of the Trevi Fountain apartment

  IN FRANCE

  Monsieur Marchand—the manager of Lorenzo Rossi’s Paris office

  Suzette—Marchand’s secretary

  CONTENTS

  Titles by Clive Cussler

  Title Page

  Copyright

  Cast of Characters

  Prologue

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21

  Chapter 22

  Chapter 23

  Chapter 24

  Chapter 25

  Chapter 26

  Chapter 27

  Chapter 28

  Chapter 29

  Chapter 30

  Chapter 31

  Chapter 32

  Chapter 33

  Chapter 34

  Chapter 35

  Chapter 36

  Chapter 37

  Chapter 38

  Chapter 39

  Chapter 40

  Chapter 41

  Chapter 42

  Chapter 43

  Chapter 44

  Chapter 45

  Chapter 46

  Chapter 47

  Chapter 48

  Chapter 49

  Chapter 50

  Chapter 51

  Chapter 52

  Chapter 53

  Chapter 54

  Chapter 55

  Chapter 56

  Chapter 57

  Chapter 58

  Chapter 59

  Chapter 60

  Chapter 61

  Chapter 62

  Chapter 63

  Chapter 64

  Chapter 65

  Chapter 66

  Chapter 67

  Chapter 68

  Chapter 69

  Chapter 70

  Chapter 71

  Chapter 72

  Chapter 73

  Chapter 74

  Chapter 75

  Chapter 76

  Chapter 77

  Chapter 78

  Chapter 79

  Chapter 80

  Chapter 81

  Chapter 82

  Chapter 83

  Chapter 84

  Chapter 85

  Chapter 86

  Chapter 87

  About the Authors

  PROLOGUE

  MANCHESTER, ENGLAND

  March 1906

  Late for work, Reginald Oren raced across the street, the cobblestones slick from the night’s rain. Dodging a horse and carriage, he jumped over a puddle, then ran toward a brick building that took up half a city block. He shrugged out of his overcoat, hung it on a hook just inside the door, and quietly entered a large workroom filled with a half dozen young men sitting at their desks, their attention focused on the office on the far side of the room. No one noticed that Reginald was late, and he took his seat, glancing toward the office’s open door, where Charles Rolls and Henry Royce, both dressed in dark suits, were talking to a policeman.

  “That looks ominous,” Reginald said, glancing over at his cousin, Jonathon Payton, who sat at the desk next to his. “What did I miss?”

  “It’s gone.”

  “What’s gone?”

  “The forty-fifty prototype.”

  “When?”

  “Last night. They went there this morning to finish up the coachwork, and it was gone.”

  Reginald leaned back in his chair as he looked around the room, then focused on the men in the office, imagining what this would do to the company. Rolls-Royce Limited had put all their money, and that of their investors, into this improved six-cylinder engine. Every last penny had gone into the design of that, as well as a chassis meant to withstand the harsh country roads. When the world seemed to laugh at them, saying it couldn’t be done, they’d persevered. And now, when they were on the verge of accomplishing the impossible . . .

  Jonathon leaned toward him, lowering his voice. “Was Elizabeth pleased?”

  “Pleased?” he said, unable to draw his gaze from the office. Reginald’s wife, Elizabeth, had taken their newborn son to visit her mother, but, for the life of him, he couldn’t figure out why Jonathon would bring her up at a time like this. “About what?”

  “About the pianoforte.”

  A shame he couldn’t hear what they were discussing in there, and he finally turned toward his cousin, belatedly recalling last night’s conversation, when he’d solicited Jonathon’s assistance. “Undoubtedly, she will be. Meant to thank you for helping my friends and me move it, but you’d disappeared. One minute you were next to me, the next you were gone.”

  “I guess I had a bit much. Not sure what happened.” He was quiet a moment, then whispered, “You won’t mention that to my father, will you?”

  “Of course not.” Jonathon’s father, Viscount Wellswick, had raised both boys after Reginald’s parents died, though Reginald always suspected he’d have ended up in an orphanage if not for the intervention of Jonathon’s mother. Ironic, considering that she was the reason their fathers had been the bitterest of enemies. Reginald’s father had been in love with her, but her fortune was needed to restore the viscountcy, so she was wedded to Jonathon’s father instead. He often wondered if she regretted the marriage. Her husband, the Viscount, was frugal beyond belief, as well as a strict disciplinarian. He certainly wouldn’t have approved of either of them spending a night at one of the local taverns, drinking ale with the neighborhood residents. The Viscount was all about propriety. How it would look to his friends if his son and nephew stepped out of line. Appearances were everything, which was why Reginald and Jonathon were expected to oversee the running of the orphanage that bore the Viscount’s name. Jonathon, in line to be the next viscount and heir to the Payton estate, was expected to be there six days a week, usually stopping in after work. In Reginald’s mind, that was the one advantage of being the poor relation living under his uncle’s roof. He was only expected to volunteer his time at the orphanage twice a week. Of course, that was in addition to the six days a week both men spent working for Rolls-Royce.

  There were no free rides in the Payton home, the old man thinking that working at a job each day built character. Had the Viscount discovered Reginald had led Payton astray, he’d likely toss Reginald, his wife, and their son out on the street. “Not to worry,” Reginald said, turning his attention back to the office. “Your secret of drunken debauchery is safe with me.”

  Reginald watched the men talking in the office, the faces of the two owners, Rolls and Royce, looking drawn, the loss weighing on them. The stolen car, named the Gray Ghost for the col
or of the body and the quietness of the forty-fifty engine, had been kept a secret from all but their investors for fear that someone might try to steal their ideas. Apparently, it had never occurred to them that someone might steal the entire car. Payton’s father, the Viscount, had offered the family warehouse to store the car while they were fitting it with its custom coachwork, hoping to enter it into the Olympia Motor Show in just a few months. Reginald and Jonathon had discussed the idea that the vehicle would be more secure there, less likely to fall prey to anyone skulking around the factory, stealing plans. Jonathon, however, was the one who’d presented it. “Tough break, this happening on your watch, don’t you think?” Reginald said.

  “Quite. I expect they’ll sack me for it.”

  “Have they said anything to you?”

  “No,” Payton whispered, his face paling as Mr. Rolls shook the officer’s hand, then escorted him out the door.

  Mr. Royce stepped out after them, looked right at Jonathon. “Do you have a moment?”

  “Right away, sir.” Jonathon Payton rose, not looking at his cousin as he walked toward the office.

  “Close the door.”

  “Yes, sir.” He shut the door behind him.

  Reginald, eyeing the journals on top of a cabinet against the office’s wall, casually walked over, picked up the topmost one, and pretended to read it. The wall was thin enough to hear what was being said.

  “You’ve no doubt heard what happened?” Mr. Royce asked Jonathon.

  “I have.”

  “You realize what dire straits we’re in?”

  Reginald leaned in closer. In charge of the books, he knew every penny the company spent and what would happen to their investors if they didn’t recover that car and start turning a profit. They’d go bankrupt, his uncle, the Viscount—who’d invested everything—right along with them. Jonathon’s response, though, was covered by the return of Mr. Rolls, who nearly ran into Reginald as he came back from seeing the officer out.

  “Pardon,” Mr. Rolls said, stepping past him. He started to open the door, paused, looking over at Reginald, and at the other young men, sitting at their desks, their attention focused on what was happening in the office. “I daresay, we’re all frightfully worried over this setback. But we’ll get past it. In the meantime, let’s all get back to our tasks, shall we?”

 
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