The story begins as Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast and his young side-kick, Constance Greene, climb a perilous Himalayan mountain path to an ancient Tibetan monastery where the monks need some help. Their inner sanctum has been violated and a dangerous treasure has been stolen. The artefact must be recovered before it wreaks havoc on the human race.
The trail takes the agents on a maiden voyage cruise aboard the world's newest, biggest ocean liner. The sophistication of the on-board automation both helps and hinders the pair. There are some strong personalities in this story, but the culprit has to be the weakest character. There are a lot of supernatural twists, but they are too transparent.
Reading this is quite frustrating, because I kept hearing myself say, "That could never happen that way, even in fantasy fiction." I like to be able to believe that there is the faintest possibility that some of the strange events could actually happen. I felt this way when I used to read Dennis Wheatley, and this book reminds me a lot of that style of writing; but, Wheatley out-classes Preston and Child by a long way, in my opinion.
Worth a read if you have the time on your hands.