Four old friends, members of the New York Explorers Club, decide to search for a
legendary camel caravan that disappeared in 180 A.D. somewhere in the Empty
Quarter of the Arabian Peninsula.
Although past their prime, these adventurers are determined to make one last
great discovery in the spirit of the famous explorers of the 19 th Century. A retired
American war correspondent, a former Russian Cosmonaut, an aging British
mercenary, and a beautiful actress - the runaway wife wife of one of Osama bin
Laden’s brothers – set off together to solve the centuries old mystery.
The quest starts off as something of a lark yet evolves into a struggle for survival as
they encounter soaring temperatures, rogue sheikhs, sandstorms, bandits, warring
factions and other unforeseen dangers. Along the way, they rediscover the skills,
resilience and ingenuity that have kept them alive throughout their long and
A band of aging, seemingly-past-their-prime, adventurers need something to stir up their lives. How about a treasure hunt in the Empty Quarter of the Arabian Peninsula? Cedrick, a rich eccentric art thief, Oleg, a former Cosmonaut and second man in space (if you can believe him), and Paul, haunted by the ghosts of those he has written about in his long career as a war correspondent – are all ready for an adventure to spark their boring lives in New York City.
Thus, the romp of a tale, “The Lost Caravan,” by Marshall Riggan, begins. This novel, perfect for summer reading, is a quick and exquisitely written read.
The excitement really begins when Rhonda, a beautiful, aging Hollywood sex symbol, comes back into Paul’s life having escaped from her Saudi sheikh husband’s cruelty. But for how long?
Riggan’s writing is sensual: Paul thought of all the women he had known and he “felt the memory like velvet in his mind. Dramatic: “His dark blue eyes were hooded by gravity and the years, deep-set as if shrinking from all the killing he had seen. Reverent: “the moon revealing a horizon wide and deep as a holy mind.” His words make reading fun.
Often Riggan expounds on the art of writing from his correspondent’s point of view. Paul “had, in fact always thought that the written word had very little to do with what the writer consciously did. The rhythm, the melody of the prose, came from some mysterious province yet undiscovered by science, the Empty Quarter of the mind.” Wherever it comes from, Riggan’s writing leaves a lasting impression on the reader.
Treat yourself to a fast-moving action-adventure novel. I’m hoping he will treat us to few more. I did find one more by Riggan that I enjoyed just as much as “The Lost Caravan,” entitled, “Sulu Sea,” that was just as good for the same reasons.
I’m not a literary critic by any stretch of the imagination but I know a little about making movies. I’m proud of my education in motion picture production and even more proud of my 40+ years working behind the camera with thousands of talented people. I tend to judge the books that I read by how visually they are written and how well the story is structured. Imagine a writer who is not only well educated in the mechanics of good story telling but also has the heart of a master painter. That is what makes this book, and other Marshall Riggan books, so wonderful.
The great movie director, Federico Fellini, visually composed every scene in his movies as though they were fine art. Every frame was rich with impeccable detail to drive the story. Marshall Riggan envelops the reader with that same amazing, well-researched detail, skillfully painted with words. When you read any story by this author you are not simply reading a book. You are right there, experiencing every intense moment with the characters of the story. You are invited along for the ride. That is what great writing does. “The Lost Caravan” is an adventure about good and evil, but the line between the two is sometimes quite blurry. The story is unconventional and interesting in that way. It is an exhausting, exciting journey into the hearts and souls of compelling, adventurous human beings. I hope it is a movie someday.